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San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch said last month the 49ers will make a strong effort to retain Kyle Juszczyk. The team has begun its effort to retain its fullback of the past four seasons.

© Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Kyle Juszczyk

Juszczyk’s camp and the 49ers have exchanged offers ahead of free agency, veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson tweets. While these are described as preliminary talks, Anderson adds they have been pleasant and that the veteran blocker/outlet option would be happy with a deal that keeps him in San Francisco (Twitter link).

“He’s a unique person and a unique football player because he does so many things for you,” Lynch said. “He’s important to us and we’re going to make every effort to try to keep him here.”

Free agency went well for Juszczyk four years ago. In Lynch and Kyle Shanahan‘s first offseason running the 49ers, they signed the former Ravens blocker to a whopping (for a fullback) $5.25M-per-year deal. This 2017 contract still resides on its own tier at this position, with only two other fullbacks — Derek Watt and C.J. Ham — earning more than $2M in average annual salary.

While Juszczyk has no other contracts to use in his talks with the 49ers, he has been an essential part of Shanahan’s offense. The NFC has deemed him its Pro Bowl fullback in each of the past four seasons, and he's made five straight Pro Bowls dating back to his final season in Baltimore. His 472 offensive snaps were second among fullbacks last year. Juszczyk, who has exceeded 200 receiving yards in each of his 49ers seasons, scored a career-high six touchdowns in 2020. He also helped the team’s run game churn out yards despite five running backs seeing extensive time. The eight-year veteran will turn 30 in April.

The franchise tag groups fullbacks and running backs together and is thus not an option for Juszczyk. The 49ers are prepared to let Richard Sherman depart in free agency and have Trent Williams residing a top priority weeks away from the market opening. Slot cornerback K’Waun Williams and boundary corner Jason Verrett profile as key 49er free agents as well.

