NFL Free Agents 2012: Braylon Edwards and 3 Risky Players No Team Will Touch

Sean Delorge@@sdelorgeCorrespondent IIIApril 14, 2012

Braylon Edwads is one of four players trying to find their next team.
Braylon Edwads is one of four players trying to find their next team.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The top free agents have been signed, but there are four good—but risky—players that are still available.

Despite their talents, each leave question, causing teams to stay away.

Hopefully before or after the draft, these four players can find a team willing to take the risk and sign them—or else they might be unemployed.

Braylon Edwards

Edwards failed to be the missing link for Alex Smith and the 49ers offense.

Edwards played in only nine games last season and caught just 15 passes for 181 yards. Those are the type of numbers the 49ers hoped Edwards achieved in a single game—not an entire season.

Edwards was drafted 3rd overall in the 2005 NFL draft but has failed to live up to the expectations. He had a few good years with the Cleveland Browns and fit in well when he was traded to the New York Jets.

He has the talent and is still young, but because he has inconsistent hands, teams are shying away from what could be a bargain signing.

The Jets look like they are moving on from Plaxico Burress and may be the best landing spot for Edwards. He could hope to rekindle the connection he had with Mark Sanchez and turn around what has been a disappointing career.

Cedric Benson

Benson had four good seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, after being drafted 4th overall in the 2005 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears and never living up to expectations.  

Rather than re-signing Benson, the Bengals decided to sign Patriots' free-agent running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis. Despite a questionable move by the Bengals, Benson has struggled to find a new home as a free agent.

With three-straight 1,000-yard seasons, Benson showed he can be a starting running back in the NFL.

However, he is 29 years old, and in running-back years, he's ancient. There are question marks surrounding Benson, and that's the reason he's struggled to find a new team.

After only seven fumbles in his first four seasons, Benson had 12 in the last two seasons. And there's been multiple off-field issues, which has contributed to the lack of interest in the free agent.

Hopefully after teams fill their needs in the draft, Benson can land on a team as a solid complement to a running game.

Plaxico Burress

In his first year back in the NFL after serving a two-year sentence for criminal possession of a weapon, Burress was able to put together a solid year with the New York Jets.

The Jets brought Burress in hoping he would be an upgrade over Braylon Edwards, particularly in the red zone.

While he had a good year, catching 45 passes for 612 yards, Burress was allowed to walk at the end of the season.

Burress will be 35 when the 2012 NFL season begins, and teams have decided to bypass offering the diva receiver one-year deal. Despite the obvious talent and ability to be a good second option for most teams, Burress has failed to land his next contract.

While he tried to lobby for a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles and join childhood friend Michael Vick, Burress is still a free agent.

The shaky past and the less-than-spectacular season with the Jets have made it difficult for Burress to find his next team.

Marcus McNeill

McNeill has struggled to stay on the field the last two seasons.

He transformed himself into a Pro-Bowl left tackle for the San Diego Chargers and signed a five-year $48.5 million contract extension prior to the 2010 season.

But since signing the extension, McNeill has battled neck injuries and missed time during both the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

McNeill, like the other players on this list, has the talent. He has protected Philip Rivers blind side, while also being a formidable blocker for LaDainian Tomlinson and other Charger running backs.

After failing to return to form last year, Chargers GM A.J. Smith cut McNeill with three years left in McNeill’s five-year contract.

McNeill is only 28 and plays at a premium position in what has become a more pass-oriented league.

Despite the health questions, McNeill can come in and start or be insurance for teams with an unproven left tackle. Due to the type of injury, McNeill has really struggled to find a new team.