Best Free-Agent Option Remaining for Every NFL Team

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2021

Best Free-Agent Option Remaining for Every NFL Team

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    With the 2021 NFL season kicking off this week, most teams have solidified their starting lineups for Week 1. However, rosters are fluid even after 53-man roster cuts, so we'll see many additions in the coming days.

    While it's easy to identify the top available free agents—guys like Cam Newton, John Brown, Mitchell Schwartz and Todd Gurley are known commodities—some team-specific fits are better than others.

    Here, we'll take a look at the best free-agent option for each team. These selections are based on factors like proven production, team needs, player health and salary-cap constraints.

    For variety's sake, we'll only be looking at one team per player. While several teams could benefit from adding Newton as a backup quarterback, we'll be pairing him with only one franchise.

    Which free agent should your favorite team have its eyes on entering Week 1? Let's take a look.

Arizona Cardinals: RB Frank Gore

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    After Kenyan Drake departed in free agency, the Arizona Cardinals are now set to lean on the backfield duo of Chase Edmonds and James Conner.

    While Edmonds and Conner might be serviceable, it's worth noting that the former has never been a full-time starter, while the latter underwhelmed with the Pittsburgh Steelers last season. Conner averaged 4.3 yards per carry but had only 55.5 rushing yards and 2.7 receptions per game.

    It would make a lot of sense for Arizona to add a seasoned ball-carrier like Frank Gore to the mix. Though he is 38 years old, Gore is still fully capable of handling the tough inside work. Last season, he rushed for 653 yards and two touchdowns on 187 carries.

    Throughout his 16-year career, Gore has been nothing if not reliable. That reliability could act as a safety net for the Cardinals ground game, as Arizona hopes for the best from Edmonds and Conner.

Atlanta Falcons: CB Rashaan Melvin

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    The Atlanta Falcons should still be looking to improve a defense that gave up the most passing yards in the league last season. Six-year veteran Rashaan Melvin could help bolster the secondary.

    Signed by the Carolina Panthers in March but released from the practice squad last week, Melvin has played 64 games with 40 starts during his career. He opted out of the 2020 campaign but started 19 games across the previous two seasons, compiling 124 tackles, 20 passes defended and an interception during that span.

    Though not a Pro Bowl player, Melvin would bring some much-needed talent and experience to Atlanta's secondary.

    Aside from 2020 first-round pick A.J. Terrell, the Falcons don't have much to get excited about at cornerback. Their other top options include Isaiah Oliver, who allowed an opposing passer rating of 120.8 last season, and Fabian Moreau.

    Moreau, a 2017 third-round pick, made only 18 starts in four seasons with the Washington Football Team.

Baltimore Ravens: RB Todd Gurley

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    In the wake of J.K. Dobbins' season-ending ACL tear, the Baltimore Ravens need to figure out a new plan at running back. They've had discussions with free agent Todd Gurley, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, but they're sticking with their current backs for now.

    One of those backs, Justice Hill, suffered a torn Achilles on Monday. The Ravens will need to add a back and have worked out Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell—according to ESPN's Field Yates—but Gurley has more recently been a workhorse runner.

    Although Gurley isn't the same superstar he was early in his career, he can still handle a large workload. He logged 195 carries for 678 yards and nine touchdowns with the Falcons last year, and he caught 25 passes as well.

    Baltimore currently has Gus Edwards and Ty'Son Williams at running back. It will also utilize quarterback Lamar Jackson as a runner frequently. Still, the Ravens' offensive identity is so heavily run-based that adding a third back is practically mandatory.

    A proven high-volume back like Gurley would be ideal.

Buffalo Bills: RB Chris Thompson

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    The Buffalo Bills should be looking to get more out of their backfield this season. Despite fielding the league's second-ranked offense, Buffalo ranked only 20th in rushing yards and 20th in yards per carry.

    Zack Moss and Devin Singletary return from last season, and the Bills added Matt Breida this offseason. However, they should take a look at dual-threat back Chris Thompson, who remains unemployed after finishing the 2020 season on injured reserve (back).