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Full screen 1/21 SLIDES © Sylvia Allen/Getty Images The 20 best GMs in NFL history Four NFL teams fired general managers in the 2020 season's first three months, which will create an interesting stretch for this vital position. Teams will be looking for executives to craft rebuilds. Here are the personnel czars that previously led teams to sustained success. No coach-GMs are included here, just pure front office execs who assembled quality rosters. 2/21 SLIDES © Jerome Davis-Icon Sportswire Tom Donahoe Though the Steelers made multiple playoff brackets in the 1980s, they were in decline by the decade's end. Promoted to Steelers front office boss in 1991, Donahoe hired Bill Cowher to succeed Chuck Noll weeks into his tenure. The Steelers made the next six playoff brackets and went to three AFC title games and Super Bowl XXX during Donahoe's nine-year stay. Donahoe's Kevin Greene signing ignited the "Blitzburgh" defense, and acquisitions of Jerome Bettis and Alan Faneca set up Steeler run games well into the aughts. Donahoe did not duplicate his success with the Bills, but the Steelers have not looked back. 3/21 SLIDES © Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports Jerry Jones Jones deserves blame for the 1994 breakup with Jimmy Johnson. The Cowboys have not been the same. But they did win a Super Bowl post-Johnson and have made the playoffs 12 times since the seminal divorce. Jones has authored big hits and big misses at wide receiver and kept Jason Garrett too long. But the Cowboys landed franchise QBs in unexpected places (Tony Romo, Dak Prescott) and built the 2010s' defining offensive line -- amid a strong decade for Dallas first-round picks. The Cowboys could use more non-Jones-family help and do have a 25-year NFC championship game drought. But some credit is due here. 4/21 SLIDES © Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports Ted Thompson On one hand, Thompson landed a top-five all-time quarterback talent with his first draft pick and fortified a roster around him to win Super Bowl XLV and form a 15-1 team the following year. On the other, the Packers GM's rigidity when it came to outside acquisitions did not give Aaron Rodgers enough support. That led to some bitter playoff exits. A two-time Executive of the Year, Thompson did change the Packers defense by signing Charles Woodson. This helped Brett Favre guide the team to the 2007 NFC championship game, but Green Bay's defense slipped as the 2010s wore on. Slideshow continues on the next slide 5/21 SLIDES © Kenny Felt-Icon Sportswire Carl Peterson The Chiefs resided off the competitive radar for most of the 1970s and '80s. Peterson's 1989 arrival restored the former AFL power to an upper-echelon AFC operation almost immediately. The ex-USFL champion exec built Super Bowl-caliber defenses during Marty Schottenheimer's tenure, and the 1993 acquisitions of Joe Montana and Marcus Allen represented peak Chiefs relevance between Super Bowl IV and Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs made seven playoff berths in the '90s and built an all-time offensive line in the aughts. Playoff wins proved elusive during Peterson's 20-year tenure, but he deserves credit for leading a revival effort. 6/21 SLIDES © Justin Sullivan-Getty Images Carmen Policy Although Policy was with the 49ers for much of their 1980s dynasty, his time with autonomy came in the '90s. Policy kept the 49ers in top gear into the salary cap era. He stocked the team with key draftees (Ricky Watters, Bryant Young, Dana Stubblefield), and a Deion Sanders-led 1994 free agency class helped the 49ers overtake the Cowboys and dominate in Super Bowl XXIX. (Though, sending Charles Haley to Dallas became a problem.) The 49ers made the playoffs in each of Policy's seven seasons, and his Terrell Owens Round 3 pick provided all-time slot value. Not on Bill Walsh's level, but the 49er dynasty's back half was not too shabby. 7/21 SLIDES © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports Kevin Colbert In power with multiple titles since 2000, Colbert has been a steady hand for the modern Steelers. Usually swiping left on free agency, the Steeler boss has extended essential players and done well to replace the others. Landing Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger in consecutive drafts, Colbert also continued an unrivaled wide receiver assembly line. The Steelers tabbing a 34-year-old Mike Tomlin to replace Bill Cowher became a defining modern-era hire, and the Colbert-Tomlin partnership has two Super Bowl berths and zero losing seasons. The Colbert-era Steelers endured letdowns and an Antonio Brown meltdown, but they remain a top-tier franchise. 