2013 NFL Free Agents: Late Signings That Will Bolster Teams' Playoff Hopes

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIAugust 22, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 03:  Vonta Leach #44 of the Baltimore Ravens runs with the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Better late than never. That has to be the motto of a few well-known NFL veterans who had to wait months to find new teams for the 2013 season. Not every late-signing veteran will make an impact with his new team.

Some will have to realize they are at the ends of the roads in their careers.

However, there are three who would seemingly stand to improve their teams' chances of making the postseason, and possibly making some noise in the playoffs.


Vonta Leach, Baltimore Ravens

The Summer of Vonta went over without transition. Leach spent months listening to offers from other teams but ultimately came back to the Baltimore Ravens, per Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com.

It can't be understated how much Leach's return will mean for the Ravens. The All-Pro fullback is a stalwart in the running game as he helps to spring Ray Rice as a powerful lead-blocker.

The Ravens have their share of questions in the passing game and on defense, but with Leach back, the running game should be as good as it ever has been.


Eric Winston, Arizona Cardinals

One of the biggest problems the Arizona Cardinals had in 2012 was protecting the quarterback. Cardinals signal-callers were sacked 58 times in 2012. That led the NFL.

The team traded for Carson Palmer during the offseason to get elite wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald a quarterback capable of getting him the ball. 

Palmer is certainly an upgrade under center, but what about that O-Line?

The Cardinals inked veteran tackle Eric Winston, per Dan Hanzus of NFL.com. The 29-year-old had spent the first six years of his career with the Houston Texans before joining the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012.

Winston may not be headed to the Pro Bowl, but he'll certainly represent an upgrade at right tackle.


John Abraham, Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals were busy accumulating veterans in late July. The team also signed pass-rushing specialist John Abraham, per Marc Sessler of ESPN.com. Despite leading the Atlanta Falcons with 10 sacks in 2012, Abraham found himself without a job until the final week in July.

Abraham is 35 years old, but he can still get to the passer. Abraham has already made an impact in preseason. Expect him to help to strengthen the Cardinals defense as he plays the season with a chip on his shoulder.


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