Free agency is the best time of the year for NFL players and teams. It is the simplest way to make a dramatic improvement at a position of need for the team, while the player gets the opportunity to set his family up for life with a huge contract.
As exciting as this time can be for everyone involved, it is also a risky proposition for teams wanting to invest a lot of years and dollars in a player who might not age gracefully and hold their current value for the duration of a contract.
What every front office and general manager wants to do is figure out the best way to spend money. Is it by investing in one of the few elite free agents on the market, or by giving fewer years and dollars to a player not as talented but still able to make an impact?
Here are the players who will turn out to be bargains when they sign new contracts this offseason.
RB Danny Woodhead
There are some who might call Woodhead a "system" running back, the product of a fast-paced, high-powered New England offense. To those people I would say, name one player who isn't a product of a system?
Woodhead brings versatility, speed and elusiveness to the table. In an NFL that is devaluing the running game, he can do so many things that make him a valuable asset for all 32 teams to consider.
Trying to label Woodhead as a running back does a disservice to him. He is a football player, able to line up in the backfield, on the outside or on special teams and make plays wherever he is.
Teams know that being able to play multiple positions makes it easier to fill out a roster. Woodhead is one of the best do-it-all players in the NFL. He will be a huge asset wherever he goes, especially considering the weak crop of running backs available this offseason.
WR Danny Amendola
Amendola turned into Wes Welker-lite this season after spending the first three seasons of his career as nothing more than a slot receiver. Obviously, Amendola can't match Welker's speed off the line, but he is just as versatile and has better hands.
Which player would you like on a one-year deal?
Whatever team pursues Amendola does have to understand that they are getting a player with a troublesome injury history. He played just one game in 2011 before missing the rest of the season due to a dislocated elbow.
Last year, even as he was in the midst of a breakout campaign, Amendola played in just 11 games due to a collarbone injury that was life-threatening because of the way it dislocated.
As long as Amendola can stay healthy, he will be a productive bargain for whatever team he goes to. He can make plays down the field when asked, but his specialty is going over the middle and making short-yardage catches then creating plays with the ball in his hands.
TE Fred Davis
While this was a great season for the Washington Redskins, Davis never got to be a part of the turnaround late in the year after rupturing his Achilles tendon in Week 7 against New York.
Even when he was on the field, Davis' role in the offense had diminished with the emergence of other weapons on the outside.
However, at just 27 years old, Davis still has plenty to offer as long as he can prove to teams that he is healthy and isn't going to lose a step or two because of the injury.
It also helps his cause that he might be willing to sign a cheap one-year deal to establish his value and hit the market again next year. Tight ends have helped the evolution of the passing game, so someone is going to bite on a player who is just one year removed from having 796 receiving yards.