8/21 SLIDES © Al Messerschmidt-Icon Sportswire Rich McKay The second-generation NFLer completed one of the most difficult rebuilds in NFL history, lifting the Buccaneers out of their decade-plus laughingstock status. McKay's first two draft choices -- Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, in 1995 -- are in the Hall of Fame. So is his first coaching hire (Tony Dungy). After 14 straight losing seasons, the Bucs made the playoffs five times from 1997-02. Ownership went over McKay's head in trading for Jon Gruden, and although it helped secure a championship, the McKay-Gruden 2003 split ended the organization's time as a true contender. McKay's Falcons GM stint included sporadic success and splashier headlines. 9/21 SLIDES © Icon Sportswire Don Klosterman An AFL power broker who helped shape Chiefs Super Bowl teams, Klosterman was GM of the Oilers, Colts, and Rams. Following Don Shula's exit, Klosterman's first Colts year doubled as the franchise's first Super Bowl win. But the Colts and Rams owners swapping franchises in 1972 led to a 10-year tenure featuring mostly successful Los Angeles squads. Klosterman bolstered the Rams with high-profile trades -- among them the hauls collected for QBs Roman Gabriel and John Hadl. Though QB issues persisted, the Rams won the NFC in 1979. From 1967-79, Klosterman's three franchises made 12 playoff berths and eight league or conference championship games. Slideshow continues on the next slide 10/21 SLIDES © Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports John Schneider Schneider and Pete Carroll lifted the Seahawks to their highest point; the franchise was a play-calling snafu from back-to-back Super Bowl wins. In Schneider's first three drafts, Seattle selected three likely Hall of Famers (Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson) after Round 1 to form a core that dominated the NFL for a time. Seattle's four straight defensive scoring titles are unparalleled, and the 2013 Seahawks were the best 2010s team. Trades for Percy Harvin and Jimmy Graham did not pan out, and recent Schneider drafts do not match his regime's early work. But the Seahawks have shown no signs of falling out of the contender mix. 11/21 SLIDES © Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports Mickey Loomis Two Loomis moves overshadow everything else from an 18-plus-year GM tenure, each coming in 2006. After a Hurricane Katrina-marred 3-13 season, Loomis hired Sean Payton and beat out the Dolphins for free agent Drew Brees. The Saints won one playoff game prior to these moves; they now have nine wins -- including Super Bowl XLIV -- and have seen Brees torch NFL passing marks. Loomis is not shy about equipping Brees with help, continually taking swings despite perennial cap constraints. Bountygate docks he and Payton somewhat, but this regime could well have multiple additional Super Bowl berths. January luck has escaped the Saints. 12/21 SLIDES © Rich Graessle-Icon Sportswire Ernie Accorsi Although Accorsi was not with the Giants when they stunned the unbeaten Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, 17 of Big Blue's starters that night arrived during his 10-year tenure. Resigning his Colts GM post soon after ownership traded John Elway, Accorsi elevated the Browns into Elway's chief 1980s rival. On the wrong end of two "The" games, those Browns came agonizingly close to multiple Super Bowls. Accorsi built two Giants Super Bowl nuclei, assembling much of the 2000 NFC champion team and reloading after being on the other end of a QB power play. Accorsi's 2004 trade for Eli Manning enabled two future Giant victory parades. 13/21 SLIDES © Rich Graessle-Icon Sportswire Ron Wolf One of Al Davis' top lieutenants for much of the Raiders' rise, Wolf led the resurgence of a storied Packer franchise after a grim post-Vince Lombardi two decades. Within months of becoming Green Bay's GM, the Hall of Famer pilfered Brett Favre from the Falcons. A year later, in 1993 -- modern free agency's first year -- Wolf landed Reggie White, the best free-agent defender ever. The Packers went from zero non-strike-year playoff berths in 20 years to zero losing seasons during Wolf's nine-year stint, ending the NFC's Cowboys-49ers arms race by usurping both en route to back-to-back Super Bowls in 1996-97. 14/21 SLIDES © Bettmann-Getty Images Jim Finks Finks was never a Super Bowl champion, but the Hall of Famer played an essential role in three franchises' climbs. Although Bud Grant had the final say during Finks' Vikings' GM run, Finks' Chicago work set up arguably the greatest team in NFL history. The nine-year Bears GM drafted Hall of Famers Walter Payton, Dan Hampton, and Mike Singletary and 16 other 1985 Bears starters, before resigning in '83. Resurfacing with the Saints in 1986, Finks turned the NFL's saddest-sack franchise into a winner. New Orleans was 0-for-19 in playoff berths before Finks, who had them in four playoff fields in a seven-season run. Slideshow continues on the next slide 15/21 SLIDES © Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports Ozzie Newsome Newsome's first Ravens draft included two first-ballot Hall of Famers -- Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis -- and he later selected arguably the best safety ever (Ed Reed). Lamar Jackson became Newsome's parting gift. The NFL's first Black GM, Newsome ran the Ravens from 1996-2018. He assembled a Mt. Rushmore defense, with Baltimore's 2000 unit carrying an offensively limited team to a Super Bowl romp, and zagged by hiring a special teams coach in John Harbaugh. Hoarder of compensatory picks, Newsome continued to replenish Ravens rosters after letting free agents walk. This process helped lead to the franchise's 2012 championship. 