While most teams are focused on the 2014 NFL draft, a number of quality free agents are still looking for a home next season.
At this point in the offseason, organizations with glaring holes on the roster will look toward the draft to fill them. Teams will try to find an impact player in the first few rounds while adding depth and high-upside players on Day 3. Even after this, squads will recruit undrafted free agents to see if they are worthy of a spot on the team.
After this process, however, front offices will look back at the list of free agents and see a number of veteran players who are capable of helping out immediately.
Here is a look at the best free agents available with a breakdown of some of the more intriguing names on the list.
|1||Jermichael Finley||TE||Green Bay Packers|
|2||Jonathan Goodwin||C||San Francisco 49ers|
|3||Travelle Wharton||G||Carolina Panthers|
|4||Kevin Williams||DT||Minnesota Vikings|
|5||Ryan Pickett||DT||Green Bay Packers|
|6||Santonio Holmes||WR||New York Jets|
|7||Eric Winston||OT||Kansas City Chiefs|
|8||Jabari Greer||CB||New Orleans Saints|
|9||Dustin Keller||TE||Miami Dolphins|
|10||Miles Austin||WR||Dallas Cowboys|
|11||Kyle Cook||C||Cincinnati Bengals|
|12||David Stewart||OT||Tennessee Titans|
|13||Pat Angerer||ILB||Indianapolis Colts|
|14||Isaac Sopoaga||DT||New England Patriots|
|15||James Harrison||OLB||Cincinnati Bengals|
|16||Davin Joseph||G||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|17||Terrell Thomas||CB||New York Giants|
|18||Steve Gregory||S||New England Patriots|
|19||Kevin Kolb||QB||Buffalo Bills|
|20||Le'Ron McClain||FB||San Diego Chargers|
When healthy, Jermichael Finley has the talent to be one of the best tight ends in the NFL. At 6'4" with good speed and athleticism, he can be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.
In two years from 2011-12, the Green Bay Packers star totaled 1,434 yards with 10 touchdowns. He was looking even better in 2013 when he had 300 yards and three touchdowns in six games before getting hurt.
Unfortunately, that injury is preventing him from being signed. Finley injured his spine during last season, and there was even a threat that it could be a career-ending issue. However, he worked to get back into shape and recently underwent tests on the injured neck, via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:
TE Jermichael Finley expected to have tests done on his neck soon. Won’t know results for a few days, as they are sent to Pittsburgh— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 29, 2014
If the tests determine that he is able to play, teams should be fighting to sign the talented tight end.
Finley has "had conversations" with the Miami Dolphins, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Meanwhile, ESPN Wisconsin's Jason Wilde notes that the Packers have not ruled out re-signing the tight end.
Whichever team does sign him will end up getting great value at the position as long as he is healthy.
Eric Winston, OT
While Eric Winston has been busy as the president of the NFL Players' Association, he still has not found a job for next season.
He had previously explained to Dan Bickley of AZCentral that he wanted to return to Arizona, but nothing has been discussed:
I can't say there have been super-positive talks or anything like that. It doesn't seem like anything is being done. I'd still love to come back to Arizona. I love the guys in the locker room, love the city, and I think the team will be really good with or without me. They're ready to have a special run out there.
At the same time, it is what it is. I'm looking to get on a team as soon as possible, hopefully before the draft. I know I still have some miles left on the tires, and I'm looking to burn them off.
Obviously, it is now unlikely that he signs a contract before the draft. However, a lot of teams have a need on the offensive line, and there are not many quality linemen in the 2014 class.
Even if a team does draft a young tackle, it could always use the leadership of Winston. Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel notes that this is a noticeable asset:
Eric Winston is a leader of men. Always has been. Some people can't handle those types.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) April 2, 2014
Of course, Winston can still get it done on the field. Pro Football Reference gave him an approximate value of nine for the 2013 season, which ranked tied for sixth on the Cardinals last season and was among the best years of his career.
The right tackle would be a smart addition for a number of teams heading into next season.
Pat Angerer, ILB
Like Finley, Pat Angerer has been limited by injuries. After the middle linebacker finished fourth in the NFL with 148 tackles in 2011, he dealt with various issues over the next two years.
The 27-year-old understood the problem when the Indianapolis Colts said they would let him go, via Mike Chappell of The Indianapolis Star:
They gave me a heads-up I would not be re-signed by them. I understand. I've been hurt the past two years.
It's part of the business. It's part of the game. There comes a time when you've got to move on. I wish I could have played better here. I wish I hadn't gotten hurt.
If he is able to return to the field, there is plenty of reason to believe he can have a lot more success. He is a bit undersized at 6'0", 236 pounds, but he has great speed and instincts to cover the majority of the field.
Chappell also discusses the linebacker's toughness:
#colts fans can question Pat Angerer's ability to cover a TE, but never question his willingness to play thru pain/injury. Tough. Guy.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) December 17, 2013
For a low price, he could be a great value addition to most teams.
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