But Brees was once a risky signing in 2006 after no other team wanted him.
This year, players like London Fletcher are not garnering the attention of the likes of Brees, Finnegan and Flynn, but they have the potential to be bargain acquisitions for teams that take a chance on them.
Even at 36 years of age, Fletcher still competes. After consistently being a solid contributor to the St. Louis, Buffalo and Washington defenses, he still has a few good years left in him.
He was named to the Pro Bowl roster this past season, but is also a fantastic leader to have in the locker room. He just won the 2012 Bart Starr Award, given annually to an NFL player who shows outstanding character not only on the field, but in the community as well.
Fletcher was the best player on the Redskins defense last year, and they should do all they can to lock him up for two or three more years.
If they are unable to re-sign him, plenty of teams are looking for help at linebacker, and adding Fletcher would instantly improve almost any defense and every locker room.
Douglas proved this season that he has the potential to be an explosive receiver who will force defenses to keep an eye one him.
During the Falcons' Week 10 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints, Douglas caught eight balls for 133 yards. He has good size and speed, which allows him to make plays.
Douglas is a strong second or third option for quarterbacks and can free up coverage for No. 1 receivers.
While playing behind Ryan Mathews in San Diego, Tolbert is a back who carries the ball well and is strong in the screen game.
Tolbert has scored 21 total touchdowns between the last two seasons. He has good moves and uses his speed to carry the ball, but also can catch the ball out of the backfield. He had 433 receiving yards last season to go with 490 rushing yards.
His dual-threat ability can be a huge asset to an offense, and he can play a significant amount of snaps.
Tampa Bay’s backup quarterback only started one game this season. In his one start, he showed a lot of potential, throwing for 229 yards and a touchdown while running for 45 yards.
After sitting on the bench for four years, Johnson could be ready to start for a team looking for a quarterback.
Green Bay’s Matt Flynn will certainly catch most of the attention this offseason for free agent quarterbacks.
But teams like the Seattle Seahawks might take a chance on him, or the New York Jets could bring him in to compete with Mark Sanchez.
Thomas missed last season after tearing his ACL in the New York Giants preseason game against the Chicago Bears.
In the three seasons prior to last summer’s injury, Thomas played in 44 games with 11 interceptions, two sacks and contributed on 231 tackles. He is a physical player who can read quarterbacks.
Signing Thomas would be a risky, but if he can show that his knee is better and he can still contribute on defense, he could be a small-risk, high-reward signing.
Just three seasons ago, Slaton rushed for more than 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie.
Slaton only appeared in six games last season, three each with the Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins. Needless to say, he did not have much of an impact on either team and only got the ball 24 times the entire season.
Because he is still young and has shown potential in the past, there is a team out there that will give Slaton a shot to make the team out of camp.
Another question mark due to injury, Carter was having a strong year for the New England Patriots before tearing his quadriceps in mid-December.
Carter proved to still be a big-time player this season and was selected to the Pro Bowl. He had four sacks against the New York Jets on Nov. 13, which tied the franchise record in a game.
The injury requires surgery, but if Carter can recover and return to the way he was playing before it tore, he could help defenses get to the quarterback.