16/21 SLIDES © Focus on Sport-Getty Images George Young The Giants once slogged through a 17-year playoff drought; Young's tenure ended that quickly. Hired soon after 1978's "Miracle in the Meadowlands," Young had the Giants in the 1981 playoffs -- buoyed by that year's rather notable Lawrence Taylor draft choice -- and teamed with Bill Parcells to make the team a 1980s power. The Giants stampeded to a championship, capped by a masterful performance from Young's first draftee (Phil Simms), in 1986 and won another four years later. A five-time NFL Executive of the Year, Young hired two NFL Coach of the Year honorees (Dan Reeves, Jim Fassel) post-Parcells en route to the Hall of Fame. 17/21 SLIDES © Stephen Dunn-Getty Images Bobby Beathard Beathard formed an unorthodox NFC juggernaut. Big on trade-downs, the GM used two of the three first-round picks he made in 12 Washington drafts on Hall of Famers (Art Monk, Darrell Green) and found the top "Hogs" via third-round pick (Russ Grimm), trade (Jim Lachey) and free agency (Joe Jacoby). Joe Theismann's injury led to a Bucs castoff (Doug Williams) being named Super Bowl MVP; Beathard also equipped his GM successor with future Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, a Round 6 pick. His Joe Gibbs hire: also good. Beathard rebuilt the Chargers in the 1990s, drafting Junior Seau (and later Ryan Leaf) and turning a playoff drought into a Super Bowl cameo. 18/21 SLIDES © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Bill Polian Six-time Executive of the Year, Polian excelled with three franchises in a well-rounded career. The Bills went 2-14 in 1985, before Polian and Jim Kelly's 1986 arrivals. The GM built the dormant franchise into the premier AFC outfit, drafting Thurman Thomas (in Round 2) and numerous starters to allow for an unmatched four straight Super Bowl appearances. Hired as the Panthers' first GM, Polian loaded up Carolina's roster with free agents that had the team in the NFC title game in Year 2. The Colts followed a 3-13 season by drafting Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf, hiring Tony Dungy, and building a roster Manning could lift to two Super Bowls. 19/21 SLIDES © George Gojkovich-Getty Images Dıck Haley A brilliant talent evaluator who ran the Steelers' drafts for 20 years, Haley was essential in forming one of the NFL's defining nuclei. The Steelers' 1974 draft changed the game, with Haley's haul including four Hall of Famers -- Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, Mike Webster -- that helped the Joe Greene- and Terry Bradshaw-led team to four Super Bowl titles. Haley drafted numerous other Steel Curtain-era starters, including Hall of Famers Jack Ham and Franco Harris, and landed Rod Woodson in 1987. With no free agency in this era, draft czars were vital. Haley has a strong case as a Hall of Fame contributor. 20/21 SLIDES © Focus on Sport-Getty Images Al Davis Judging only Davis' GM work, the Raider icon compiled a case as the best ever. Davis hired John Madden, formed a four-Hall of Famer O-line at one point, acquired three legendary wideouts (Fred Biletnikoff, Cliff Branch, Tim Brown), and made the Raiders the most identifiable NFL brand. They won 11 games 11 times from 1967-85 -- beginning the run well before the 16-game era -- and were in 11 AFL or AFC title games. Davis' reclamation-project hot streak provided elite support for the three Super Bowl champions. While the owner/GM's final stretch steered the franchise's descent, few organizations have matched the Raiders' initial staying power. 21/21 SLIDES © Trevor Jones-Getty Images Tex Schramm Joining Tom Landry and scouting icon Gil Brandt as the troika that turned the Cowboys into one of the world's most recognizable teams, Schramm led the franchise's front office for its first 29 seasons. During that span: 20 consecutive winning seasons, five Super Bowl appearances, and draft revolutionization that ended with the Schramm-era Cowboys selecting nine Hall of Famers. Schramm acquiring top-five picks from the Giants and Seahawks in a three-year span netted them, Randy White and Tony Dorsett, extending the dynasty into the 1980s. The Cowboys became American royalty under Schramm, helping elevate the NFL in the process. 21/21 SLIDES

