The Top Free Agents Remaining on the Market at Start of Training Camps
Believe it or not, a rather respectable collection of free agents are still available on the free-agent market.
Sure, that market is exceptionally picked over, but it doesn't mean the players available can't contribute in 2013.
Age, injuries and recent dip in production have factored into their current unemployment, but here's a look at the top free agents remaining with training camp in full swing.
Willis McGahee has logged 1,957 carries and 2,159 total touches in his NFL career. He will turn 32 in October and is coming off a broken leg he suffered that prematurely ended his 2012 season.
Although not as explosive as he once was, McGahee averaged a solid 4.6 yards per carry in his last two seasons with the Denver Broncos.
In 2011, he accumulated 1,119 yards on 249 carries with four rushing touchdowns.
Clearly, McGahee's not a hot commodity, but if a contender wants to add a veteran presence to its backfield, he's probably the best and most well-rounded option at this juncture.
The 34-year-old Dallas Clark spent 2012 with the underachieving Tampa Bay Buccaneers but had quite the productive season.
Thought to be well past his prime, the former Indianapolis Colts great played in all 16 games and caught 47 passes for 435 yards and four receiving touchdowns.
Clark has never been the biggest or fastest, but he knows the finer details of getting open as a tight end and has sure hands. Perhaps most importantly, he didn't deal with any injuries in 2012.
(Hey, the New England Patriots could use a reliable tight end, couldn't they?)
Beanie Wells ran a 4.59 in the 40-yard dash at the 2009 combine at 6'1'' and 235 pounds.
While it's impossible to know how a rash of injuries at the NFL level have hampered his speed, the former Ohio State standout certainly possesses desired physical traits to be a productive runner.
But those injuries are worrisome, and they're the reason why he's missed eight games over the last two seasons.
The 2012 campaign was a nightmare for Wells, as he managed to appear in only half of the regular season.
In the eight contests in which he played, he averaged a pedestrian 2.7 yards per carry behind one of football's most porous offensive lines.
His past knee troubles make him a major risk if signed.
Brandon Lloyd was far from a liability for the New England Patriots, but he didn't exactly live up to the lofty preseason expectations many set for him playing with Tom Brady in Josh McDaniels' offense.
He caught 74 passes for 911 yards with four receiving scores.
Lloyd turned 32 in July, and although he likely doesn't have amazing timed speed, he is a masterful deep-threat specialist with above-average ball skills.
He would be a welcomed addition to most contenders in desperate need of a vertical option.
Update (August 1): Barnett signed a one-year deal with the Washington Redskins, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
The 32-year-old Nick Barnett amassed 122 total tackles with the Buffalo Bills a season ago, but the defense he played was gashed against the run and wasn't particularly strong against the pass either.
He appeared in all 32 games during his two-year stint with the Bills and had five sacks over that stretch.
Barnett isn't the quickest from sideline-to-sideline and on occasion he appears to take bad angles in run support, but he is still an NFL-caliber linebacker who could help a team in 2013.
Michael Boley was once the leader of the New York Giants linebacker corps.
Now, the soon-to-be 33-year-old can't find a job.
A "secret arrest" for child abuse in February of 2013 probably isn't helping his chances. On the field, Boley has been a sound, durable defender. He missed only two games over the last two seasons and had 91 tackles, three interceptions and two forced fumbles in 2012.
His run-in with the law could be keeping clubs away, but he's another linebacker who should be able to contribute this year.
Bart Scott isn't nearly as impactful as he once was—in his prime he was an elite linebacker—but he has a bit left in the tank.
ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required) rated Scott in positive figures in 2012, and the former Baltimore Ravens star racked up seven sacks over the last two seasons with the New York Jets.
He brings a boisterous personality and vicious style to the field despite being at least a half-step slower than he was even two or three years ago.
Scott would be a fine fit in as an inside linebacker for a club that utilizes a 3-4 scheme.
Kerry Rhodes is only 30 years old and has pieced together a fine, yet underrated NFL career. He played in 15 games at safety last year for the Arizona Cardinals and had 67 tackles, four interceptions and a sack.
He also defended 11 passes.
With the way NFL aerial attacks have been shredding secondaries of late, there has to be a team interested in adding a veteran leader to their back end.
Rhodes would be a fantastic fit in just about any situation.