Best Players Available After NFL 2022 Roster Cuts

Alex BallentineAugust 31, 2022

Best Players Available After NFL 2022 Roster Cuts

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    Former Philadelphia Eagles safety Anthony Harris (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    The deadline for all 32 teams to cut their rosters from 80 to 53 has left hundreds of players looking for work in the NFL.

    It's a brutal rite of passage at the end of the preseason. But it's also a time for new opportunities.

    Teams just spent the last few weeks identifying what areas on their rosters might need upgrades for the 2022 season, and there's a new influx of talent available on the market.

    It won't take long for some to find a new place to ply their trade. Including players who were available before training camps. These are the best on the market right now based on their recent production, trajectory and talent.

10. TE O.J. Howard

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    Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

    O.J. Howard can't be considered one of the best free agents available based on his recent production, but it's hard to completely give up on his potential.

    From 2017 through 2019, Howard averaged 485 receiving yards per season. That includes his 2018 campaign in which he was on pace for a 900-yard season, but injuries limited him to 10 games.

    The Alabama product possesses elite athleticism for a tight end. Coming out of college, he posted the 12th-best relative athletic score out of any tight end prospect since 1999, including a 4.51-second 40-yard dash.

    However, Howard had only 14 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, and the Buffalo Bills released him Tuesday as they trimmed the roster down to 53.

    A team that's looking for depth at tight end should give Howard a look, as he could potentially become a weapon in the passing game.

    Best Fits: Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans

9. DT Sheldon Richardson

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    AP Photo/Stacy Bengs

    Sheldon Richardson is 31 years old and has played on three different teams over the last five seasons. The veteran won't put up a flashy stat line, but he is a solid defensive tackle who can contribute as a rotating three-technique.

    Richardson posted a respectable 62.1 Pro Football Focus grade with the Minnesota Vikings last season while notching 2.5 sacks and six tackles for loss.

    As injuries begin piling up and young players struggle in bigger roles, Richardson profiles at least as a rotational player. He played 57 percent of the defensive snaps in Minnesota last season.

    Some teams could put him into their defensive line rotation right now and see better results.

    Best Fits: Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers

8. S Jaquiski Tartt

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    AP Photo/Kirk Irwin

    Jaquiski Tartt is not a playmaker by any means. He only has four career interceptions, but he's not a complete liability in coverage either. That means something at the safety position.

    Tartt started 14 games in 2021 for a San Francisco 49ers team that ultimately made it to the NFC Championship Game. While he dropped a crucial interception in that game, it shouldn't keep teams from being interested in the 30-year-old.

    The Philadelphia Eagles brought in the veteran this offseason to push Marcus Epps for a starting role. Epps ultimately claimed the job, but that leaves Tartt without a team.

    There should be at least a handful of squads that give Tartt a call. That includes his former team, as starting safety Jimmie Ward is expected to miss the first four games of the season for the Niners.

    Tartt only allowed 57.6 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed last season, allowing 5.9 yards per target. There are many teams that could benefit from a safety like that.

    Best Fits: San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings

7. WR Tyler Johnson

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    Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Some of the players who were released on cutdown day are simply the victims of depth at their position. Tyler Johnson is a perfect example of that.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a somewhat surprising move by releasing the 24-year-old after he played in 17 games and caught 36 passes for 360 yards in 2021. He was on the field for a little over half of the offensive snaps and played special teams.

    Johnson is not an elite athlete, but he has the build (6'2", 206 lbs) to play on the outside or in the slot and had a true catch rate of 87.8 percent, per Player Profiler.

    He's a reliable target with good hands who still has room to grow given his age and experience.

    He likely wouldn't have been cut if he weren't in a receiver room that features Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage and Julio Jones. There are plenty of teams that aren't fortunate to have that kind of talent at the position.

    Best Fits: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans

6. DT Ndamukong Suh

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    Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    When it comes to durability and consistency, Ndamukong Suh has been a marvel throughout his career.

    The 35-year-old has started every regular-season game since 2012 going back to his days with the Detroit Lions. Until three seasons ago, he played over 80 percent of the defensive snaps in each campaign.

    Now he isn't quite as stout as he was against the run. Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of just 49.4 (replaceable) last season.

    However, he is still an upgrade for some teams as an interior pass-rusher. He notched six sacks while playing 63 percent of the snaps for the Bucs last season.

