2013 NFL Free Agents: Aging Stars Who Would Succeed with New Teams

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 03:  Ed Reed #20 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with the VInce Lombardi trophy after the Ravens won 34-31 against the San Francisco 49ers during Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The NFL is a game built for young men. Due to the physical toll the game takes on the body, the shelf life for most positions does not make things conducive to long-term success. 

When looking at this year's crop of free agents, there are some aging stars who are, in all likelihood, going to end up in new places. Teams know that they don't need to build through free agency, rather, they will be able to make minor changes that can put them over the top. 

But will the change of scenery do the players any good? Here are the aging free agents who still have the tools to succeed in a new home. 


Ed Reed, Safety (Baltimore Ravens)

It seems unlikely that Reed will return to the Ravens next season, though you can never truly say never in the NFL. He is 34 years old, and despite being able to play all 16 games in each of the last two seasons, he has never been the picture of health. 

His skill set has deteriorated compared to when he was in his prime, though he does still do some things well. The greatest asset Reed has is his vision and ability to read the opposing quarterback. As long as a team doesn't sign him expecting to get the difference-making star he was in his prime, it will get a productive player. 

Reed doesn't have greatness left in him, but if he goes to a team with a good defense and isn't asked to do too much, he can still be one of the better safeties in the NFL. 


Brandon Moore, Guard (New York Jets)

Even though the Jets' offensive line was a weakness in 2012, Moore was one of the few bright spots. At 33, however, the team could decide that now is the time to move in a different direction. 

If that ends up happening, there will be plenty of teams desperate for help on the offensive line that should come knocking. He does not immediately stand out when watching a game in full motion, but in taking a step back it is easy to see all the ways he can impact the line. 

Moore has the light feet, speed and power to be a very good blocker out in open space. He has never really had a bad season, even as the Jets seemed to be coming apart at the seams this year. 

It is hard to find guards, either in the draft or free agency, who can step in and change the face of an offensive line. Moore is certainly one of the few exceptions to that rule. 


Dwight Freeney, Defensive End (Indianapolis Colts)

Freeney has been a staple of the Colts defense for more than a decade. He used to be the most-feared pass-rusher in the NFL. However, his numbers have been dropping for years and he is not a good fit in the 3-4 defensive scheme the team runs now. 

Last year was particularly rough for Freeney, as he had a new career-low with just 12 total tackles. His five sacks were the fewest he has had in a season in which he played at least 14 games. 

Yet there are a few reasons teams should be optimistic about Freeney. As long as he goes to a team that plays a 4-3 scheme, which caters to his strengths as a speed-rusher, he can be successful. 

Just one year ago, when nothing went right for the Colts, Freeney still managed to rack up 8.5 sacks. He doesn't have that game-changing speed anymore, but teams are always on the market for players who can get to the quarterback. 

On just a one-year deal, Freeney could be an asset for a team that needs depth on the defensive line in 2013.