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Raiders reportedly open to Trent Brown trade

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Former Pro Bowl offensive lineman Trent Brown could be on the market.

© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Las Vegas Raiders offensive tackle Trent Brown (77) against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. 

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Las Vegas Raiders have had preliminary discussions about trading the offensive tackle, and may be able to find a suitable deal.

The #Raiders have had talks about potentially dealing tackle Trent Brown, source said, and with few available tackles in free agency, Las Vegas has a shot.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 3, 2021

The 27-year-old Brown was a Pro Bowl selection in 2019 and is signed through 2022. He’s an elite talent when healthy, but that was the issue in 2020. He was sidelined by a lengthy stint on the COVID/Reserve list, and had some other issues that were pretty alarming at the time.

There’s certainly one quarterback we know of who would probably be a lot happier if his team went out and got a lineman of Brown’s caliber.

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Full screen 1/26 SLIDES © George Gojkovich/Getty Images Forgotten NFL stars of yesteryear: Offense Sports have a way of ensuring some stars are remembered for generations while other standouts' legacies are overlooked. This occurs often in a sport with 22-man lineups. Here are some of the NFL (or AFL) offensive greats whose quality careers have, to some degree, slipped through the cracks. No Hall of Famers or one-year wonders here, just high-end performers who were among their era's best. 2/26 SLIDES © Focus on Sport-Getty Images Ken Anderson The first quarterback to run a Bill Walsh offense long-term, Anderson excelled during and after the future coaching legend's time as a Bengals assistant. Cincinnati's starter for 13 seasons, Anderson enjoyed a breakout 1974 under Walsh and piloted the Bengals to four playoff berths. He made four Pro Bowls and led the NFL in passer rating four times. Anderson's masterpiece came in 1981, when he rebounded from injury to win MVP honors before outplaying Dan Fouts in the '81 AFC title game (The "Freezer Bowl") en route to Super Bowl XVI. Anderson endured a mid-career slump but was one of the most important players in Bengals history. 3/26 SLIDES © Ronald C. Modra-Getty Images Neal Anderson It took the Bears much longer to replace Anderson than it did for them to find Walter Payton's successor. Joining the Bears in 1986 and replacing an icon led to Anderson being overlooked, but he turned in several quality seasons (four Pro Bowls) and was one of his era's most versatile backs. The post-Jim McMahon Bears did not feature much in the passing game and often used Anderson as a key aerial chain mover. His 6,166 rushing yards rank third in Bears history, but the 20 TD catches stand out for the era. (Eric Dickerson and Barry Sanders combined for 16.) The ahead-of-his-time back served as Chicago's starter for seven seasons. 4/26 SLIDES © Ronald C. Modra-Getty Images Ottis Anderson Our third Anderson received more notoriety, but it came late in his career. Ottis/O.J.'s prime flew under the radar. A plodding power back with the Giants who won Super Bowl XXV MVP acclaim, Anderson brought more shake to his game with the Cardinals. His St. Louis years came after Don Coryell's departure -- in the heart of a tough Cards era -- but he would have begun his career with six 1,100-plus-yard seasons had the 1982 players' strike not intervened. The Cards' struggles limited Anderson's exposure; he only went to two Pro Bowls and did not eclipse double-digit TDs in a season until his Giants years. Slideshow continues on the next slide 5/26 SLIDES © Howie McCormick-Icon Sportswire Willie Anderson The largest of this list's Andersons, Willie had multiple factors working against him for fame. He was in the same age bracket as Hall of Fame left tackles Jonathan Ogden, Orlando Pace and Walter Jones. And he played for the Bengals. Modern right tackles are often ignored, and the Canton-enshrined trio made missing Anderson easier. The giant yet swift blocker played in one playoff game in 12 Bengals seasons but helped open holes for Corey Dillon for several years, aiding Dillon to a single-game rushing record in 2000. Pro Bowl voters recognized Anderson four times, but not until he was 28. On a better team, Anderson pushes for Canton. 