5 NFL Veterans Who Will Find New Life in 2012
Several well-known NFL veterans will see their careers rejuvenated in 2012. Most of these players are on new teams, while one is on the same team he played for his entire career.
This a list of a few players that can make an impact for their respective teams this season and help them improve.
These guys have been around a long time, but still have some gas left in the tank. Every team needs some crafty veteran leadership.
Here are the five likeliest veterans to make an impact for their teams.
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Jeff Saturday was the man snapping the ball to Peyton Manning in Indianapolis for over a decade. He was considered one of the best in the game during that period.
The Colts have moved on from most of their players from that era. Saturday was a necessary victim of roster turnover.
He should play an intricate role on the Packers offensive line over the next two seasons.
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Since the end of Brian Dawkins' tenure in Philadelphia, the Eagles have lacked a true leader to be the voice of the defense.
Ryans is the voice that the Eagles have desperately needed. He is the perfect fit for the Eagles' scheme on defense. If he is healthy, Ryans will revive his career and make the Eagles' weakness a strength.
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Following multiple neck surgeries and the selection of Andrew Luck first-overall, the Indianapolis Colts decided to part ways with Peyton Manning.
After being wooed by several teams in the offseason, Manning decided to take his talents to Denver and join the Broncos.
Marc Sessler of NFL.com reports that Manning is coming along in his rehab quite well. He spoke with Mike Klis of The Denver Post who praised Manning after watching him practice.
Klis stated (via Sessler), "He really came a long way in that four weeks," Klis said, adding that Manning "threw crossing patterns with zip -- and on the money."
If Manning is healthy, he will certainly help the Broncos have a more "traditional" style offense. It could help them win more games in 2012.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
After a bizarre season in 2010—a season in which he played for three different teams—Randy Moss sat out of professional football during 2011.
Moss isn't the player he once was, but he could be a valuable asset for the 49ers. Defenses will have to account for his presence over the top.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh will be able to keep Moss motivated on a championship-contending football team. Moss will improve the 49ers offense.
Dwight Freeney is one of the last remaining veterans on the Indianapolis Colts roster. Make no mistake, this guy can still really play.
The Colts changed defenses during the offseason, moving from a traditional 4-3 to a 3-4 hybrid. This will make Freeney play linebacker and drop back into coverage.
Freeney has done more than accept this change; he has embraced the challenge.
Bob Kravitz of The Indianapolis Star had an interesting perspective on Freeney's transition.
This is a one-year experiment, a one-year rental for the most part. At Freeney's contract number, there's little chance he'll return next year unless he somehow turns into a premier linebacker such as James Harrison or Lawrence Taylor. A young, growing team is not going to continue to pay an aging player making $18 million even more to play an unnatural position.
Whether Freeney remains a Colt beyond this season is up in the air, but he still has an excellent opportunity to reinvent himself and prove he still has some football left in him.
Follow me on Twitter @JosephBisaccia