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Top 3 Remaining Free Agents at Each Position: Offense

Note: The scale is rated on, for example, Tom Brady = A+ to Ryan Leaf = F-. Source used for available free agents: http://walterfootball.com/freeagents.php

QB

1.) Vince Young    Former Team: Eagles   Rating: C-

While remembered fondly for his 2006 Rose Bowl performance, Young hasn’t quite lived up to that performance in the NFL. He appeared last season in three games, most notably throwing four picks in a loss to the Seahawks. Young has a great amount of potential and is a winner, somewhat like our beloved Tim Tebow. Despite this, the stats aren’t that great and he has more potential as a backup than as a starter for most teams. Young isn’t too old but is a bit sporadic, as is evidenced by that Seahawks game. I don’t think he’ll be in the NFL for much longer, but for now some team will probably take a flier on him. He fits as a backup for teams with more mobile QBs, such as the Redskins and Panthers. He recently had a workout with the Bills so he may land there.

Potential Teams: Panthers, Bills

Projected Team: Bills

2.) Dennis Dixon   Former Team: Steelers   Rating: C-

Dennis Dixon has some great upside as a starter; he was almost a Matt Flynn type, but injuries held him back. When he got the starting job during Ben Roethlisberger’s four game suspension in 2010, he tore his meniscus. He’s a bit injury prone but has some serious skills. A team that still could use a backup or a 3rd stringer with some upside, like the Chargers (fun fact: they don’t have a 3rd stringer and haven’t since 2009) or the Falcons could look into signing him. I’ve always liked Dixon but I don’t think he’ll ever be a full-time starter in the league.

Potential Teams: Steelers, Chargers, Falcons

Projected Team: Falcons

3.) Max Hall   Former Team: Cardinals   Rating: D

Hall isn’t great. He didn’t look great starting for the Cardinals during their mess of a 2010 season, and that’s why Derek Anderson and John Skelton, neither of whom is particularly good, started over him that season. He’s training camp fodder and could potentially win a 3rd string job, although a team would probably look at a rookie or someone with upside, such as the aforementioned Dixon, for the spot. Hall’s 26 and just isn’t that good.

Potential Teams: Chargers, Steelers, Falcons, Browns

Projected Team: Who really cares?

Others of note: Mark Brunell, Luke McCown, Kevin O’Connell

 

RB

1.) LaDainian Tomlinson  Former Team: Jets  Grade: C+

LT probably doesn’t have much left in the tank. He really slowed down as last season progressed, but despite this he can still contribute as a third down back to a team in need of one. Many teams would still love to have him as a mentor as he’s a great locker room presence. He would likely come as a one-year rental to any team that wants him – he pretty much has one year left to find his elusive ring. LT is one of the top TD scorers of all time; he really has a nose for the end zone and he along with the addition of Plaxico Burress were the reasons why the Jets were #1 in red zone touchdowns last year. He can still make catches out of the backfield and will have a good rush every now and then.

Potential Teams: Bengals, Packers, Ravens

Projected Team: Ravens

2.) Tim Hightower  Former Team: Redskins  Grade: C+

Hightower’s only 25. He had a good season for the Cardinals, was having a good first 5 games for the Redskins before tearing his ACL, and has had a good YPC his entire career. Really, I’m surprised a team hasn’t picked him up yet. He would fit well in a RB-by-committee system as a more powerful guy. There are plenty of teams who could still use a second or third back that Hightower would definitely fit in. For example, the Jaguars just signed Jalen Parmele, an RB who has been in the league 4 years and barely got playing time for the Ravens. Would Hightower be too much to ask as a backup to MJD? They still have around $20 million in cap space, so why not?

