2013 NFL Free Agents: Best Players Left, Teams That Should Take a Chance on Them
The NFL offseason has already seen plenty of free agents move from team to team, but there are still some veterans left on the market with value to add to potential suitors.
So who are the best of the best remaining on the market, and where should they go to find the best opportunities to succeed? Let's take a look at three solid free agent options and the teams that are the best fit for maximizing their values.
Michael Turner to the Jacksonville Jaguars
The man once known as “The Burner” has definitely slowed down over the years, but that shouldn’t stop an NFL team from employing his services. He lacks the overall speed and quickness to be a featured back in the NFL, but he’s a proven NFL runner who will be more effective returning to the part-time role he enjoyed in San Diego behind LaDainian Tomlinson.
Michael Turner scored double-digit touchdowns every season he played with the Falcons and could provide a similar boost for the Jaguars if given the opportunity. He doesn’t have to be the star in Jacksonville; he only needs to provide hard running a few times per game to give the Jags great value.
The Jaguars have a solid starter in Maurice Jones-Drew, but he is also getting a bit older, and backup Justin Forsett doesn’t appear to be the kind of guy who could take over as a starter for an extended period of time.
Beyond Forsett on the depth chart, the Jaguars have “offensive weapon” Denard Robinson, who could also not handle the full workload of an NFL running back in MJD’s stead, and Jordan Todman who has yet to catch on in the NFL during his two seasons as a pro.
Peter Schrager, NFL analyst for Fox Sports, agrees with the sentiment:
Matt Leinart, Michael Turner, and Brandon Lloyd are all waiting by the phone? Kind of surprised by all three.— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) August 20, 2013
Brandon Lloyd to the Detroit Lions
And as Schrager said in the tweet above, Brandon Lloyd is another free agent who deserves to have a job at this point. Teams obviously aren’t expecting a return to 2010 form, when he had 1,448 yards receiving, but the 966 and 911 yards he posted over the past two seasons should be enough to merit a roster spot with the Lions.
The Lions have Calvin Johnson, who is obviously one of the best receivers of this generation. But beyond Megatron, Detroit has injury-prone Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles, along with a group of unknowns.
Lloyd would have plenty of room to work with Johnson attracting most of the defensive attention, and the offense in Detroit throws the ball often enough that he’d surely have enough targets to stay happy.
Chris Burke of SI.com wrote earlier this summer that there may have been some locker room concerns for Lloyd last season, which might be holding back his job search. But Jim Schwartz is a strong personality at head coach and should be able to handle Lloyd and keep him in line.
Richard Seymour to the Atlanta Falcons
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports speculated earlier this offseason that Richard Seymour would be a fit for the Falcons, and there has been talk of the veteran defensive tackle signing with the team ever since.
Worth noting Seymour lives in ATL and would like to be there and Falcons are in Super Bowl or bust mode. We'll see if $ is right later on— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) June 16, 2013
Nothing was ever finalized, and the Falcons have seemingly moved on. But why?
Jonathan Babineaux is a decent starter at one defensive tackle spot, but the other position in Atlanta will be manned by a combination of Corey Peters and Peria Jerry.
Jerry has been a disappointing former first-round pick, and Peters was among the worst in the NFL last season at defending the run, according to the grades at Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
So even if Seymour is too old and worn down to play full-time with the Falcons, he could still provide 400 snaps of run stuffing and pass rushing that no one else at defensive tackle in Atlanta could dream of providing.
He wants to win a title, and the Falcons will definitely be in contention in 2013. And whatever ability he has left would be an instant upgrade for the Falcons in the middle of a fairly average defense.
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