The Best Bargains Available in NFL Free Agency
Greg Jennings, Anthony Spencer and Ryan Clady are just a few players who are likely to receive huge paydays during NFL's free-agency period, but there are plenty of bargains out there.
Some teams won't be afraid to spend big, but others will be searching for inexpensive options to fill needs heading into the 2013 season.
Let's dive into the best bargains at each position.
Quarterback: Matt Moore
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Matt Moore isn't a franchise quarterback.
He has proven that over his rather unspectacular six-year career.
However, he is an ideal stop-gap option for a team that's not enamored with the crop of signal-callers in the 2013 draft class, and he certainly is a fine backup option.
This Oregon State product performed admirably in 2011, completing nearly 61 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 13 games.
The definition of a good bargain.
Running Back: Chris Ivory
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Chris Ivory should be garnering more attention on the free-agent market.
Sure, he's dealt with some nagging injuries, but what running back hasn't?
At 6'0'' and 222 pounds, this Tiffin product runs extremely hard and has deceptive speed and elusiveness in the open field.
What's even more, Ivory is soon to be 25 years old and has only 256 career carries.
Wide Receiver: Donnie Avery
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Guys like Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings and Victor Cruz could see major paydays on the free-agent market this March.
But for teams looking for an experienced slot option at a low price, Donnie Avery's the guy.
He will be 29 when the 2013 season begins, but when healthy, the Houston alum has been a pesky chain-mover.
In 2012, he caught 60 passes for 781 yards.
Tight End: Brandon Myers
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Brandon Myers experienced a breakout year in 2012, catching 79 passes for 806 yards with the Oakland Raiders after he totaled 32 receptions in his first three seasons with the team.
Many of his grabs came with the Raiders trailing, but the 6'3'' pass-catcher will only be 28 when the 2013 season kicks off and could certainly catch on and produce as a possession tight end for many NFL teams.
No. 2: Jared Cook
Cook has yet to live up to his potential as a game-breaking tight end with a special blend of size and speed. However, after underwhelming in Tennessee, another team may be able to acquire his services relatively inexpensively.
Offensive Line: Gosder Cherlius
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Gosder Cherilus may not be a super-cheap option in free agency, but he's a rather underappreciated stalwart at the always critical offensive tackle position.
ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required) graded him as the eighth-best overall offensive tackle and the fifth-best pass-blocking offensive tackle in 2012.
He will be 29 at the start of the 2013 season and has started 70 of 75 possible games in his career.
He is a premier right tackle.
Defensive Line: Michael Bennett
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Michael Bennett isn't a sexy defensive name, but he's one of the most complete 4-3 defensive ends in football.
The 6'4'', 275-pound 27-year-old was graded by ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required), as the sixth-best 4-3 defensive end, rating in the top 10 as a pass-rusher and against the run.
He had nine sacks in 2012, but only six quarterback takedowns in his first three seasons.
It will be interesting to see how much Bennett requests on the free-agent market, but he should be rather cheap.
Linebacker: Philip Wheeler
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Philip Wheeler is one of the most effective 4-3 outside linebackers in the game, but because he has played with the hapless Oakland Raiders, he hasn't received a ton of publicity.
In today's pass-happy NFL, coverage linebackers are crucial, and this 28-year-old excels in coverage and blitzing the quarterback.
He had six passes defended and three sacks during the 2012 campaign—only Von Miller was rated by ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required) as a more effective pass-rushing 4-3 outside linebacker.
Defensive Back: Keenan Lewis
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Keenan Lewis isn't a household name at the cornerback position, but with good size at 6'0'' and 208 pounds, this soon-to-be 27-year-old is solid in coverage and against the run.
He has played in all 32 games over the last two seasons and recorded a career-high 71 tackles in 2012.
ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required) rated Lewis as the 15th-best defensive back in run support, and he defended 23 passes this season.