    Suh has been connected to the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason. Tashan Reed of The Athletic reported there's interest from the team, but Suh is seeking a contract with an annual value of $9 million per year.

    At this point, it's clear he's a free agent because of his asking price, not his talent.

    Best Fits: Las Vegas Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings

5. WR Will Fuller V

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    Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Will Fuller V is the ultimate boom-or-bust option on the market right now.

    The last time he was healthy for more than two games in a season he was averaging a career-high 11.7 yards per target and finished 13th in yards before catch per reception. In other words, he was one of the top pure deep threats in the league.

    His ability to get over top on defenses is a game-changer. Unfortunately, his health has always been an issue. He only played in 11 games in 2020 and played in just two after signing with the Miami Dolphins in 2021.

    Availability is a crucial aspect of playing in the league, and Fuller has to prove that he can do it.

    However, a team that might be willing to deal with someone who's in and out of the lineup if it means it'll have a burner for big games would be an ideal fit.

    Best Fits: Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys

4. OT Eric Fisher

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    Icon Sportswire

    Eric Fisher never lived up to his status as a No. 1 overall pick, but he's become a fairly reliable offensive tackle. He was a Pro Bowler as recently as 2020 and was a crucial member of the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line for eight seasons.

    Last year, he started 15 games for the Indianapolis Colts after returning from a torn Achilles. He gave up only four sacks and earned a 68.2 grade from PFF.

    The 31-year-old didn't sign with a team during training camp, but that reportedly isn't because of a lack of interest. ESPN's Ed Werder reported Fisher "will be selective and has turned down offers from nine teams so far."

    That number shouldn't be surprising given how many teams could at least use Fisher as a swing tackle. However, he likely wants to be a starter on a team with a shot at the playoffs.

    Best Fits: Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints

3. S Anthony Harris

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    The Philadelphia Eagles clearly weren't happy with their safety situation. They continued the overhaul of their defense by releasing both Jaquiski Tartt and Anthony Harris while trading for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

    The decision to cut Harris is going to wind up benefitting someone.

    The 30-year-old may have a reduced market because of his age, but his production continues to be solid. Last season, he was one of the best tacklers on the Eagles defense, only missing 2.7 percent of his attempts and racking up 72 total stops.

    He was solid in coverage too, allowing just 51.1 percent of his targets to be completed while holding opposing passers to a 68.7 rating.

    There were a handful of safeties who received pink slips this week. Harris should be the most sought after for his versatility. The opportunity to return to the Eagles is there too, as he's a vested veteran who won't have to clear waivers.

    Best Fits: Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings

2. T/G Daryl Williams

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    Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

    Versatility and competence are two of the most important things for offensive linemen to bring to the table at this time of year.

    Teams aren't necessarily looking for a guy who is going to go to the Pro Bowl. They just need someone who can create contingencies for injuries and won't stall the offense.

    That's a perfect description of Daryl Williams at this point.

    The former Buffalo Bills blocker has played both tackle and both guard spots throughout his seven-year career. Williams is not likely to be a Pro Bowler, but he's not going to wreck an offense either. Last season, he earned a 67.5 grade from PFF while ceding four sacks.

    Williams could be a great fit for any team looking for a guard and would work as a stopgap tackle option as well.

    Best Fits: Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders, Dallas Cowboys

1. WR Odell Beckham Jr.

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Training camp came and went without Odell Beckham Jr. on an NFL roster.

    It doesn't matter much. OBJ would not have been able to participate in camp as he continued to rehab the ACL tear he suffered in last year's Super Bowl.

    Whenever Beckham is ready to return to the field, there should be a robust market for him. He showcased what he can do in the 2021 playoffs and came in at No. 90 in the NFL's Top 100 players according to a player vote across the league.

    Several contending teams could benefit from adding a receiver of Beckham's caliber. The 29-year-old wideout recently showed some interest in the Buffalo Bills while interacting with Von Miller on social media. David Njoku openly campaigned to bring him back to Cleveland with Baker Mayfield now off the roster.

    Then there's the possibility of re-joining the Los Angeles Rams. Head coach Sean McVay let it be known on NFL Network that he would like to get the receiver back "at some point." The team added Allen Robinson this offseason, but there are still plenty of targets to go around with Cooper Kupp drawing attention from opposing secondaries.

    The clear interest in Beckham is evidence that he's one of the best players available once he gets healthy.

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