US Sports Veteran
We’re weeks past the draft and there are still some big names left on the free agent market. Whether it’s because of age, money, or health, several former star players have remained unclaimed and likely won’t be signed until closer to the preseason when teams begin to realize where they still desperately need help. Some of the worse teams in the league might also want to consider offering contracts just so they can have an attractive name on the roster who can sell jerseys. Not that I would ever call a team like the Buffalo Bills or Miami Dolphins out for a distinct lack of star power.
These players are in alphabetical order as their various circumstances made it hard to distinguish exactly what players are the most valuable remaining ones. Keep in mind that there are many other free agents who could sign with teams before the start of the regular season as well.
He landed on IR last season and only ended up playing in six games, but Liuget is still just 29 years old. While he won’t be putting a lot of pressure on quarterbacks, he’s still a viable space eater and run defender.
Berry has missed all but three regular season games in the last two years, and he’s 30 years old. His market will probably be less for his skill as a starter and more for his leadership and experience. We saw Berry show signs of rust late last season when he was unable to carry the battered Kansas City Chiefs secondary, and the team chose to replace him with the younger Tyrann Mathieu. Even though I know he might not even be a clear-cut starter in 2019, I’m still excited to watch Berry play. Make no mistake about it, he’s still going to make the Hall of Fame someday; I don’t care if they like safeties or not.
With Ndamukong Suh signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just a short while after the team parted ways with another DT from the 2010 class, the McCoy era is officially over. McCoy is certainly one of the biggest names in free agency now and will probably replace Suh as the top commodity on the market. Unfortunately for McCoy, 2018 ended a stretch of six straight Pro Bowls and was his worst year since 2011. He’s 31 which will scare away some teams, but Suh is 32 and he was just signed. McCoy is an extremely marketable player with good leadership traits and the potential to return to the Pro Bowl in 2019. It’ll just come down to a matter of cost.
While Quin has gone underappreciated for a long time, he is already 33 years old and there were younger players available in free agency and the draft. In 2018 Quin recorded zero interceptions for the first time since 2011, but he recorded 74 combined tackles. Just remember that in 2017 Quin put up 84 combined tackles, six passes defensed, three interceptions, and four forced fumbles. Some team will sign him in the hopes that he’ll return to that form.
He once looked like a late round steal, but Ajayi’s career has taken a turn for the worst since he left the Miami Dolphins midway through 2017. Now his Pro Bowl 2016 campaign seems like a long time ago and his constant injuries will likely mean he’ll only serve a rotational role wherever her lands.
He may be going on 32, but Crabtree is the best remaining receiver in free agency and could be a decent complementary piece on some team. While he’s posted just over 600 yards in both of the last two seasons, he also has 11 touchdowns during that time. He’ll never be a full-time starter again, but he’ll find his way onto an NFL roster.
The former first round pick was a flop in Dallas, but he resurrected his career with the New York Jets, which isn’t something many players can say. Admittedly, his 2017 campaign was better than his 2018 one, but teams are always desperately looking for corners because of injuries. The closer we get to opening day, the more likely Claiborne’s phone will ring.
It’s almost hard to believe at this point that Wilkerson had 12 sacks back in 2015. Once a budding member of the 2011 Draft class, Wilkerson has fallen from grace thanks to poor performances and injuries. After being cut by the New York Jets in 2018, Wilkerson signed a one-year deal with the Green Bay Packers, which was then ruined by an ankle injury. Wilkerson still hasn’t even turned 30 yet though and could try to regain some of his lost shine with a new team in 2019.
The often-injured former Green Bay Packer may have just turned in the worst season of his career, but Perry is still one of the best available edge rushers now that Shane Ray is off of the board. Perry had 11 sacks in 2016 and seven in 2017 before recording just 1.5 through nine games in 2018.
Boston has eight interceptions in the last two seasons and is just about to turn 27 years old. The versatile safety has decent size and has back to back years with 79 combined tackles. While teams might not want to make Boston a long-term starter, he’d be a good option on a short deal. It’s just a matter of whether or not he’d accept what teams will be willing to pay him.
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