6/26 SLIDES © Focus on Sport-Getty Images William Andrews Few backs could claim superiority to Andrews in his early-1980s prime. The Falcons fullback displayed incredible versatility from the jump, showcasing a power-speed blend that made him a fearsome tackling task and allowed him to thrice surpass 500 receiving yards -- including in a nine-game 1982. Andrews is simply one of the most underrated players in modern NFL history, topping 2,000 scrimmage yards twice but toiling for mostly mediocre Falcons teams. A 1984 practice injury that shredded knee ligaments and caused nerve damage forced Andrews to miss two full seasons. But he was a premier talent for several years. 7/26 SLIDES © Focus on Sport-Getty Images Larry Brown Of the 48 players to win the AP MVP award, Brown is probably that decorated club's most forgotten player. Injuries cut Brown's prime off at around five seasons, but he was the engine behind multiple Washington playoff berths. His 1972 MVP season (101 rushing yards per game; 261 total in the playoffs) powered Washington to Super Bowl VII, but the '72 Dolphins' perfect season sort of overshadowed it. An eighth-round Vince Lombardi discovery who played the role of the young star for George Allen's "Over the Hill Gang" teams, Brown was the total package before injuries slowed him. He helped usher in a run-centric era. 8/26 SLIDES © Otto Greule Jr.-Getty Images Anthony Carter Cris Carter and Randy Moss' Hall of Fame ascents obscure Carter's shorter run of dominance, but he was the ace weapon for a few quality Viking teams. The Vikings turned to the former Michigan and USFL star immediately; the slender playmaker suited up for a preposterous 33 games in 1985 (17 USFL, 16 NFL). Carter's 1987 (24.3 yards per catch, 922 yards in 12 games and a 227-yard detonation that keyed a playoff upset of the No. 1-seeded 49ers) is an all-time campaign, and the three-time Pro Bowler remained productive into the 1990s. Had the talented late-'80s Vikings reached a Super Bowl, Carter would be remembered differently. 9/26 SLIDES © Owen C. Shaw-Icon Sportswire Henry Ellard When Ellard retired in 1999, his 13,777 receiving yards ranked third all time. The Rams' move to St. Louis and the careers of Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt helped diminish the L.A. standout. Even during Ellard's era, teammate Flipper Anderson set the still-standing single-game receiving yardage record. But Ellard drove the Rams' aerial attack for many years, using his elite speed to be a deep and run-after-catch threat for a team that changed its approach post-Eric Dickerson. The 5-foot-11 wideout delivered seven 1,000-yard seasons -- the final three in his mid-30s with mediocre Washington QBs throwing him passes. Slideshow continues on the next slide 10/26 SLIDES © Bettmann-Getty Images Cookie Gilchrist Gilchrist played 12 pro seasons without playing in college, and he helped deliver the Bills their first championship. A fullback with tailback speed and lineman size (for his era), the 251-pound bulldozer was a nightmare to tackle. He led the AFL in rushing touchdowns in each of his first four seasons, earned league MVP honors in his 1962 rookie slate and set the AFL's single-game rushing record with a 243-yard showing a year later. Gilchrist totaled 144 yards in the Bills' first championship triumph in 1964. Clashes with Bills management led Gilchrist to Denver, where he still earned All-AFL acclaim for a bad Broncos team. 11/26 SLIDES © Todd Rosenberg-Icon Sportswire Ahman Green Starring during a rare period that did not involve a Packers NFC title game run, Green was one of the 2000s' best backs. Despite playing alongside Brett Favre and totaling six 1,000-yard seasons, Green's star has dimmed some. But he is the Packers' all-time rushing leader (8,322 yards) whose 1,883-yard 2003 apex is far and away a team record. Green added 20 TDs in '03, but Jamal Lewis' 2,000-yard slate and Priest Holmes' dominance left him off the All-Pro first team. A speedster who was a reliable aerial outlet, Green is also one of just three backs -- along with Bo Jackson and Derrick Henry -- with two 90-plus-yard rushing TDs. 12/26 SLIDES © Charles Aqua Viva-Getty Images John Hadl Offensive innovator Sid Gilman turned to Hadl as the pointman of his revolutionary Chargers attack, and after succeeding Tobin Rote, the younger passer led the Bolts to the 1965 AFL title game. Hadl won three passing titles as a Charger, the third in the expanded NFL in 1971, and made his former team pay by earning first-team All-Pro recognition as a Ram in 1973 after an offseason trade. While the Packers trading two first-round picks (and more) for a 34-year-old Hadl in 1974 did not work out, the six-time Pro Bowler/AFL All-Star retired third on the all-time passing list three years later. 13/26 SLIDES © Rick Stewart-Getty Images Drew Hill Shifty wideout mate Ernest Givins also qualifies, but the elder statesman of Warren Moon's Oiler troops was his No. 1 target. Givins and Hill remain first and second on the Titan franchise's all-time receiving list. At just 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, Hill led the Oilers in aerial yardage for five straight years (1985-89). He finished with five 1,000-yard seasons -- the final two at age 34 and 35 for the Oilers' early-'90s Run and Shoot teams -- and was one of his era's premier weapons. The former Rams backup received new life upon being traded to the Oilers in 1985, and he ended up helping Houston to five consecutive playoff berths. 14/26 SLIDES © B Bennett-Getty Images Harold Jackson Jackson thrived in a run-heavy NFL era, and for a player who ranked second all time in receiving yards (10,372) when he retired, he certainly does not come up often enough. A 12th-round pick in 1968, Jackson thrived for three teams -- the Eagles, Rams and Patriots, recording 1,000-yard seasons for each in the 1970s -- after trades. Nomadic success was not exactly a thing before true free agency, but the elusive playmaker produced regardless of system. Jackson led the NFL in receiving twice in Philly, made three Pro Bowls back in L.A. -- a '70s playoff mainstay -- and succeeded in his early 30s for run-oriented Patriots teams. Slideshow continues on the next slide 15/26 SLIDES © Mike Powell-Getty Images Keith Jackson The most talented of Randall Cunningham's weapons in Philadelphia, Jackson is one of the few players in NFL history to earn first-team All-Pro honors in his first three seasons. Yet, he is rarely mentioned among modern tight end talents. Jackson went off the 1988 draft board 13th overall despite playing in Oklahoma's option system; his arrival helped push Philly to four playoff berths in his five-season stay. Jackson later picked up Pro Bowl honors with two more teams -- Miami and Green Bay -- and caught 10 TD passes for the Super Bowl champion Packers in his 1996 farewell season. 16/26 SLIDES © Gin Ellis-Getty Images Mike Kenn Three different running backs made the Pro Bowl for the Falcons in the 1980s, despite the team's struggles. They then morphed into a Run and Shoot attack in 1990 and made the playoffs when quarterback Chris Miller went to his only Pro Bowl a year later. Kenn was there at left tackle throughout. The five-time Pro Bowler played 17 seasons and a Falcons-most 251 games. The premier pass protector earned All-Pro honors 11 years apart (1980 and '91) and certainly helped the likes of William Andrews, Gerald Riggs and John Settle emerge as '80s Pro Bowl backs. But the Hall of Fame has eluded Kenn. 17/26 SLIDES © Focus on Sport-Getty Images Terry Metcalf Don Coryell's Chargers offenses receive more publicity; his first NFL head-coaching stay is rarely discussed. The mid-1970s Cardinals broke through amid decades of misery, winning the NFC East in 1974 and '75. Metcalf was those teams' top weapon and a highlight machine for a five-year period. While Metcalf was an elite fumbler (62 in six seasons), the running back/returner received MVP votes in 1974 and '75 for his all-around production. Eighteen of Metcalf's 36 career TDs were from beyond 20 yards, and his 2,462 all-purpose yards in '75 set an NFL record. The electric talent cut his NFL prime short in 1978, signing with the CFL. 18/26 SLIDES © Focus on Sport-Getty Images Anthony Miller One of the AFC's best receivers for many years, Miller's name has fallen too far off the radar. He may not even the most famous wideout named Anthony Miller presently. Miller narrowly missing two Super Bowl teams (the 1994 Chargers and '97 Broncos) and the Bolts losing a sizable chunk of fans after moving made him a candidate to fade quicker. But the five-time Pro Bowl speed merchant carried the Bolts' passing attack after its Air Coryell cogs retired and in 1994 signed to become the most famous receiver John Elway had played with to that point. Miller's 14-TD 1995 aside, the Broncos cut him prior to their '97 Super Bowl season. 19/26 SLIDES © Focus on Sport-Getty Images Lydell Mitchell Mitchell's role in expanding the running back position's boundaries goes overlooked, but his multidimensional capabilities propelled the Colts during their final run as a Baltimore-based playoff presence. Skilled at negotiating defenders on the second and third levels, Mitchell set an NFL running back record with 72 catches in 1974 -- after catching just 17 passes in '73. Mitchell led the NFL in receptions in 1974 and '77. A three-time Pro Bowler, Mitchell was Bert Jones' top playmaker for three straight playoff teams. Had these Colts not run into historically great Steelers and Raiders teams, their cast would be better remembered. 