NFL Free Agents 2013: Best Bets Still Left on the Market

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 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

Many of the top players available came off the board during the first week of free agency. While the early signing frenzy caused the market's depth to fade away, there are still some solid players waiting for the right offer to come along.

If there's any good news for teams that missed the first wave of signings, it's that the players still on the market should come with more reasonable price tags. Bidding wars for the top targets usually leads to front office having to overpay to secure them.

With the in mind, let's examine the most intriguing players who are still free agents. Teams that are still seeking upgrades in these areas and don't want to rely on a rookie from the draft to fill the void should look in their direction.


Ahmad Bradshaw

When healthy, there's no doubting Bradshaw's ability. The 26-year-old running back, who's spent his entire career with the New York Giants, averages 4.6 yards per carry and is also a factor in the passing game. Injuries are an issue, though.

Only once in his career has Bradshaw played in all 16 regular-season games. Making matters more complicated, he's coming off foot surgery in January. That helps explain why interest has been slower to develop for him than other backs.

That said, he would be a perfect addition for a team without a clear No. 1 rusher that has depth. It's a group that includes the Giants. At least in those situations the team would know they are getting a productive back, but aren't relying solely on him to carry the load, thus maximizing his value.


Ed Reed

At 34, Reed doesn't feature the same level of athleticism that helped him become one of the league's top safeties. But make no mistake, the longtime member of the Baltimore Ravens is still an impact player capable of boosting just about any secondary.

Reed finished last season with 58 total tackles, 16 passes defended and four interceptions. Those numbers are right in line with his career averages and are actually a slight improvement over the previous year. In other words, he can still play.

The key is finding a defense that will showcase his playmaking skills by giving him freedom to roam the defensive backfield. He previously met with the Houston Texans and the Ravens reportedly remain involved, and are probably still the best fit he wouldn't be forced to adapt to a new scheme.


Brent Grimes

Cornerback was one of the deepest positions when free agency began. Now that the dust has settled, Grimes is the top option left available and that may play into his favor. Teams that missed out on other targets should now turn to him.

There are undoubtedly questions about his ability to get back to full strength after missing nearly the entire season with an Achilles injury. His production from the previous three seasons, an average of 67 tackles, 17 passed defended and four interceptions should overshadow that, though.

At 29, he should still have several seasons of top-tier production left and, if everything checks out health-wise, is definitely worth the investment. With so many teams needing secondary help, there should be no shortage of suitors now that the main options have signed.