10 NFL Free Agents Teams Should Scoop Up After Final Cuts
With every NFL team now down to the mandated 53-man roster, the free-agency pool just got a whole lot bigger. And while there aren't a ton of big names hitting the unemployment line, there's certainly some trash-heap talent to be had.
Just because a guy doesn't fit with a certain team, a certain city or a certain scheme, does not necessarily mean he's no longer NFL material. There are a ton of variables that can go into a guy getting the axe, and those variables might not mean a thing to the other 31 potential employers.
Here are 10 guys who should be able to leave their past failure behind and stick somewhere else.
The fact that Dwan Edwards hitting the free-agent market at all is based on an inflated salary more than his production.
It boiled down to the Buffalo Bills being unwilling to pay him over $4 million. But that doesn't mean there isn't a team out there that could use him at about a 50 percent discount.
Edwards will likely stick with a 3-4 team looking for a 5-technique defensive end. More and more teams are running the 3-4, and finding a 3-4 defensive end with the right skill set is difficult these days.
Bad timing is the main culprit in Mike Kafka hitting the streets.
He played poorly in his only preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, then broke his hand and was unable to show what he could do for the next three weeks.
With Michael Vick and rookie Nick Foles as the top two quarterbacks, and Edwards playing out of his mind, the injured Kafka could do nothing but watch his roster spot slip out of his hands.
Kafka will be recovered from his injury any day now and should stick somewhere as a team's No. 3 quarterback.
Gary Guyton is a tough guy to peg.
He looked like a guy with some talent while playing for the New England Patriots, but Bill Belichick has made so many mediocre guys look like superstars that it's hard to trust any of them will keep up their production elsewhere.
Being cut by the Miami Dolphins, who are thin at linebacker to begin with, doesn't bode well for Guyton; but, the fact that he could probably play in any scheme, contribute on special teams, and is only 26 will help him in his search for a new team.
This came as a bit of a surprise to me, but Joselio Hanson once again finds himself on the trash heap after being released by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Hanson has been one of the best nickel cornerbacks in the league for several years, but ultimately lost his spot to the promising rookie Brandon Boykin. In the end, Boykin is simply more versatile and cheaper than Hanson.
Also, he's much younger.
That being said, I don't believe Hanson has lost a step and should get picked up quickly, as the need for good corners is being felt nearly everywhere around the league.
A young guy with a lot of promise in Ryan Mallett, and a cap figure of nearly $2 million spelled the end for Brian Hoyer in New England.
Hoyer doesn't have a lot of real-time experience, but he's been around for a few years and has been learning under Tom Brady—a prospect that by itself will have teams giving Hoyer a call.
They say the backup quarterback is the second-most important position on the team, so Hoyer could wind up having options.
Possible Destinations: Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams
Just a few short years ago, Roscoe Parrish was one of the most feared return men in the game.
While that fear has left the hearts of those who face him, Parrish is still a serviceable option in the return game and comes with the added benefit of being able to play wide receiver in a pinch.
Parrish might have to wait for an injury—or a couple weeks until a team realizes they made a mistake with their choice of returners—before he's back to work, but I do think it's a matter of when rather than if.
Possible Destinations: Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys
Antonio Dixon is a starting-caliber defensive tackle if he's in the right system. Unfortunately, Jim Washburn's Wide 9 is not that system.
At 330 pounds, Dixon is a two-gap player who is good at taking up space, holding his ground, and making a play in the run game. For Washburn, defensive tackles are asked to do the exact opposite of that.
Dixon is just too big to shoot the gap and get up the field after the quarterback.
For any team running the two-gap scheme, Dixon will be a very attractive option. Also, should a 3-4 team lose their nose tackle to injury, Dixon could be an intriguing prospect there as well.
If cornerback wasn't such a position of need around the league, I might say Drayton Florence would have a tough time finding work. But as the passing game has become the focal point of NFL offenses, having a strong secondary gets more important by the year.
Florence is a veteran who has just cracked the over-30 mark, but should still find a home. And quite frankly, I'd be surprised if it wasn't in just a few days.
He's a nickel or backup corner at this point in his career, but could still be very valuable to someone.
Possible Destinations: Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots
When your forte is running the deep routes, a serious leg injury—like the compound fracture Deon Butler suffered—is likely to put a damper on things.
Butler was a third-round pick in 2009, but suffered his injury in 2010 and has had a difficult time rebounding, as the past two seasons have pretty much been a wash for Butler.
However, Butler was starting to look like himself again recently. If his speed is truly back, Butler's young age and untapped potential could cause teams to take a serious look at him.
Possible Destinations: New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills
Chris Carr has shown flashes of brilliance followed by periods of incompetence; enough that it's fair to ask if he'll ever play with any type of consistency.
While we might not know the answer—ever—the fact is, cornerbacks are in high-demand and Carr has a history of high-level play. There are enough teams in need of good play in their secondary that they'll be sure to overlook his inconsistencies and give him a shot.
Carr's versatility to play the nickel and outside will also give him a better shot of landing somewhere.
Possible Destinations: Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions