2012 NFL Free Agents: Impact Players Still Left to Grab

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2012

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 08:  Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws the ball prior to the start of the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 8, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

With the 2012 NFL draft just a few weeks from kicking off, there are still legitimate free agents that could be difference-makers with the right team.

Players like Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace and former Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson are still uncertain about their futures.

All of the following players are still available for the right price, but the question may be shifting from who will want them to whether anyone will want them.


Mike Wallace

With the Steelers having the ability to sign restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace to an extension, the fact that he hasn’t means the team and player are far apart on the financial terms.

This is exactly where a motivated team like the Denver Broncos could swoop in and steal Wallace right out from underneath their AFC foe Steelers’ noses.

Since becoming a starter in his second season, the fourth-year player has over 130 receptions, 2,400 yards and 18 touchdowns. That’s something Peyton Manning would love to have as a target.


Cedric Benson

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  (L-R) Running back Cedric Benson #32 and quarterback Andy Dalton #14 celebrate after Benson scores on a one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter while taking on the Houston Texans in their 2012 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at R
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have made it perfectly clear that they do not want Cedric Benson back in the backfield mix this season.

Despite three straight 1,000-yard seasons, Benson will be trying to find a place to hang his hat in 2012. With all of his talent and experience, that won’t be as difficult as many people believe.

Critics can look at the 3.9 yards per carry and complain all they want, but Benson can be the kind of bruising short-yardage back that complements a speedster perfectly. This is someone the New York Giants should look at to replace Brandon Jacobs.


Braylon Edwards

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 1:  Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards #81 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sidelines against the San Diego Chargers during their preseason NFL Game on September 1, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San DIego, California. (Photo
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Braylon Edwards had one of the worst seasons in his career last year thanks to poor effort and injury issues. However, with the price tag as low as it is, a team would be foolish to pass on the former Pro Bowl receiver.

Edwards didn’t fit in the San Francisco 49ers offensive scheme at all and went from a fairly effective member of the New York Jets in 2010 to nothing in 2011.

If the former Cleveland Browns star can find a role on a team with a solid pass game, there is nothing to say he will not return to prominence.


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