The mad rush is over and there have been many big free agent signings. Among those signings, there have been many players signed to one-year contracts.
These five players need to prove themselves in order to get that big pay day or, in some cases, risk having their careers fade away.
Can Ginn prove he is more than just a return man?
Tedd Ginn is one of the top returners in the NFL, but can he prove that he is more than just a special teams star? Perhaps his last chance to prove that has already passed. The Niners signed to other receivers in addition to re-signing Ginn. He will have to compete for receptions with Mario Manningham and fellow "last-chance" receiver Randy Moss. Michael Crabtree still remains as well.
Ginn will also have to prove he is over his knee injury that he suffered in the playoffs. All is not lost if Ginn does not have a big year as a receiver. If he once again proves he is one of the best returners in football, his suitors will remain after next season, and he may still be in line for a significant contract.
Will Castillo recover from injuries and return to form?
Luis Castillo is only 29 years old, but already his career is at a crossroads. Castillo has had a career marred with injuries, and last season was no different when he broke his tibia. There is no telling how well he will recover from such a nasty injury.
If Castillo can return to form and man the defensive tackle position adequately, it would be a big boost for the San Diego Chargers and for Castillo's career. If his injuries are too much to overcome, the former Pro Bowl alternate's days as a starter may be over.
Peyto Hllis will get chace to compliment Jamaal Charles.
Peyton Hillis will put off plans to join the CIA and give the Kansas City Chiefs a chance, or maybe it is the other way around. Hillis had a marvelous 2010 season but followed it up with a horrible 2011 season. What will the 2012 season bring for the now former Cleveland Brown?
Hillis will get a chance to complement running back Jamaal Charles, who is coming back from injuries sustained in 2011. If the Madden cover boy can bounce back in 2012, he could receive a long-term contract offer. But if the Hillis of 2011 shows up again, he may need to seek employment elsewhere.
The hard hitting safety will try to cash in after a big year in a Rex Ryan defense.
LaRon Landry is not on this list for lack of production or injuries. The market was not as kind to Landry as he would have liked, and this may be his last chance to earn the contract he thinks he deserves.
Landry certainly picked a great place to prove himself. He will get to play under Rex Ryan where he will likely be put in the best position to succeed. The strong safety will join a defensive backfield that features corner backs Darrell Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson. The Jets could benefit from the veteran safety, and Landry could benefit from a big pay day.
Randy Moss will get a chance to show that he's still got it.
When properly motivated, Randy Moss is arguably the best receiver in the NFL. If Jim Harbaugh cannot motivate Moss, then who can? After spending 2010 with three teams and taking the 2010 season off, Moss is the poster boy for last-chance contracts.
Moss is a borderline Hall of Fame player. If he can bounce back this season, Alex Smith and the Niners could take the next step and play in the Super Bowl. Should that happen, Moss could get the chance to play for a few more seasons and start preparing a speech for Canton.