Potential Teams: Jaguars, Ravens, Bengals

Projected Team: Jaguars

3.) Cedric Benson  Former Team: Bengals  Grade: C

Benson’s getting up there.  He doesn’t have much left in the tank despite rushing for 1,000 yards the last 3 years. He doesn’t add much value as a receiver but will still find holes. A few teams can find value in that and that is why he’ll be signed as a backup somewhere. Benson has been notorious for his trouble with the law, but this doesn’t seem to matter too much in the NFL. After all, Pacman Jones still has a team. Benson could get 100-200 carries next year and get some solid gains for a team. Someone can use him as a backup.

Potential Teams: Raiders, Jaguars, Cardinals

Projected Team: Raiders

Others of note: Ryan Grant, Justin Forsett, Jackie Battle

WR

1.) Braylon Edwards  Former Team: 49ers  Grade: C+

Braylon had 15 catches last year. His knee was injured, and he has some off-the-field issues. Even with all this, he has shown that he can be a productive receiver and has made some insane catches in the past. Drafted #3 overall in 2005, Edwards has been up-and-down his entire career. His most productive years were 2007 with the Browns and 2010 with the Jets. He has only had one 1,000 yard season in his career but at times can take over a game. Other times, he will disappear. The most likely scenario for Edwards is some team looking at him as a #4 receiver or as a fill-in #2 guy (see  Rams).

Potential Teams: Rams, Jets, Texans

Projected Team: Rams

2.) Plaxico Burress  Former Team: Jets  Grade: C+

Plaxico of the infamous self-shooting incident had a decent season last year. He struggled running routes, but really opened up the red zone for the Jets who had the second best red zone team in the NFL last year.  Burress is getting up there in age and will have to hang up the cleats soon, but for now a team with a need for a #2 wide receiver or a team that struggled in the red zone last year would look at picking him up.

Potential Teams: Rams, Chiefs, Eagles

Projected Team: Chiefs

3.) Greg Camarillo  Former Team: Vikings  Grade: D

Camarillo is OK. He could be a nice #4 or #5 option for some team out there, but he is now 30 and has not really shown much in the NFL. The Vikings, who aren’t exactly the epitome of great receivers, didn’t want him back. He probably will find a team that needs some depth at receiver that will at least try him out in training camp. If not, there’s always the CFL.

Potential Teams: Rams, Dolphins, Eagles

Projected Team: Toronto Argonauts

Others of note: Patrick Crayton, Mark Clayton, Michael Clayton, Jabar Gaffney and Roy E. Williams

 

TE

1.) Dallas Clark  Former Team: Colts Grade: B-

Clark has been a great receiver. He is non-existent as a blocker, but he was great for Peyton Manning for years. I was surprised the Broncos picked Jacob Tamme up instead of him, but they are probably going the younger route. With that said, there are teams that would love Clark as even a starter, but more likely a great backup. He catches the ball like a receiver and almost is one.

Potential Teams: Bills, Redskins, Chiefs

Projected Team: Bills

2.) Visanthe Shiancoe  Former Team: Vikings  Grade: C

Shiancoe’s kinda done. He’s been in the league 9 years now and he doesn’t have much left in the tank. After being the next guy on this list’s backup for 4 years, he was on the Vikings for 5 and was just average as a starting tight end. He would be nice in a backup receiving tight end role, because he’s not a great blocker. Some team can definitely use him on the field for a few plays every game though.

Potential Teams: Dolphins, Raiders, Panthers

Projected Team: Dolphins

3.) Jeremy Shockey  Former Team: Panthers  Grade: C

Shockey’s pretty done at this point. He was an average backup tight end for the Panthers and can probably do that for 2-3 more years for some other team. There are teams that could use a backup tight end. Many are looking to follow the Gronkowski-Hernandez model, so Shockey can find his niche for the next couple of years as a more experienced tight end.

