With the football season now here, we still have many free agents on the market. This offseason has been a bit crazy with free agents and trades, where we have seen some players land on a team before other players have, who may have more talent. We have seen many controversies and debates on why certain teams haven’t signed the free agents available. The offseason has been fun, but with the 2017 NFL season about to start, many fans may be confused as to why certain free agents are still available.
Coming in to a season where every team has a hole, you would expect these teams to be proactive and fill the hole that is needed to help benefit their team. With injuries occurring in the preseason, or bad performances, it is expected that we see some of these big name free agents still available, on a team within the next few weeks. With competition rising, teams have no choice but to sit back and allow athletic players jobless throughout the offseason. In many cases, some free agents that are available are actually better performers than some of the starters on some teams.
With the season now underway and injuries bound to pile up, expect teams to start looking at a few of these free agents to grab. You would be surprised with the impact they may make on their new team.
Here are Where The Top 15 Free Agents Should Get Signed To:
15 DeAndre Levy - New York Jets
It’s really hard to begin to see where the Jets need to start first as to where to rebuild. The outside linebacker position for the Jets has struggled, not putting up the numbers needed to help. After looking at the first two draft picks for the Jets, it seems that before the Jets try and mess around with their offense, they may want to start rebuilding on defense. A great addition to this young Jets defense, would be outside linebacker DeAndre Levy.
Before Levy’s injuries which limited him in both 2015 and 2016, he was a dominant linebacker. In 2013, Levy had 85 tackles and six interceptions on the season. Levy would add veteran experience to a young team that could use the help. This signing would be a gamble as Levy has struggled to stay on the field, but for a cheap price, the Jets could get a bargain with him.
14 Gary Barnidge - Indianapolis Colts
This signing for the Colts could either be a steal or a complete failure. But, with Andrew Luck needing some weapons on offense, tight end Gary Barnidge could potentially be a big help. Barnidge’s career has been below average, but the last two seasons he’s put up some impressing numbers that may encourage the Colts to add him. In 2015, Barnidge had a career year where he caught for 1,043 yards and scored nine touchdowns. His numbers were staggering, especially for a team who has struggled to have a dominant quarterback.
Barnidge did have a drop in his statistics in 2016, where he only caught for 612 yards and scored two touchdowns. The leading tight end for the Colts in 2016, received 584 yards and caught five touchdowns. Barnidge’s performance may improve with a better quarterback. The Colts could probably grab Barnidge for a cheap price, but help give Luck another target to throw to.
13 Paul Kruger - New Orleans Saints
Paul Kruger struggled in his first season as a Saint, but with the way the Saints defense looks, they need all the help they can get. The past two seasons Kruger has struggled, but a season before that we saw him total for 11 sacks in a season with 36 tackles. Kruger may need to adjust to the defensive scheme in New Orleans, which may have caused him to struggle in 2016.
A team in a division with three other star quarterbacks, may want to look into bringing back the former star pass rusher. Chances are that Kruger would sign for a cheap deal, which wouldn’t hurt the Saints at all. With Drew Brees getting older, the chances of the Saints making it back to the playoffs are getting slimmer and slimmer. The Saints need to capitalize and do whatever they can, to put together a team that can win.
12 Perry Riley - Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are fine on the left side of their linebacker group with C.J. Mosley, but the right-side linebacker position is very inexperienced. Kamalei Correa only played in one game last season, after being drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Correa was placed on the injury reserve which cut his season early. With a question mark on that side of the ball, a good signing for the Ravens would be former Raider, Perry Riley.
Last season with the Raiders, Riley had 38 tackles, two forced fumbles and a pass deflection. Throughout his career, Riley has been able to play both against the pass and the run. In a division where the Ravens will have to go up against Joe Mixon, Isaiah Crowell, and Le’Veon Bell, this team could use some extra help at the linebacker position. Riley may not be a stand out linebacker, but he is definitely a dominant force that can help against both the run and pass game.
11 Nick Mangold - Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals need some help on the offensive line, and Nick Mangold may be able to be helpful as a backup option if their starting core may not work out. When fans think about needing an upgrade to an offensive line, the last thing they ever think about is the center position. The center position may be one of the most underrated positions in the NFL, and is many times overlooked when it comes to the draft and free agency.