    Thompson has appeared in 74 games and has compiled 1,214 rushing yards, 232 receptions and 1,918 receiving yards. He has averaged 4.7 yards per carry and 8.3 yards per reception.

    While Thompson had only seven carries in eight games for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, he caught 20 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. Adding him would give Buffalo an experienced piece of depth in the backfield and another receiving outlet for emerging superstar Josh Allen to utilize.

Carolina Panthers: WR Pharoh Cooper

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    The Panthers haven't settled on a primary punt returner just yet, though they have internal options in DJ Moore, practice-squad member C.J. Saunders and Brandon Zylstra.

    "It's kind of a battle right now," head coach Matt Rhule said, per Anthony Rizzuti of Panthers Wire. "Obviously DJ [Moore] can go back there. [Brandon] Zylstra's done it before. C.J. [Saunders] could be activated. So we're kinda working through that right now."

    Another option Carolina should consider is bringing back wideout/returner Pharoh Cooper.

    Cooper returned 20 punts and 18 kickoffs for the Panthers in 2020. He signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason but was released as part of final roster cuts.

    Cooper has returned 82 punts and 104 kickoffs during his five NFL seasons. He was a first-team All-Pro returner with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017.

Chicago Bears: OT Bobby Hart

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    Offensive tackle Bobby Hart is not the most desirable free agent on the market. Last season, he was responsible for three penalties and four sacks in 872 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

    However, Hart should be one of the cheaper options among experienced starters.

    The 27-year-old signed with the Bills this offseason, but they released him during final roster cuts. He likely could be had at something close to the veteran minimum, which is relevant for the Bears.

    Chicago is currently over the salary cap but needs to examine all options for an offensive line that will likely be without second-round pick Teven Jenkins (back) for an extended period. Hart has 66 games of starting experience at right tackle, where projected starter Germain Ifedi only recently returned after missing most of camp with a hip flexor injury.

Cincinnati Bengals: OT Russell Okung

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    Protecting Joe Burrow should be the Cincinnati Bengals' top priority in 2021.

    The 2020 first overall pick tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee last November, prematurely ending his rookie season. Subjecting him to further injury risk would be egregiously irresponsible.

    While Cincinnati did add right tackle Riley Reiff and rookie guard Jackson Carman this offseason, it could take another step toward solidifying its line depth by bringing in Russell Okung.

    Okung has appeared only 13 games over the past two seasons, but he remains the best left tackle on the market. He has two Pro Bowls and 131 career starts on his resume.

    With Reiff and 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams on the roster, Cincinnati wouldn't need Okung to be a full-time starter. However, signing him would help ensure that if injuries mount along the line, Burrow wouldn't immediately pay the price.

Cleveland Browns: K Joey Slye

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    The Cleveland Browns appear to have a championship-caliber roster.

    They added pieces like defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and safety John Johnson III to their defense. They return an offense loaded with weapons, and they have a quarterback in Baker Mayfield who was the second-highest graded passer from Week 7 through the playoffs last year, per Pro Football Focus.

    However, Cleveland has a serious question mark at kicker.

    With Cody Parkey on injured reserve (quad), the Browns are set to roll with Chase McLaughlin, who has attempted only 28 field goals and 32 extra points as a pro. Cleveland also has Chris Naggar on its practice squad.

    It would behoove the Browns to add another seasoned kicker to the mix, if only for competition's sake. Joey Slye, who spent the last two seasons in Carolina, would be a great choice.

    Slye attempted 68 field goals and 71 extra points during his time with the Panthers. While his numbers aren't overly impressive (79.4 percent of field goals made, 90.1 percent of extra points), he would at least add another veteran presence to Cleveland's kicking competition.

Dallas Cowboys: QB Cam Newton

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    The Dallas Cowboys recently dismissed the idea of bringing in quarterback Cam Newton to back up Dak Prescott.

    "I think he has a ton of football left," Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said, per NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano. "But we're very excited about the group that we have."

