2014 NFL Free Agents: Breaking Down Most Overlooked Gems in the Field

Ryan DavenportContributor IMay 31, 2016

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice looks for the call against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Generally speaking, compared to the MLB and NBA, free agency within the National Football League doesn't provide teams with the same level of opportunities to improve.

However, that doesn't mean there isn't a bevy of available talent that could enhance a number of the game's 32 teams heading into the 2014 campaign.

For the moment, the focus remains squarely on the 2014 NFL draft, but rest assured, every management group has long since begun to identify which targets would potentially add something to their current roster.

Some of the guys on this list may well end up with their respective 2013 teams, but for now, they figure to be up for bidding when free agency opens for business on March 11. 

Without further ado, here's a look at some of the more overlooked impending free agents in the field.


Josh Morgan

Among a group of free-agent receivers that should include some big names such as Eric Decker, James Jones and Jeremy Maclin, Josh Morgan is one guy that could prove to be a low-risk, high-reward pickup.

A native of Washington, D.C., Morgan was inked to a five-year deal in the summer of 2012 with the hope that he could provide then-rookie Robert Griffin III with another big-play option. For a time, he fit in reasonably well.

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

In 2012, Morgan registered 510 receiving yards on a team-high 48 receptions, but his production dropped off drastically in 2013, as the 28-year-old put up a paltry 20 catches for 214 yards.

According to CSNWashington.com, Morgan's open to returning to the Redskins, but after a nightmare of a season that saw him fall out of favor with former coach Mike Shanahan, his time with the Redsksins appears to be over.

No, he's not a No. 1 or even a No. 2 target on a good team, but Morgan's been relatively productive over the course of his career, as he's recorded at least 44 catches and 510 yards three times during his six NFL seasons.


LeGarrette Blount

The Patriots will undoubtedly want to keep LeGarrette Blount in the fold after the 27-year-old broke out for 772 yards and seven touchdowns on 143 carries with New England in 2013.

However, given his unexpected success, the former University of Oregon standout very well may have priced himself out of the Patriots' range. As we've seen with this team over the years, it's not afraid to let players walk if contract demands are too rich for its liking.

Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

Blount certainly added to his value with his four-touchdown outing against the Indianapolis Colts in the postseason, and despite his lack of consistent production, the bruising back does also have a 1,000-yard season on his resume.

Assuming he's available, Blount could provide a number of potential suitors with an upgrade in the backfield. That's why some, such as CSNNE.com's Tom Curran, believe there's a good chance he'll be wearing a new uniform this fall:

Blount owes it to himself and future Blounts to make as much money as possible during the blink-of-an-eye NFL career he’s in the midst of. But the Patriots can make Blount a long-time earner on a very good team as a bit player.

Or Blount may be able to find a more prominent role and better short-term money somewhere else.

Seeing as Blount made just $680,000 in 2013 after being dealt by Tampa Bay, one has to believe that he'll cash in on a breakout 2013 campaign.


Sidney Rice

No one can blame the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks for intending to move on from Sidney Rice, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't be a potentially valuable addition to many receiving corps across the league.

There's no doubting Rice's potential, as he has a 1,300-yard receiving season to his name, but in the four years since, he's managed to play more than nine games just once.

The Seahawks have a glut of capable receivers, so Rice relocating would be beneficial for both parties. If he can find a way to remain healthy, though, the 27-year-old could be an under-the-radar pickup that provides big returns.

No, Rice won't get anything close to the $41 million over five years that he received from Seattle in 2011, but assuming he's released, he'll have no shortage of motivation to bounce back in 2013.


Jacoby Jones

Tom Uhlman/Associated Press

A year ago, Jacoby Jones would've been viewed as a high-end free agent, but 2013 wasn't kind to the dual-threat receiver and kick returner, as the 29-year-old missed four games and saw his overall production take a hit.

In 2012, Jones was a key component of Baltimore's Super Bowl title run, but as Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun reports, he'll have to play with a reduced salary to remain a Raven:

Should Jones test free agency and not garner offers in the $3 million to $4 million range, then the Ravens would likely be willing to retain him at a lower price.

Signing the explosive return man prior to free agency by reaching a financial compromise prior to other teams having a chance to bid on him is regarded as unlikely. Nothing is imminent, according to sources.

If the Ravens do intend on adding receiving options via free agency or the 2014 NFL draft, Jones will ultimately be allowed to walk.

Though he's failed to break 500 receiving yards in either of his two seasons in Baltimore, the former All-Pro selection remains a viable option for teams in need of instant offense.