The NFL offseason is just about over with, and most of the acquisitions that are going to take place have already been made. Most of them. Yes, even in the dog days of summer there are still plenty of free agents to be had for any NFL team that wants to add an upgrade before training camp begins in August. It's the same thing every year; the big names are snatched up at the beginning of the offseason, and more peripheral signings are made later in the summer, just before training camp.
These names drop to the bottom of the free agent barrel for various reasons. Many of them are aging, but historically productive veterans who are perceived to be past their prime. Some of them have been slapped PED suspensions, or are dealing with substance abuse issues. Others are just looking for the right situation where they can maximize their skills and be a productive member of an NFL team. There are still plenty of noteworthy names available. Let's take a look at who they are, and where they may end up if they get signed for the 2017 season.
Ranked below are 15 landing destinations that we want to see for these remaining NFL free agents.
15 Robert Griffin III: Seattle Seahawks
RGIII was slated to be the Browns' starter in the 2016 season, but ended up spending most of the season on injured reserve. After being one of the most anticipated draft picks of the era with the Redskins, he's now looking for a job, and one more chance to prove that he can be a productive NFL starter.
The issue is that backup quarterbacks who are injury-prone generally don't have much of a market for their services. On its face, RGIII probably deserves to have a job somewhere, but he just can't be depended upon to stay on the field. The Seahawks would be a good fit, as he can sit behind Russell Wilson, and provide similar mobility if he's ever forced into game action.
14 Vincent Jackson: Oakland Raiders
The Raiders already have a great offense, but another veteran, sure-handed receiver wouldn't hurt them at this point. They already have young standout Amari Cooper, and a veteran in Michael Crabtree, but Jackson could provide more help in the red zone, and a possession receiver to help convert third downs.
Granted, Jackson is in his mid-30s at this point, but there should be interest from a contending team regarding his services. He can help to bolster a team with an effective offense already in place. Oakland makes the most sense, and he would give the Raiders yet another reliable receiver for Derek Carr to throw the ball to.
13 DeAngelo Williams: Arizona Cardinals
Although he's getting up there in years, Williams still has a place on an NFL roster. He played phenomenally filling in for Le'Veon Bell last year on the Steelers, and he still has some gas left in the tank. Williams would do well as the spell running back option to the elite David Johnson, and would give the Cardinals a solid 1-2 punch at the position.
Bruce Arians is the kind of coach that Williams would likely want to play for, on a team that is putting all their chips on the table for the 2017 season. They need to win now, and Williams won't be in the league for many more years, so it's a natural fit. He'd be a great change of pace from Johnson, and is a reliable veteran who can still get the job done. This one makes a lot of sense, all things considered.
12 Anquan Boldin: Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are depleted at the wide receiver position, and other than speedster Mike Wallace, they really don't have anybody they can rely on. Ageless wonder Boldin would be able to provide a big-bodied target for Joe Flacco, along with giving Baltimore some extra punch around the red zone.
There's no question that Boldin's best days are behind him, but that doesn't mean he can't still be productive, as we saw with the Lions last season. There are spots open all over the Ravens' receiving corps, and Boldin instantly would have a role that he could excel in. He's going to sign with somebody in the summer, as he seems to do every year now, and Baltimore would be an ideal situation.
11 Karlos Williams: Dallas Cowboys
Williams was hit with a PED suspension, and has battled weight issues during his time with the Bills. However, he was also one of the best change-of-pace running backs in the league behind LeSean McCoy, and has proven that he has a nose for the end zone. He's a risk, but one that could end up paying off in the right situation.
Consider the fact that the Cowboys have shown that they don't mind keeping a stable of runners behind the juggernaut that is Ezekiel Elliott. Having said that, Darren McFadden is getting older, and Alfred Morris is dead weight at this point. Williams would provide the kind of inside, power-runner that the Cowboys could use at the goal line, or to run out the clock. He'd be a perfect fit, if he can just stay on the field and avoid additional suspensions. A one-year prove-it deal would fit the bill, and then they can extend him if he stays on the field.
10 Eddie Royal: Cleveland Browns
The Browns are obviously in the middle of a complete rebuild, but they still need to field a team. They don't have an established slot receiver on the roster currently, and Royal would be a nice veteran pickup at a cheap price. He's never been a star, but has always been a reliable possession option in the passing game for the Broncos, Chargers and Bears.
The fact that he would have former 1st-round pick Corey Coleman, and veteran Kenny Britt playing alongside him would increase his chances of succeeding. Some may say that signing another veteran receiver would be a step backwards for Cleveland, considering the rebuild, but Royal can pay dividends in the short term while they search for a slot receiver in the draft.
9 Darrelle Revis: Green Bay Packers
Honestly, who knows what's going to happen with Revis? After a somewhat tumultuous offseason, where for a period of time he was facing a lawsuit that would have put him behind bars, he seems to have displayed interest in playing for yet another season. Whoever would be willing to give him a shot wouldn't be getting the Revis of old, but he could be useful in the right situation.
The Packers are always a contender to go on a deep playoff run with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, and this year is no different. What they don't have much of, are experienced, veteran cornerbacks who have shown that they can cover receivers consistently. Revis may not be as much of a juggernaut as he was in his prime, but he's worth taking a look at by the Packers to assist their depleted secondary.