Nick Mangold, has been known as one of the best centers in recent history to play the game. Mangold is up there in age has he is now 33 years old, which for an offensive lineman, can be looked at as pretty old. Mangold would be perfect to be an emergency lineman if needed, as well as a veteran force on that offense to help make a playoff push for this Bengals team.
10 Jairus Byrd - Los Angeles Chargers
After the Chargers lost Eric Weedle, they continued to look for a dominant force to help the secondary down the middle of the field. Many may look at this Chargers team as a weak force that has a few years to go to make it back to the playoffs, but if they can stay healthy, this team could definitely slide their way into the playoffs. The Chargers may want to look into signing Jairus Byrd. Byrd looks like he is past his prime, but he can still help provide the team with some turnovers and veteran leadership.
Things didn’t work out with the Saints, but he still managed to put up decent numbers. In 2016, Byrd had 56 tackles, two interceptions, and three pass deflections. It may also have been the defensive scheme in New Orleans which led to his poor play. Byrd’s play with the bills was aggressive, helping turn the ball over for the offense. Byrd is still out there in free agency, and could give this defense more aggression by bringing in the veteran safety.
9 Leon Hall - Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions have struggled to maintain a roster that can help Matthew Stafford make it deep into the playoffs. Even when Stafford is at his best, the Lions still seem to fail to put together a winning ball club. A big part of it has been the defense. This defense has struggled getting to the quarterback as well as playing against the pass. The veteran Leon Hall, could help bring a consistent cornerback to this terrible Lions secondary.
In Hall’s 10-year career, he has recorded at least one interception each year. Prior to last season, in each season he has also had at least seven pass deflections. Age catches up on cornerbacks, which is why Hall may still be a free agent. But Hall can still play on this level, and contribute as a starting cornerback. He may not be one of the best anymore, but he can hold his ground, and help make an immediate improvement to this secondary.
8 Mario Williams - Pittsburgh Steelers
Once the first overall draft pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, is currently a free agent looking for a new home. Mario Williams has been incredible his whole career, but due to his injuries in 2016, still sees himself without a team. Unlike many other defensive ends, Williams has been able to dominant for the past 11 years. In his 11-year career, we have seen Williams have over 10 sacks in five of his 11 seasons. Williams has even showed that he can play for different schemes. The season after he left the Texans, he totaled up 10.5 sacks with the Bills.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are in desperate need of a pass rusher, and an experienced one on the defensive line could definitely be helpful. The Steelers used their first overall draft pick to pick up T.J. Watt, but the team could still use a capable defensive end. Williams wouldn’t even have to start to be a contributor. Williams could be used mostly on third down plays, allowing Williams to rest up to rusher after the passers.
7 Sam Shields - Philadelphia Eagles
In the secondaries of each NFC East teams, you always have to watch out for what is to come with some of the most dynamic wide receivers in the NFL. The only secondary that really shows a lot of strength in the division is the Giants, besides that every other team needs a bit of help in the secondary. Well, this offseason the Eagles lost starting cornerback Nolan Carrol, and were unable to fully replace him. They drafted Sidney Jones, but may still need some time after dealing with an injury before the draft.
A helpful fix would be signing Sam Shields, former cornerback of the Green Bay Packers. An injury played a huge impact on why Shields was not re-signed by the Packers, but he can still manage to be helpful enough to start for the Eagles. Just two seasons ago, Shields had three interceptions along with 13 pass deflections. Shields could help improve this secondary, and give some help against these dangerous receivers on opposing teams.
6 Ryan Mathews - Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs took a huge hit this preseason when they saw their starting running back, Spencer Ware, go down with a knee injury, causing him to miss the entire 2017 season. Ware’s production wasn’t extreme that they fully depended on the run game, but it helped release some pressure off of Alex Smith. For a guy who’s not the most aggressive passer, a good run game is needed to help this team push for the playoffs.
Another running back that could help, may be former Eagles running back, Ryan Mathews. Mathews’ production has decreased since he has come to Philly, but a new home in the west could help him get back up on his feet. Mathews can help come in as a starter, while also being able to rotate some of the younger backs into the game. Mathews isn’t going to be able to handle all of the reps, but can help bring some experience to alleviate the pressure off of Alex Smith.
