Wide receiver Danny Amendola heads the list of underrated free agents
Last season, the Indianapolis Colts released franchise quarterback Peyton Manning, who stole the buzz from all other free agents.
While this year's class of free agents offers no legend of that caliber, there are many great players on the market, such as Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace and Wes Welker—to name a few.
But it may end up being those free agents that have flown under the radar who will make the most difference next season.
Danny Amendola, WR
One such player is former St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola. He's not quite the name-brand player that fans get hyped up about, but he can improve any offense dramatically. When he is healthy, he is a dynamic slot receiver with the potential to put up Welker-like numbers.
In seven of his 11 games last season, Amendola caught five or more passes, including two games in which he caught 16 and 11. With a guy who can rack up receptions in that kind of volume, an offense will benefit greatly, similar to how the New England Patriots have benefited over the years from Welker.
Brandon Myers, TE
Which free agent will have the biggest impact on his team next season?
With tight end being emphasized more in many offensive schemes, many teams will be looking to bolster that position with someone who can put help in the receiving game. An unknown but solid tight end who fits the bill is Brandon Myers, formerly of the Oakland Raiders.
For the Raiders last season, the 6'3" Myers caught 75 passes for 753 yards. He was Carson Palmer's favorite target over the course of the season, and any team that lacks a Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham would benefit from signing Myers.
Oftentimes an injury-plagued season will sweep a player under the rug, and that is exactly what has happened with running back Rashard Mendenhall. After tearing his ACL in the Pittsburgh Steelers' second-to-last regular season game of the 2011 season, Mendenhall had trouble staying on the field in 2012.
It should be expected that a player recovering from such a major injury will take some time to get back to his old self. After all, Adrian Peterson is otherworldly, and no one can be expected to replicate his remarkable comeback last season. Mendenhall will be just 27 years old when next season opens, and from 2009-2011 he posted two seasons topping 1,000 rushing yards, and scored at eight touchdowns in each of those years.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB
It seemed like the Philadelphia Eagles got a steal last season when they received Rodgers-Cromartie as a part of the trade which sent Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately for the Eagles, he under-performed in his two seasons in Philadelphia. At 6'2", Rodgers-Cromartie has the size and athleticism to be a force in the secondary.
After the declension of fellow cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, it seems possible that the defensive coaching might have been part of the problem. With a change of scenery, Rodgers-Cromartie could be a difference maker for a team looking to improve its secondary.