NFL Free Agents: Deion Branch and Most Talented Unemployed WRs

David DanielsSenior Writer ISeptember 2, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 31:  Deion Branch #84 of the New England Patriots answers questions from the media during Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 31, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Forget Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson.

Those two aren’t the only capable NFL receivers who are still free agents (at this point in their careers, “capable” is a generous word for T.O. and Ocho, by the way). If put in the right situation, here are three talented wideouts who possess the ability to make an instant impact.


3. Jordan Shipley

Shipley finished an impressive rookie campaign with 52 receptions for 600 yards and three touchdowns. It looked as if the Cincinnati Bengals had found their slot receiver of the future. But last year, the Texas Longhorn legend tore his ACL in Week 2, ending his season.

Cincinnati released him this offseason, and after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him, they cut him too. At just 26 years old, there’s no reason Shipley couldn’t find a role as a package receiver in the NFL.


2. Deion Branch

The New England Patriots make future-influenced roster moves more than any other team, and apparently, the money they’d save from releasing Branch wasn’t worth what they thought his 2012 production would be.

That definitely doesn’t mean he’s done, though.

While Branch is 33 years old, he just caught 55 receptions for 702 yards and five touchdowns last season. He isn’t a starting-caliber wideout anymore, but he’d be phenomenal depth.


1. Plaxico Burress

Burress reeled in eight touchdowns last season, catching passes from Mark Sanchez. I repeat: Mark Sanchez. 

How he isn’t signed yet is beyond me.

In total, he recorded 45 receptions for 612 yards. At 6’5”, 232 pounds, Burress is still one of the most physically imposing red-zone threats in the league. Like Branch and Shipley, he isn’t worthy of being a starter, but in the right role—on a team that’ll utilize his size—he’s still capable of posting nice numbers, even at 35 years old.


David Daniels is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.