20/26 SLIDES © Joe Robbins-Getty Images Herman Moore Moore has as many first-team All-Pro nods (three) as contemporaries Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Michael Irvin and Andre Reed combined. All are Hall of Famers. A shorter prime denied Moore that path, but he was a unique weapon in the mid-1990s. Joining Barry Sanders in making the Lions a '90s playoff mainstay, the 6-foot-4 Moore was a rare player who doubled as a jump-ball maven and a volume machine. Moore topped 100 catches each year from 1995-97; his 123 in '95 set an NFL record that stood seven years. Injuries slowed Moore in the late '90s, and Megatron eclipsed his stature a bit. But Moore's apex is underappreciated. 21/26 SLIDES © Thomas E. Witte-Icon Sportswire Tom Nalen Centers are not stars, but Nalen deserves more recognition than he will end up receiving. He was the lone on-field constant for a Broncos run game that saw six rushers surpass 1,000 yards from 1995-2006, being there for Terrell Davis' Hall of Fame trajectory all the way through Tatum Bell's '06 slate ending the zone-blocking assembly line's run. Nalen actually did a lot to avoid being noticed; the five-time Pro Bowler notoriously refused interviews and led other Denver O-linemen to follow suit. But the former seventh-round pick became the linchpin of one of his era's most reliable units, keeping it elite despite roster turnover. 22/26 SLIDES © Focus on Sport-Getty Images Riley Odoms A freak athlete, Odoms spent most of his career being the primary issue for opposing defenses when the Broncos threw the ball. The former No. 5 overall pick posted numbers that outpace Hall of Famers from his era, besting Charlie Sanders in receptions, yards and TDs and Dave Casper in catches and yards. Odoms made four Pro Bowls, was twice the first-team All-Pro tight end (1974 and '75) and led all tight ends in catches and yards from 1973-78. Though the Broncos of this era are remembered for their Orange Crush defense, Odoms played a key role in the 1977 team booking the franchise's first Super Bowl berth. 23/26 SLIDES © Digital First Media Group/Oakland Tribune-Getty Images Art Powell The AFL's wide-open attacks led to some bloated receiving numbers, but Powell -- the first great Raiders receiver -- saw his resume fade a bit after the careers of Fred Biletnikoff and Cliff Branch. But for a stretch in the 1960s, Powell was a lethal target. He dominated with two franchises, dropping two 1,100-yard seasons as a New York Titan (going stride for stride with teammate Don Maynard) and then scoring double-digit touchdowns in four straight seasons after signing with the then-Al Davis-coached Raiders in 1963. Powell's 81 career TD grabs, despite all of them coming in an eight-season span, remained top 10 into the 2000s. 24/26 SLIDES © Paul Tepley Collection/Diamond Images-Getty Images Frank Ryan Jim Brown and Paul Warfield's presences on the most recent Browns championship team relegates Ryan to trivia-question relevance outside of Cleveland. But he played a big role in steering the team to post-Paul Brown prominence. The Browns acquired Ryan from the Rams in 1962, and he led the NFL in TD passes in both the Browns' 1964 championship season and 1966 (25 and 29, respectively). He threw three TDs in Cleveland's shutout win over Baltimore in the '64 title game -- Brown's only title as well -- and made three Pro Bowls. A shoulder injury in the first of those all-star games sidetracked Ryan, whose QB1 run stalled by age 31. 25/26 SLIDES © Robert Riger-Getty Images Del Shofner This is a strange one. Shofner dominated for the Rams and Giants en route to five All-Pro honors and a first-team slot on the 1960s' All-Decade team. He is the only first-team All-Decade receiver from the 1950s-2000s yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. An elite deep threat with reliable hands, Shofner led the NFL in receiving as a Ram in 1958. Upon being traded to the Giants in 1961, Shofner helped them appear in three straight NFL championship games with three 1,100-yard seasons. Injury issues stalled Shofner by his late 20s, but it is strange he did not garner strong Canton consideration given his impact. 26/26 SLIDES © Owen C. Shaw-Icon Sportswire Curt Warner Working against Warner's Q rating: a 1984 ACL tear stripped away some of his form; the 1980s Seahawks were perennially good, not great; the franchise has employed an MVP running back (Shaun Alexander) and Marshawn Lynch; "Tecmo Super Bowl" buried Warner as a Rams fullback; there is a better player named Kurt Warner. But do not sleep on the OG version. Curt steered Seattle to the 1983 AFC title game and delivered another 1,400-yard rushing season three years later despite the knee injury. The three-time Pro Bowler was one of the 1980s' better backs and a copilot (alongside Steve Largent) on some quality Hawks offenses. 26/26 SLIDES

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