Could Your Team Benefit From Signing Any of These NFL Free Agents?
|Date & Time||Thursday March 27, 2014, 12:00 PM (EDT)|
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As the indomitable Bill Polian likes to remind us (regularly…like, three times an hour), NFL free agency is a marathon, not a sprint. Thus, I thought today would be a good time to check-in on all of our favorite free agents and see who still hasn’t found a home somewhere in the league. Let’s break down the top ten prospects who are still available today.
1. Alex Mack (C) - Mack is an absolute beast on the field. Quite frankly, I’m shocked nobody has sprung for him yet (subtle glare at my own team). Mack has drawn fairly significant interest from four or five teams, so I can’t imagine that he’ll be aimlessly floating around the free agency market much longer.
2. Jermichael Finley (TE) - I initially hesitated to put Finley this high on the list, given his extremely critical cervical fusion surgery in the fall. However, when he’s healthy, Finley is an excellent player. If a team is willing to be slightly patient, they could likely sign him for a fraction of his actual value.
3. Anthony Spencer (DE/OLB) - Spencer can play DE in a 4-3 scheme or OLB in a 3-4, which should make him an attractive prospect to many teams. However, Spencer is coming off of serious surgery and probably won’t even be ready for training camp. Nonetheless, his 2012 numbers (11 sacks in 14 games) are impressive and if a team is willing to wait for Spencer to get back into fighting form, he could prove to be worth the gamble.
4. Miles Austin (WR) - Austin is an intriguing prospect. Not even 30, Austin had a 1,300 yard, 10 TD season in 2009. However, things went downhill for Austin after that. He’s struggled with injuries and only had 24 receptions for a meager 244 yards in 2013. If a team with a decimated receiving corps (hello, Panthers!) is willing to take a chance on Austin now that he’s presumably healthier, though, he could once again become at least a serviceable receiver.
5. Maurice Jones-Drew (RB) - Jones-Drew, once one of the league’s premiere RBs, isn’t the beast he used to be. However, Jones-Drew could still be a threat in specific situations and I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the teams (the Jets, the Dolphins, and the Pats among them) that has expressed interest snap him up on a short contract soon.
6. Knowshon Moreno (RB) - Moreno, coming off a 1,000+ yard, 10 TD season in Denver, has been in discussions with the Miami Dolphins, but there’s no agreement yet. My biggest concern with Moreno is that he won’t be nearly as effective without the rest of the Broncos dream team surrounding him.
7. Shaun Phillips (DE) - Phillips is a perfectly serviceable DE, but with DeMarcus Ware in Denver now, they really have no need for him any longer. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Phillips land at the Titans. They were vying for LaMarr Woodley until Oakland snagged him and Phillips is a good alternative.
8. James Harrison (LB) - Cincinnati just allowed Harrison to hit the free agent market at age 35. Harrison will turn 36 before the season starts and it seems like the best option might be for him to return to the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he had success earlier in his career. This is a good fit for a couple of reasons. Harrison already knows the system in Pitt and, with LaMarr Woodley gone, he could provide veteran leadership to younger players on the squad.
9. Brian de la Puente (C) - Next to Mack, de la Puente is the best free agent C still on the market. De la Puente was solid during his years with the Saints and should still have plenty of power left to bolster another club’s o-line.
10. Kenny Britt (WR) - “Awful,” quite frankly, is a nice way to describe Britt’s 2013. This doesn’t seem to have deterred teams from expressing interest in the 25-year-old wideout, though. Britt’s already visited St. Louis, Foxboro, and DC; Carolina is also interested in meeting with him in the near future. Britt isn’t my favorite free agent prospect, but he could be a good fit with someone, like Jeff Fisher, with whom he has history.