Best remaining NFL free agents by positionApril 09, 2014 10:04 am EDTThe first wave is over, as the NFL version of “Black Friday” came and went with teams shelling out millions of dollars during the first couple days of free agency. And the second surge has come and gone, with players and teams who decided to be patient, checking out the total landscape, having made decisions.Now, the NFL appears to be in somewhat of a waiting period. Teams have restocked their cupboards, filling most of their glaring needs. So it’s simply time to wait for the draft, when they’ll try to plug any remaining holes and add depth.But in the time until the NFL Draft commences in New York, there are still some quality free agents on the market, players worth taking a look at. Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of still-available players that teams should consider during the 29 shopping days left until the draft:
OFFENSEQB – Josh Freeman – Sure, he carries some baggage; that’s pretty tough to deny at this point. But the former 17th overall pick is only 26 years old, meaning he has a lot of years ahead of him. And if a team can get his head straight, perhaps he can again post the type of numbers he did in 2012 (4,065 yards and 27 TDs). As desperate as some teams are for a QB, Freeman is worth the gamble.RB – Chris Johnson – It’s true that running backs seem to age in dog years, making Johnson seem older than 28. And he’s seen his production diminish in the past three seasons, a sign that he’s starting to wear out. Or so some people think. In reality, CJ2K simply hasn’t had enough talent around him. He’s a dynamic runner, with game-breaking ability, who can also catch the ball. He’s a steal.WR – Santonio Holmes – He’s only played 15 games during the past two seasons, which is certainly cause for concern, as injuries don’t become less prevalent when a player approaches 30. But to a large extent, Holmes has been a victim of the mess that is the Jets, having to catch passes from Sanchez, Tebow and Geno. Put him in a good system and watch him flourish again.TE – Jermichael Finley – Until he’s cleared to play, as he’s still recovering from a scary neck injury that ended his 2013 season, teams won’t look at Finley. But they should, so they’re ready to pounce if and when he gets the okay from the doctors. What’s the risk? If he’s a no-go, so be it. If he’s cleared, a team can add a stretch-the-field tight end at a discount.OT – David Stewart – In the past eight seasons, Stewart has started 116 games at right tackle for the Titans, only missing 12 contests. While not a household name, he’s certainly been a cornerstone in Tennessee, ably showing up for duty week in and week out. His age is a little bit of a concern, but 31 isn’t over the hill. For a team looking for a veteran presence up front, Stewart is a nice fit.OG – Travelle Wharton – After eight productive seasons in Carolina, Wharton left the Panthers for the Bengals in 2012, only to miss the entire season with a torn ACL. He returned to his roots last season, having a solid season at left guard for the NFC South champs. Currently, the 32-year-old veteran says he’s leaning toward retirement. Translation: Make him a reasonable offer.C- Jonathan Goodwin – If a team is looking to go younger in the trenches, Goodwin isn’t the answer. But if they want experience, the 35-year-old center is a great one or two-year option. He was a Pro Bowl player in New Orleans, helping the Saints win the Super Bowl in 2009, and then moved on to become an anchor up front for San Francisco. He’s a good, solid, veteran option.DEFENSE DE – Brett Keisel – He’ll turn 36 in September, meaning there isn’t much tread left on the tires. But the player known as much for his bushy beard as his solid play is still a good short-term solution for a contender. During 11 productive seasons in Pittsburgh, Keisel was steady and consistent. He’s not flashy, which is why he isn’t attracting a lot of suitors. But he’s a fit anywhere.DT – Johnny Jolly – He’s had a up and down career with the Packers, playing both inside and outside on the defensive line. At this point, after returning in 2013 following a four-year suspension for several drug-related charges and a stint in prison, he’s probably a defensive tackle. Seemingly rejuvenated, maybe a team can tap into a guy trying to make up for lost years.OLB – O’Brien Schofield – It’s slim pickings at outside linebacker, a premium position that teams were quick to pounce on and eager to throw money at. Thus, teams have to look for diamonds in the rough, something they may find with Schofield. While never a full-time starter in Arizona, he did show some flashes, including 9.5 sacks across the 2011 and 2012 seasons.ILB – Jonathan Vilma – His career has gone off the rails in recent years, destroyed by injuries, ill-conceived comments and the fallout of BountyGate. But there still could be something left, especially if Vilma has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He’ll turn 32 in a week, so he’s not a long-term answer. But given his recent history, he’ll be a relatively cheap gamble.CB – Asante Samuel – The Falcons recently parted ways with the veteran cornerback, cutting ties after two seasons in Atlanta. While last year was a disaster, as it was for the entire team, he was effective in 2012, picking off five passes. A guy with 51 career interceptions, even one that is 33 years old, seems like a worthwhile gamble.S – Mike Adams – Adams fell out of favor in Denver last season, as the Broncos were looking to go younger at safety. But when Rahim Moore went down with an injury, the veteran safety stepped in and played well. While probably not a starter anymore, Adams is a very smart choice for a third safety, providing a veteran backup who is always ready to answer the bell.http://cover32.com/2014/04/09/best-remaining-nfl-free-agents-by-position/2/
I think there are better options than some of the ones listed here. I don’t want Holmes but there’s a couple WRs I’d take a look at. At G I like Daryn Colledge. Guy could come in and start at RG for us right away and give us some flexibility in the draft.
If Finley can get healthy he would be an upgrade on our current crop of tight ends. He’s worth a vet min, prove it type deal.Not sure about Holmes. If I was looking at a receiver I'd be tempted to throw a one year deal at a guy like Sidney Rice or Miles Austin to see if they could step in and play a role on the offense.But right now I think it's best to focus on the draft, and then grab some UDFAs.
Johnson will still do good with some team. I’m guessing he’s asking for too much money. I’ve actually watched him the past few years as he’s been on his fantasy team. His line couldn’t block for sh!t. Aside from that the dude has to stop dancing at the line.
I would really like to get Wharton (or Uche Nwaneri). Hell, I’d take 48 year old Brian Waters. Give me Davin Joesph at this point since he’s gotten very light interest after being cut and would probably be very inexpensive. Jonathan Goodwin has the size to play guard. I’d take him as well. I trust all 5 of those names to at least be capable of putting on an NFL uniform in 2014 more then Carl Nicks. I would not take Santonio on my roster unless Lovie is convinced he's had a "come to Jesus" experience as a teammate and is willing to accept the likely hood of either being or becoming a 4th/5th receiver. I would rather much take Sid Rice or get Miles Austin for a vet minimum deal. Too bad Danario Alexander sounds like he's donesauce, though I guess if he weren't he'd already be signed.