For the most part the fast and furious pace of free agent signings should now be over. The biggest names are pretty much all off the market ranging from Mike Wallace and Dwayne Bowe to Dashon Goldson and Cliff Avril. For some players free agency was a great experience this year but for the majority it was likely disappointing as teams spending went way down compared to past seasons. Now the focus will turn towards those who have likely had the most frustrating experiences of all which are the players who went unsigned during the initial phase of free agency, specifically those who were cut right as free agency began.
Really this now will be bargain hunting in the dollar bin for most teams. There are still some very capable players out there that are simply not getting the early calls due to financial reasons. The first domino to fall looks to be DE Osi Umenyiora who is reportedly set to sign with the Atlanta Falcons on Monday the 25th. Osi, who had fought for years to become a free agent, expected to be in demand as a pass rusher and at one point was talking about winning DPOY. It will be interesting to see what he settles for, but most likely its going to be far less than he expected. Now that the Elvis Dumervil situation cleared up in Denver with Dumervil headed to the Ravens the door should open for Dwight Freeney and John Abraham to find work.
While the first set of moves in free agency often provide the spark this looks to be a season where the second phase can really add much needed depth to a top heavy roster. You would think that teams with minimal draft choices and playoff dreams would be very active right now to try to get good players at a fraction of the original cost. The Bears, Patriots and Saints should all be in on some players. Some younger teams may see the chance to get a solid locker room veteran on the cheap. So while many of these signings wont get the press headlines they could go a long way towards helping in a playoff run. Here are some of the candidates that are available:
QB- Jason Campbell, Kevin Kolb
RB- Michael Turner, Felix Jones, Ahmad Bradshaw
WR- Kevin Walter, Steve Breaston, Early Doucet
TE- Fred Davis, Randy McMichael
OT- Andre Smith, Eric Winston
G- Brandon Moore
DE- Dwight Freeney, John Abraham, Kyle Vanden Bosch
DT- Richard Seymour, Sione Pouha
LB-Brian Urlacher, Michael Boley, Karlos Dansby, James Anderson
CB- Sheldon Brown, Nnamdi Asomugha, Michael Huff, Quentin Jammer
S- Kerry Rhodes, Dawan Landry, Charles Woodson
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.