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2013 NFL Free Agents: Unsigned Players Who Can Still Help a Contender

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17: John Abraham #55 of the Atlanta Falcons wtches the action against the Denver Broncos at the Georgia Dome on September 17, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJuly 23, 2013

It is hard to fathom that John Abraham still hasn't found an NFL job. Sure, he's 35 years old, but durability hasn't been an issue for him. He's missed only two games in six years and he played in all 16 games in 2012 for the Atlanta Falcons.

Production also hasn't been a problem for Abraham. He has 122 career sacks and 10 of those came during the 2012 season.

With pure pass-rushers still at a premium, one has to wonder why Abraham is being shut out. There is no doubt he could still help a contender, even if just as a third-down pass-rusher.

San Diego Chargers defensive end Dwight Freeney implied to Sporting News that collusion may be the general culprit. Owners may have collectively decided to decrease spending, but it is hard to say for sure. One thing is for certain: Abraham has something left in the tank.

He's just one of a handful of free agents available who could still help a contender improve its roster. Here's a look at three others.

 

Laurent Robinson

Robinson isn't a No. 1 receiver, but he did have 54 receptions, 858 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Dallas Cowboys in 2011. That's pretty solid production by any team's standards.

At 6'2", 195 pounds, Robinson is still a decent option in the red zone, and he has useful speed. The tools are there for him to potentially have an even bigger season in 2013.

While he did have a rather abysmal 2012 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars after signing a multi-year deal, part of that was health-related. He played in just seven games due to concussion injuries in 2012. Per Tom Pelissero of USA Today, Robinson suffered four concussions during the year, but says he is healthy enough to play now.

Because of his recent injury history Robinson is a gamble, but he has the talent to drastically impact a receiving unit if he can stay healthy.

 

Vonta Leach

A Pro Bowl-caliber fullback still has tons of value—especially in the right system. Leach is still available and a player with his lead-blocking ability could help jump-start a running game.

Per Paul Schwartz of The New York Post, the New York Giants have targeted Leach, but his last team, the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, can offer him more money. 

It seems Leach will have his pick, but both teams have at least a realistic chance to contend and Leach's presence will augment those possibilities.

 

Steve Breaston

Receivers who have had success in the slot are valuable players. Breaston had his best season as the third option with the Arizona Cardinals behind Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin in 2008.

That season, Breaston had 77 catches for 1,006 yards and three touchdowns. In the three years after, he averaged 54 catches and 738 yards. Those are still dependable numbers for a third, or even second receiver on some teams.

However, in 2012 Breaston played in only 10 games and his production suffered while part of the woeful Kansas City Chiefs' passing game. He had just seven catches for 74 yards.

In the right system, Breaston could still be an excellent slot receiver. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets that the Detroit Lions are interested in Breaston, Robinson and Chaz Schillens:

Breaston will only be 30 when the NFL season begins and his low production in Kansas City was probably a mixture of injuries and the Chiefs' ineptitude at quarterback. There's a chance he can be better with a new team.

 

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