5 Vincent Jackson - Chicago Bears
It’s kind of an insult that Vincent Jackson is still a free agent. Yes, he’s old, yes, his production has decreased, but at one point he was the star wide receiver of the former San Diego Chargers. Throughout his career, he has had six 1,000 yard receiving seasons. The best part is, he still wants to play. And looking at many of the wide receiver groups in the NFL, Jackson is a better option than many of these other teams have.
A great location for Jackson would be the Chicago Bears. Jackson would have to adjust to the cold, having always played in warm locations. But the Bears need a standout wide receiver, especially after losing Alshon Jeffrey in the offseason. The Bears struggle heavily at the receiver position, as their number one receiver missed most of the 2017 season. It’s difficult to count on a player that hasn’t seen the field enough. Jackson would help give either Trubisky or Glennon another target, as well as some leadership to a young team. Jackson could go on an easy one-year deal, to help give these quarterbacks an experienced wide receiver to toss the ball to.
4 Dwight Freeney - Tennessee Titans (DE)
Time to bring back Dwight Freeney to the AFC South. What an ending to an amazing career, by finishing off his career in the division that he grew up playing for. Freeney’s days as a starter are off, but he can be used as a third down specialist to play against the pass. Freeney still at the age of 37, can come off the ball and beat out offensive tackles. With the Titans lacking a pass rusher and trying to build up, they may want to add one of the best of the position to help mentor the young guys.
The Titans could be a surprising team that could make a run for it this season, and that’s why this deal would make sense. Freeney may come at a lower price because of his age, and help attack opposing quarterbacks. It would also be a great way to capitalize a great career, by playing against his former team twice this season.
3 Robert Griffin III - Jacksonville Jaguars
Now most Jaguars fans may read this and be totally against it, or feel that they’re doomed that this may be a viable option. Now the Jaguars aren’t doomed, yet. The Jaguars are trying their best to put together a playoff contender, but it all stems down to where their quarterback takes them. Blake Bortles has been good, but he has also been really bad. In his three seasons under center, Bortles has thrown at least 15 interceptions in each season. Now the problem is, that hurts the team. Some of his statistics may look good, but each interception is not only a possession wasted, but another opportunity for other teams. It seems that Bortles will start this season, but that may not last very long. Behind him is Chad Henne, which isn’t bad for a backup quarterback, but he definitely won’t take this team further than Bortles would.
The Jaguars can go after RGIII. RGIII has dealt with many injuries, but the prolonged offseason allows him to have a longer recovery time, come the time when he may have to step on the field. RGIII has the perfect opportunity to redeem himself, that may have enough weapons to make a move this upcoming season.
2 Darrelle Revis - Dallas Cowboys
Darrelle Revis’ age is a concern, but after the Cowboys lost their whole starting secondary this offseason, they can use some experience. Revis still has enough in him to make an impact, and this defense could use a bit of help. The Cowboys may not get the primetime Darrelle Revis, but they’ll still get the smart defender that he always was.
A big reason Revis could help, is his ability to play both cornerback and safety. Revis can help at two positions the Cowboys lack experience at. Revis’ production still hasn’t been awful of late. Just two years ago, Revis had five interceptions and nine pass deflections. On a team that lacks turnovers, Revis could help at least provide a couple of turnovers to help Dak Prescott lead this offense to success.
1 Colin Kaepernick - Denver Broncos
What has happened to the career of Colin Kaepernick has been a shame. Whether you agree or disagree with his actions, it’s tough to claim that Kaepernick isn’t a good football player. Kaepernick took the 49ers back to a long awaited Super Bowl appearance, before the Ravens came back to win. Not too long after that, the team Kaepernick once went to the Super Bowl with was slowly gone. Everyone was claiming how Kaepernick needed to go, yet his whole team left, and had one of the worst rosters to work with in football. And in 2016, even with that poor roster, Kaepernick still throw for 16 touchdowns with only four interceptions. Whether you like Kaepernick or not, he is better than quite a few starting quarterbacks in this league. And one of those teams are the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos have been quiet in the talks of getting a new quarterback because of how much the team trusts Trevor Siemian. In 2016, Siemian played decent, but Kaepernick could take this team back to where Peyton Manning brought them. Kaepernick has the ability to spread the football, which could allow this offense to be very dangerous once again. He's arguably better than any QBs on the Broncos' roster including the recently re-signed Brock Osweiler.