8 Zach Mettenberger: Arizona Cardinals
After a failed run with the Titans, where he had a chance to take the reins as the franchise quarterback, Mettenberger has bounced around the league, and deservedly so. Still, he has a big arm, and if he went to a developmental situation with the right team, then he could stand a chance to to remain in the NFL over the long-term.
Bruce Arians likes to throw the ball deep, and Mettenberger's raw skill set is exactly what he looks for in a quarterback. Carson Palmer is going to be retiring soon, and none of the backups currently on the roster are the answer for the future. Worst case scenario, Arizona could move on from Mettenberger on a cheap deal, and suffer little loss. Best case scenario, he develops into an eventual starter, even if he only ends up being a stopgap.
7 Mario Williams: New Orleans Saints
The Saints have made an effort to bolster their defensive line over the past few seasons, after they desperately needed to do so for a long time. Though they have some nice young players their now, along with veteran starter Nick Fairley, they could still stand to give Williams a shot, and see how he fits in their system.
Williams is a former 1st-overall pick, and has had his share of soaring highs, to go along with crushing lows during his decade-long career. Last season with the Dolphins may have in fact been his worst NFL season, but that doesn't mean he couldn't rebound in a solid rotational player for a new team. New Orleans needs the depth, and Williams wouldn't cost much at this point.
6 Cecil Shorts: Los Angeles Rams
Nobody should be expecting Shorts to turn into a true go-to receiver anymore, but that doesn't mean that he has no value at all. Jared Goff is a young, inexperienced quarterback, who just lost his best receiver from last year, when Kenny Britt left in free agency for Cleveland. Though they signed Robert Woods to help soften the blow, Shorts would fit in nicely as well.
Even if he is a spot starter, or only on the field in certain packages, a veteran receiver like Shorts can help a young quarterback. While he was largely anonymous last season with the Buccaneers, Shorts had a solid, if unremarkable 2015 campaign with the Texans, and showed that he still has at least some value. Something for Los Angeles to think about.
5 Chris Johnson: Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers lost their compliment to Le'Veon Bell when DeAngelo Williams left, and Johnson is another veteran runner who can help out in spurts. While he won't be posting numbers similar to his days with the Titans during his prime, he still can serve a purpose on an NFL roster. Johnson played well for the Cardinals in 2015, and could at least provide some insurance if Bell misses any time, as he's been known to do.
Johnson has shown that he can perform as a spell running back, and right now the Steelers need one. Bell, as talented as he is, isn't a guarantee to stay on the field, whether it's due to suspension or injury. Johnson could come in right away and contribute in a limited role, or take over as the starter for a few games if necessary.
4 Dwight Freeney: Detroit Lions
While Detroit has elite pass rusher Ziggy Ansah within their ranks, Freeney would be a good option to provide some additional pass rush on third down situations, where the offense is clearly throwing the ball. He certainly isn't in the prime of his career anymore, but he's shown that even in his older age that he can still get to the quarterback.
A pass rush combination of Ansah and Freeney could prove devastating in certain situations, and it would give the Lions some extra punch on their defensive line. Freeney is nearing closer to the age of 40, so coming back to play another season isn't a guaranteed, but it would cool to see him pair up with one of the best young pass rushers in the game.
3 Justin Gilbert: Los Angeles Chargers
Gilbert may be one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory, but to be fair, he hasn't been in the best of situations throughout his career. Cleveland is hardly an ideal place for any young players to acclimate. All in all, Gilbert probably deserves a second chance in the league, after spending some time on Pittsburgh's roster last season.
The Chargers have an up-and-coming defense, and it would be worth it to at least give Gilbert a shot. He wouldn't need to be the primary cornerback with Jason Verrett in the fold, and if nothing else could make an impact on special teams. It's not a guarantee, but Gilbert may very well end up being scooped up somebody, and the Chargers make a lot of sense.
2 Reggie Bush: Washington Redskins
It's been a curious career for Bush, who has seen plenty of ups and downs over the years. He refuses to give up his career, and has made the habit of switching teams every year or so as a tenured player in the league now. He'll likely sign with somebody, and the Redskins need help in their backfield.
Even though they drafted rookie running back Samaje Perine, they're still pretty depleted at the position. Bush, if nothing else could be a change of pace option, and give the backfield some veteran presence. He hasn't always lived up to expectations in his career, as a former 2nd-overall pick, but that doesn't mean he has no value whatsoever. Bush is worth taking a look at. He proved he could handle a decent amount of carries several years ago, and still may be able to do so in a pass-first offense like the Redskins have.
1 Colin Kaepernick: New York Jets
Regardless of what anybody thinks about Kaepernick's comments and actions over the past year or so, there's no questioning that his talent is worthy of being on an NFL roster. NFL front offices may not want the distraction, but looking at some of the pitiful backup options that have been signed already, it's safe to say that Kaepernick at least belongs in the fold somewhere.
The Jets have a dismal quarterback situation right now, with no surefire starter for the 2017 season. An open competition between Kaepernick, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg and Josh McCown would allow someone to rise above the rest. Out of all of them, Kapernick is likely the most talented, and could provide the Jets with the best possible option under center for this season. Best case scenario, he regains his level of play from a few years ago, and can turn into a stopgap starter for a few years until the Jets find their quarterback of the future.
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