The initial wave of NFL Free Agency has come and gone, but there is still plenty of talent left in the free agency pool. Most of the players available are veterans who were cut from and want more money than teams are willing to give them. Regardless, they would be great additions to any teams and will probably come at a bargain price as well. With that said, here’s our look at the Top 10 free agents still available.
1. Dwight Freeney (DE/OLB)
Freeney was hampered by injuries throughout the 2012 season. As a result, he recorded only twelve combined tackles and one forced fumble. However, he did log five sacks; clearly he can still find the quarterback. Therefore Freeney would be a good addition to any team as a rotational player on the defensive line, or at outside linebacker.
I don’t think he would be on this list had he not been asking for such a high salary since the start of free agency: Freeney is expected to receive around $4 million a year after initially asking for double that sum. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that Freeney was visiting the Tenessee Titans this week. Other fits include Denver and Indianapolis.
2. John Abraham (DE)
Like Freeney, Abraham is another good veteran pass rusher. In 2012 he recorded thirty-five tackles, ten sacks and six forced fumbles – third most in the NFL – to help the Atlanta Falcons reach the playoffs. The New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans have all shown an interest in signing the thirty-four year old defensive end, however, he still remains a free agent.
Despite tweets saying he will retire, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports otherwise. Abraham would fit well in Denver, New England or Tenessee; regardless of who he plays for, Abraham will make plays in 2013.
3. Richard Seymour (DT)
Seymour is another veteran coming off an injury-plagued season. In eight games, Seymour logged only fifteen combined tackles and three sacks. Like Freeney, Seymour would serve as a good rotational player on the defensive line. However, he has said he will only play another season if he’s paid enough which will put some teams off due to salary cap issues.
I think Seymour’s best fit is back in Oakland with the Raiders as he could still get playing time and help the team develop this year’s sixth-round pick Stacy McGee. However, the Raiders don’t have much cap room, so this may not be possible. If they can free up the salary-cap space, I think the Atlanta Falcons would also be a good fit.
4. Ahmad Bradshaw (RB)
Bradshaw is without a doubt the best running back on the free agent market. Despite battling injuries throughout the 2012 season, Bradshaw still rushed for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns. Bradshaw reportedly received medical clearance in late April, however due to his injury history – he has had operations on both ankles and feet – some teams may have reservations about signing him, despite his recent productivity.
Bradshaw has met twice with the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason, however still has no contract. The Cincinnati Bengals also showed an interest in Bradshaw before the draft, however, after adding running back Giovani Bernard in the second round of this year’s draft, they have no clear need at running back. I think Bradshaw would be a good fit for the Dallas Cowboys, who need to find a good back up for the injury prone DeMarco Murray, and Bradshaw would be fired up to play against his old team, the New York Giants, twice a year in the NFC East.
5. Karlos Dansby (LB)
Despite setting a personal season best and leading the Miami Dolphins with one hundred and thirty-four tackles, Dansby was released after the 2012 season. Dansby is clearly still an effective player and is still capable of being a quality starter. He recently drew interest from the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, however, neither team has pursued him further. Along with the Bills, I think Dansby would be a nice fit with the Ravens. He would potentially line up next to rookie Arthur Brown, giving the Ravens a solid pair of inside linebackers.
6. Brandon Lloyd (WR)
In 2012 Lloyd had the second-best season of his career despite being thirty-one years of age. He had seventy-four catches for nine hundred and eleven yards receiving. Lloyd should have a few years left in him and could come in and play for a team that needs an experienced receiver. After losing Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers, the Baltimore Ravens are a team with such a need.
7. Eric Winston (T)
Winston is a solid starting tackle that I imagine won’t be out of work long. He hasn’t missed a game since his rookie season in 2006 when he played for the Houston Texans. NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus reported on April 30th that he was scheduled to work out for the Miami Dolphins last week, however, Miami signed tackle Tyson Clabo on May 5th so they may no longer be interested. He is also reportedly in talks with Dallas who have serious need on the offensive line.
8. Kerry Rhodes (S)
In fifteen games in 2012, Rhodes racked up sixty-seven combined tackles and four interceptions. Rhodes could come in and start for a team like the New England Patriots who, despite drafting Duron Harmon in the third round of this year’s draft, still need help in the defensive backfield. The Denver Broncos could also use some veteran help at safety – see Joe Flacco’s seventy yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones vs. Denver in the divisional round of the 2012 playoffs.
9. Nick Barnett (LB)
Like Dansby, Nick Barnett is another good linebacker who was released after a solid year. Barnett racked up a team-high one hundred and twelve combined tackles, along with three forced fumbles for the Buffalo Bills in 2012. Potential fits include the Oakland Raiders, who are in serious need of a leader on defense, and the Baltimore Ravens.
10. Tim Tebow (QB)
Some of you reading this will be wondering why I’ve included Tebow on this list, but hear me out. The NFL is seeing multiple teams gravitate towards using the read-option offense, and Tebow could suit these teams as a decent back up. He’s twenty-five years old, so he’s still got time to resurrect his career if given some solid coaching. I’ve not forgotten watching Tebow’s Broncos defeat a solid Pittsburgh Steelers team in the playoffs in January 2012. However, I’m not sure many teams will wish to sign Tebow due to the media circus that surrounds him.
This article was written by Rhys Norman. You can follow him on Twitter @RhysNorman1.