NFL Free Agents 2013: Dwight Freeney and Biggest Bargains Left on Market

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Dwight Freeney #93 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after a sack against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December  26, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Dwight Freeney has yet to sign with any NFL team as a free agent in 2013, and at this point in the proceeding, he'll be a bargain for any team with the cap room to sign him.

Freeney isn't the only talented player without a home, either.

There are still hundreds of talented players without contracts as the league moves closer to the 2013 NFL draft, and this is the time when savvy general managers strike the best deals.

Here are the top players left in free agency who will be tremendous bargains in 2013.


Dwight Freeney, Defensive End

Though Freeney is certainly nearing the end of his career at the age of 33, he still has at least another year or two left in his tank.

The accomplished pass-rusher has tallied 107.5 career sacks.

He isn't as spry as he once was, but Freeney could be a dominant pass-rusher for any 4-3 team that would be looking for him to play in a limited number of snaps—much like what the Atlanta Falcons asked of John Abraham in 2012.

In this capacity, it's not inconceivable to envision Freeney logging double-digit sack totals in 2013. Judging by the contract Cliff Avril received from the Seattle Seahawks (two years for $13 million), it's likely that Freeney could earn up to $4 million per season on a one-or two-year deal.

At that price, 10 or even eight sacks would be tremendously valuable.


Darrius Heyward-Bey, Wide Receiver

A former No. 7 overall pick, Heyward-Bey still has the potential to be a fantastic receiver.

His career with the Oakland Raiders was disappointing, to say the least, but he exhibited flashes of greatness often enough that some coach will be convinced to take another chance on him.

The speedy receiver looked to be ready for a breakout season in 2012 after he approached the 1,000-yard mark in 2011. But the entire Raiders team took a nosedive last year, and Heyward-Bey regressed.

Given his lack of production as a pro, Heyward-Bey won't be expensive to sign. A reasonable contract for a player with his history would be anywhere from $2 million to $3 million per season. If he ends up playing up to his potential, such a signing would be tremendously valuable for the team that made the deal.


Karlos Dansby, Inside Linebacker

The Miami Dolphins unexpectedly signed free-agent linebacker Dannell Ellerbe earlier in March, which ultimately led to the release of Dansby—a highly productive player in his own right.

Dansby is getting a bit long in the tooth, at the age of 31, but he's still capable of leading a defense from his inside linebacker position and making all the plays necessary to his position.

In fact, 2012 was Dansby's finest year as a tackler. He totaled 101 solo tackles and also chipped in with one sack and one forced fumble. His stellar performance last year earned him the No. 13 ranking out of 53 qualified inside linebackers, via Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Given the apparent lack of interest in inside linebackers on the open market these days, Dansby might be signed for as little as $2.5 million per season. Given his production and experience, such a deal would be a fantastic bargain for the team that signed him.


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