2013 NFL Free Agents: Players Who Would Provide Late Boost to NFL Rosters

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 10:  Brandon Lloyd #85 of the New England Patriots catches a touchdown pass against the Houston Texans in the first half at Gillette Stadium on December 10, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Teams around the NFL are finalizing their rosters ahead of Week 1. While a vast majority of the notable free agents were signed during the offseason or training camp, there are still a select number of players available who are capable of making an impact.

As you'd expect, none of the remaining free agents are major assets. Instead, they are role players with the ability to step into a rotational role right away. But those type of depth pieces can't be overlooked, especially as injuries begin to mount during the season.

So let's examine three players on the market who would make for good signings in the final days before the regular season gets underway or early in the campaign. Although they aren't superstars, they could fill a void and provide solid overall production.



Brandon Lloyd

Given the shift toward high-powered passing attacks in recent years, it's a surprise to see Lloyd still on the market. Over the past three seasons, split between the Denver Broncos, St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots, he's averaged 74 catches for over 1,100 yards and nearly seven touchdowns.

He was targeted 130 times last season with the Patriots. To go from a key player in one of the league's top offenses to unsigned is quite the drop off. At 32, he's clearly still got some productive seasons ahead, if a team is willing to give him a chance.

The New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, who drafted Lloyd, are among the teams that would benefit from bolstering their receiving groups. The Illinois product is the top option available as the season gets set to begin.


Mark Anderson

Two seasons ago, Anderson recorded 10 sacks for the Patriots. He moved to the divisional rival Buffalo Bills, where he was supposed to help revitalize a dormant pass rush, but was a major disappointment. He finished with just one sack in five games.

The Bills decided not to bring him back, and he remains a free agent. While Anderson is coming off a down campaign, with a knee injury, his past production would seemingly be enough to earn him another chance. So far, that hasn't been the case.

When healthy, Anderson has flashed solid pass-rushing skills. Along with the aforementioned season with the Patriots, he also had a 12-sack year with the Chicago Bears. Teams that need help off the edge, and there's no shortage of them, would be wise to take a chance on him.


Sheldon Brown

Brown spent the past three seasons with the Cleveland Browns where he continued a career trend of being a solid, reliable corner. He averaged 57 tackles per year while totaling seven interceptions and 34 passes defended.

He's not a shutdown corner. He can't take the league's elite receivers out on an island and keep them off the stat sheet for an entire game. That said, he's a veteran who can add experience to a defense and stability to a secondary.

Multiple teams could use defensive back upgrades, but the Bills stand out. They were already extremely weak at corner and lost rising star Stephon Gilmore to a wrist injury. Brown would be an ideal stopgap option for Buffalo.