Top NFL Free Agents Left By Position

By Ryan Mayer

Day 1 of the official NFL free agency period was just insane. Players were moving all over the league on big contracts as teams flush with plenty of cap space looked to fill the holes on their teams in hopes of becoming contenders. Now that the first day splurge has come and gone, the market seems to have quieted down. If your team didn’t do anything on Day 1, don’t fret. There are still plenty of good options out there to be had.

Quarterback

gettyimages 503264160 Top NFL Free Agents Left By Position

Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Ryan Fitzpatrick: Last team- New York Jets

Fitzpatrick is coming off the best year of his career completing 59.6 percent of his passes for 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns with just 15 interceptions. He and the Jets are reportedly very far apart still on a potential deal, which means he’s on the open market. A solid, veteran presence could come in and be a capable starter for any team that wants to groom a starter of the future behind him.

Robert Griffin III: Last team- Washington Redskins

Griffin is seemingly a case of untapped potential at the moment. After a phenomenal rookie year, injuries and a clash with the coaching staff left him to fall out of favor in Washington. There’s a reason he was taken with the 2nd pick in the draft and if a team thinks they can help him recapture that magic, he could be worth the gamble.

Running Back

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Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Arian Foster: Last team- Houston Texans

Delving into the running back market for a 30-year-old back coming off a major injury seems like a bad idea. But, Foster is a known workout nut, and he is just 30 years old. Taking a flyer on Foster on a one or two year incentive-laden deal could pay off handsomely.

Alfred Morris: Last team- Washington Redskins

Morris fell out of favor in Washington last season after gaining 1,000+ yards in each of his first three years in the league. Fumbling has been a bit of an issue for him in his four years, but he’s still young (27) and has shown the ability to be a very productive back in the NFL.

More: Check out our NFL Free Agency Tracker for up to the minute updates. 

Wide Receiver

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Credit: Thearon W Henderson/Getty Images

Anquan Boldin: Last team- San Francisco 49ers

The wide receiver market has largely dried up after Travis Benjamin and Marvin Jones came off the market yesterday. Boldin, though older (35) has continued to be productive as a possession receiver in his three years with the 49ers. We’ve seen other receivers continue to be effective in their later years (Steve Smith) and Boldin could be a good option for a veteran presence on a team in need of a guy who finds ways to move the chains.

Tight End

Zach Miller: Last team- Chicago Bears

The tight end market is thin, but if you’re looking for a guy who showed he can be a reliable pass catcher, Miller fits the bill. He caught a career high 34 passes for 439 yards and 5 touchdowns with the Bears last year and could be a good TE number two for a team with a need.

Offensive Line

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Credit: Steve Brashear/Getty Images

Russell Okung: Last team- Seattle Seahawks

Okung is coming off a shoulder injury but, at 28, he’s a young left tackle that could start for any team with a need. With how important line play is becoming in the age of brilliant edge rushers like Von Miller, JJ Watt, etc. Okung and tackles like him should be a priority. Seattle has reportedly made a strong offer to try and keep him, but he hasn’t signed yet.

Kelvin Beachum: Last team- Pittsburgh Steelers

Beachum is another left tackle currently sitting on the market without a home. While he wasn’t one of the best tackles in the league, he’s been solid in his four years. He was limited to just 6 games last season.

Evan Mathis: Last team- Denver Broncos

Mathis was considered one of the best guards in the league two years ago, and didn’t do much to dissuade that opinion last year in performing well for the Broncos following his release by the Eagles. Granted, he is older (34) but can still be a reliable piece for any team in need of line help.

Defensive Line

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Credit: Thearon W Henderson/Getty Images

Chris Long: Last team- Los Angeles Rams

The defensive line market was raided heavily on Day 1, but there are still options on the market and one of the top ones is Long. His production dropped off the past two years with just four sacks total, but he was battling injuries during that time. That lowered production means he can probably be had for a fairly low cap number and a one or two year prove it deal would be well worth the investment.

Nick Fairley: Last team- Los Angeles Rams

Fairley is an interesting case. He under performed at times in his first four years in Detroit, but also showed flashes of dominance. After signing with the Rams last year, he didn’t see much time because of how loaded the Rams defensive line was/is. Yet, there’s still some intriguing potential with Fairley and he, like Long, can probably be had for a lower guarantee, incentive-laden deal.

Terrance Knighton: Last team- Washington Redskins

Knighton has been a productive player in his career, particularly effective against the run as a nose tackle holding up multiple blockers. Yet, he’s found himself largely unwanted on the free agent market each of the last two years now. He’s only 29 (will be 30 on July 4th), but can be a productive piece for a team looking for help stopping the run.

Linebackers

Jerrell Freeman: Last team- Indianapolis Colts

The linebackers class, similarly to the defensive line was raided on Day 1, but Freeman is an intriguing option for anyone in need of a inside linebacker. He’s missed just seven games in his four years. The stats don’t jump off the page at you, but a solid option for those teams in need of linebacking help.

Secondary

Prince Amukamara CB: Last team- New York Giants

He’s struggled with injuries throughout his career which is a concern, but when he’s been on the field he’s played well. Corners are a top priority in a league skewed towards passing so I wouldn’t expect him to be on the market for too long.

Casey Hayward CB: Last team- Green Bay Packers

It’s odd to see a guy like Hayward hit the market as the Packers are usually pretty good about locking up guys that they’ve developed. His production has slipped since recording six interceptions in his rookie season, but what makes Hayward so interesting is his versatility. He can play outside or in the slot and in today’s game of finding the right match-ups, that versatility is huge.

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Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Eric Weddle S: Last team- San Diego Chargers

Yes, he’s an older safety (31) and paying aging secondary players isn’t always the best idea. But, Weddle is still considered one of the best free safeties in the league. He wants to play for a contender, and in order to do so he may have to lower his salary demands, but bringing him into your team as a potential missing piece in the secondary is worth the look. The Raiders have reportedly expressed interest which would only add to their free agency haul.

Reggie Nelson S: Last team- Cincinnati Bengals

Nelson is coming off a career year in which he recorded eight interceptions. However, that isn’t just a contract year outlier, as Nelson has had at least two picks in every season of his career except one (2009). The Bengals locked up George Iloka which could make it tough to bring back Nelson too, and he should definitely generate some interest.

The moral of the story is, if your team didn’t join the bonanza on the first day of free agency, don’t fret. There are still plenty of good players out there who can be had for relative bargains now that a lot of cap space has been used.

Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.

 

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