Potential Teams: Panthers, Chargers, Dolphins

Projected Team: Panthers

Others of note: Billy Bajema, Bo Scaife, and Anthony Becht

OT

1.) Marcus McNeill  Former Team: Chargers  Grade: B

McNeill used to be one of the best offensive tackles in the league, or at least one of the most promising. Injuries have derailed his career causing him to miss twelve games in the last two seasons. A team that can get him for a low price should jump on it. He could be an amazing right tackle and could even be a fit at left tackle for a team that needs it. He had a serious neck injury in 2011 which is the main reason a team has not picked him up yet, but in the next few weeks a team with a need at tackle should at the very least take a chance on him. He’ll come cheap for now.

Potential Teams:  Giants, Bears, Colts

Projected Team: Bears

2.) Kareem McKenzie  Former team: Giants  Grade: C-

McKenzie is old. He has been a pretty good right tackle for his career, but he had a horrendous season last year. NFL teams will probably look at his last season and his age (33) and probably decide that he’s done, and I would tend to agree. McKenzie probably could find a role as a backup, but that’s about it. He may well retire if he doesn’t find a team.

Potential Teams: Re-sign with Giants, Bears

Projected Team: The Retirement Home Get Off My Lawns

3.) Max Starks  Former Team: Steelers  Grade: C-

Starks was actually OK last year, right up the point where he suffered a torn ACL. That could be tough at the position he plays, which is why he hasn’t been signed yet (that and he’s old and will take longer to rehab). He has been decent as the Steelers’ tackle for the last few years, but the Steelers offensive line has been regarded as one of the worst in the league and he was a contributing reason for that (though the rest of the line didn’t help). Starks could find a home as a backup on a 1-year deal while he rehabs his knee.

Potential Teams: Bears, Giants, Colts, Steelers

Projected Team: Steelers

Others of note: Barry Richardson, Pat McQuistan, Tony Pashos

OG/C

I have combined these two due to the lack of good FAs at the positions.

1.) C Jason Brown  Former Team: Rams  Grade: B-

Brown used to be considered one of the top centers in the league. Unfortunately, he was benched last season. On the Rams line. While that’s obviously not a good sign, Brown has shown in the past that he can play at a very high level, and he is still in his 20s albeit the late side. He can still revive his career with the right team, and after the draft there are a couple of teams that still have a hole at center that could use someone like Brown with a lot of upside on a non-guaranteed contract.

Potential Teams: Bears, Cowboys, Broncos

Projected Team: Cowboys

2.) G Vernon Carey  Former Team: Dolphins  Grade: C

Carey played tackle for a lot of his career. When converted to guard last year Carey showed some late potential at the position and will probably look to stay there. The Dolphins could possibly take him back, but there are a couple of teams that may look at his services for a couple of years late in his career.

Potential Teams: Dolphins, Chargers, Chiefs

Projected Team: Chargers

3.) G Bobbie Williams  Former Team: Bengals Grade: C-

Williams is here because the rest are pretty much like him except slightly worse. He’s a question in pass protection now, was rehabbing a broken ankle, and is 36. All of this added together and Williams isn’t looking so hot. He can still run block well enough that a team could take a flier on him as a possible starter. Whichever team does better make sure it has a backup in the wings, because Williams is somewhat of a risky pickup.

Potential Teams: Chargers, Chiefs, Cardinals

Projected Team: Cardinals

Other of note: Casey Wiegmann, Jake Scott, Eric Steinbach

Join us next time when we review the remaining free agents on defense and special teams!

Comments

  1. DJC says:

    I hadn’t considered the Rams as a possible landing place for Braylon, but Schotty might pull for him. Though Braylon had some issues with the play calling (notably in the ’09 playoffs) he might not have many offers to choose from.

    • Marty Graw says:

      Thanks for the comment! Ya, at this point, a team that’s weak at receiver is the most likely destination (or the Jets again), which is why I think it will be the Rams.

  2. Steves850 says:

    Very well done, I kinda hope LT retires and have mixed feelings about Edwards coming back to the Jets. It would be nice if he can find that old spark but we seem to have a fair amount of talent at WR now and can use that money elsewhere…

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