As teams are rolling into training camp this week, there are still a few big name free agents out there looking for a home. In fact, as I write this, the Arizona Cardinals brought in Safety Tre Boston, who would have been on this list. At 26 years old, he’s entering his 5th season in the NFL and had 5 interceptions while playing on the leagues 4th best pass defending team in the Los Angeles Chargers. If he was still available, let’s take a look at some other guys who could help a team this season.
Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver, 29 Years Old.
Dez Bryant has not reached the 1000 yard mark or double-digit touchdown mark since 2014, but that doesn’t mean that he’s washed up. The Dallas Cowboys would have liked to keep Bryant, who they selected 24th overall in 2010 but he was just too expensive. At this point in his career, he’s not going to be your first option, but he can still run the shorter routes and be dangerous in the red zone. Match him with an elite Quarterback and he’s got some years left.
Jonathan Hankins, Defensive Tackle, 26 Years Old.
In a league desperate to find young big run stoppers, how is the 6’3 325lb defensive tackle still available? Last April after parting way with the New York Giants where he’d played well along side Damon Harrison, Hankins signed a 3 year/27 Million dollar deal with the Colts. 2017 didn’t go as planned, as the Colts ranked 7th worst in the league in rush defense, and when you’re a high priced defensive tackle some of that blame is inevitably falling on you. The Colts released Hankins at a bad time, when teams had already thrown cash at other free agents, meaning a pay cut may be in his future.
Eric Reid, Safety, 26 Years Old.
Reid was a Pro-Bowler in his rookie season after being drafted 18th overall by the San Francisco 49ers, and the sky seemed to be the limit. He’s shown versatility by playing multiple positions in the 49’ers secondary. He also took part in Colin Kaepernick’s protest, which sadly has possibly played a factor in his inability to find a job. He’s had visits, but no contract as of yet. To be fair, Kenny Vaccaro and until today Tre Boston, have had hard times finding contracts as well. It may be a tough off-season for NFL Quality Safeties.
Jeremy Maclin, Wide Receiver, 30 Years Old.
I should start off saying, I’ve never been a huge fan of Maclin, and never considered him a true #1 threat. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think he can contribute anymore, in fact, in the right offence I think he can be player that can still stretch the field. His best year came in Philadelphia playing under Chip Kelly and that offence. I believe if Maclin can find a spot where he is no higher than 3rd on the depth chart, and play with a veteran Quarterback, he can still occasionally capitalize on miss matches and make the big play.
Julius Thomas, Tight End, 30 Years Old.
It seems like JT has been around forever, but yet the 2x Pro Bowler is still just 30 years old. We’ve seen Tight end’s with similar skill sets stay productive into their mid 30’s and I believe Thomas can still do the same. The problem he’s had is playing on teams with bad Quarterback play(No offence to the Jags or Dolphins). He had back to back 12 touchdown season’s playing with Peyton Manning, and if he can find a team with a smart, veteran Quarterback I see no reason that he can’t be an effective red zone threat. Being healthy would certainly help as well.
Random names I’d like to see play again..
Colin Kaepernick QB – We all know why he’s not playing in the league. A Team need to grow a pair and give him a shot.
Antonio Gates TE – Maybe a little homer pick here, but I’m not done watching Antonio “GOAT’s”. He should ability when Hunter Henry went down last year, and in a reduced role he can still catch the rock.
Jay Cutler QB – The league may not be better with Smokin’ Jay Cutler in the league, but the meme’s alone are a reason a team needs to throw some cash his way.
Jeremy Lane CB – I’ve had a soft spot for him since tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. “The other guy” in the Legion of Boom is still only 28, and should get a contract at some point this season.