Free agency in 2016 is largely done and it’s unlikely any team will land a real difference maker at this stage of the game. That said, there is still depth to be had out there. Below are the ten best players available that could help a lot of teams and easily make most 53 man rosters.
1. Reggie Nelson, FS
The only explanation for him still being jobless is his age. At 32, he’s coming off a career year with 8 interceptions and his first trip to the Pro Bowl with the Bengals. Any team looking for back end playmaking ability would get a big boost from Nelson. He’s likely trying to cash in which cooled off the market for him, but with Eric Weddle no longer available it should help him land a job.
2. Stefen Wisniewski, C
The center market is really soft right now and Wisniewski had the misfortune of being in that black hole that is Jacksonville. The two combined have led to little interest. That said, he’s as solid of an NFL center as there is. He could get picked up and unquestionably start immediately for about half the NFL teams. He’s only 27, too.
3. Greg Hardy, DE
The Cowboys have already made it pretty clear they don’t want him back and any team signing him would have to deal with the baggage that comes with him. Hardy showed last year he’s still a good pass rusher with 6 sacks in 12 games. He’s only 28 years old and the mileage on his body is relatively low with all the suspensions. He may have to wait until after the draft when a team gets desperate for pass rushing help, but despite enormous character concerns you’d think the talent is too good to stay unemployed.
4. Aldon Smith, LB
People are still holding on to the 19.5 sacks he had in 2012. Last year, he had 3.5 sacks in 9 games. Even if he can stay out of trouble, it’s safe to assume he’s not the same player he used to be. That said, he’s still a good pass rusher. He’s suspended for half the season but that means whoever signs him will get him for very cheap.
5. Terrance Knighton, DT
Knighton opted for a 1 year deal in Washington coming off a monster season with the Broncos. Now he’s back on the market and he remains a force on the interior. If you need a run stopper on 1st and 2nd down, this is your guy. Rumors are he’s in advanced stages to possibly sign a deal with the Packers.
6. Anquan Boldin, WR
Don’t let his age of 35 fool you, he’s still a productive player. He had 69 catches for 789 yards last year despite playing on a team with a miserable passing situation. He’s also a tough player that coaches love and he blocks extremely well.
7. Ryan Fitzpartick, QB
He’s still on the market due to his high price expectations. Fitzpatrick probably isn’t leading a team to the playoffs, but his a decent option as a starting quarterback if you’re desperate. He’s a guy you’d want on your team if you’re bringing a young guy along.
8. Percy Harvin, WR
He’s never lived up to his hype or contracts but he’s still a good player. He’d need to find a spot in the right system with a good quarterback but his top flight speed can still hurt teams. The big question is: can he stay healthy?
9. Ronnie Hillman, RB
Quietly rushed for 863 yards last year and 4.2 per carry. He’s only 24. A very underrated player that may not carry a team’s rushing attack but would be a nice contributing piece almost anywhere.
10. Walter Thurmond, SS
Can likely play strong safety or slot corner. He’s only 28 and he’s coming off the best year of his career in Philadelphia.