    However, adding Newton would be a prudent move. Dallas doesn't have much experience behind Prescott—Cooper Rush, Will Grier and practice-squad member Ben DiNucci have three starts between them—and there's no telling how productive Prescott can be this season.

    "He's not fully back. He may not be back all season long," ESPN's Adam Schefter said about Prescott during a preseason broadcast (h/t Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).

    Prescott suffered a broken and dislocated right ankle in 2020 and has been dealing with an injury to his throwing shoulder. Dallas needs an experienced insurance policy at quarterback, and with 139 career starts under his belt, Newton can provide it.

Denver Broncos: Edge Adrian Clayborn

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    If the switch from quarterback Drew Lock to Teddy Bridgewater works out, the Denver Broncos might be relevant in the AFC West again. Bridgewater will have plenty of offensive weapons at his disposal, including wideouts Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton and tight end Noah Fant.

    The Broncos defense should also be better than it was in 2020, when it ranked 21st overall. They used a first-round pick on cornerback Patrick Surtain II and signed cornerback Kyle Fuller in free agency, and pass-rusher Von Miller will return after he missed all of 2020 following ankle surgery.

    While Miller and Bradley Chubb give Denver a potent pair of pass-rushers, adding a third could help Denver's defense approach elite status. That's why the Broncos should have an eye on Adrian Clayborn.

    Though he played only 38 percent of the snaps with the Browns last season, Clayborn still finished with 3.5 sacks, 15 quarterback pressures and three tackles for loss. He logged 7.5 sacks and 27 quarterback pressures over the last two years with Cleveland and Atlanta.

    Adding Clayborn would help Denver ease Miller back into the rotation while adding a third proven sack-artist to its front seven.

Detroit Lions: CB D.J. Hayden

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    Last offseason, the Lions used the third overall pick on former Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah. Despite that, they still finished dead last in total defense, points allowed and yards per pass attempt surrendered.

    Even if Okudah is better this year, that shouldn't prevent Detroit from pursuing cornerback D.J. Hayden.

    Hayden appeared in only five games during the 2020 season because of a hamstring injury, but he has 91 games and 41 career starts on his resume. Hayden appeared in 15 games during the 2019 season and allowed an opposing passer rating of only 81.8.

    While Hayden shouldn't challenge Okudah or Amani Oruwariye for a starting job, he would instantly provide much-needed and proven depth behind the pair.

Green Bay Packers: OT Rick Wagner

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    The Green Bay Packers will be without starting left tackle David Bakhtiari (ACL) for at least the first six weeks of the season after placing him on the physically unable to perform list. As the Packers search for the right starting lineup and depth during his absence, they should strongly consider bringing back Rick Wagner.

    While Wagner has primarily played right tackle in the NFL, he is seasoned enough to provide swing tackle depth. He got a few reps at left tackle last season against the Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He could also free up the versatile Billy Turner to play along the interior if needed.

    Wagner started nine games for Green Bay last season and appeared in all 16 contests. He was responsible for only one sack and no penalties in 610 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

    Bringing back Wagner would give the Packers another experienced option along the offensive line. That should ensure they have the depth necessary to push through Bakhtiari's absence.

Houston Texans: DT Domata Peko

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    Aside from quarterback, run defense is the Houston Texans' biggest question mark heading into this season. They ranked last in both rushing yards allowed and rushing yards per attempt surrendered last year.

    Adding an experienced defensive tackle in Domata Peko would help Houston shore up its defensive front. while providing some much-needed leadership to the locker room. While Peko is 36 years old and no longer a full-time player (eight starts over the last two seasons), he's still an asset when on the field.

    In six games with the Cardinals last season, Peko compiled 16 tackles. For his career, Peko has 616 tackles, 20 sacks, 47 tackles for loss and 194 starts.

    Adding Peko wouldn't completely fix Houston's run-stopping woes, but he would help prevent runs from regularly reaching the second level.

Indianapolis Colts: G James Carpenter

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    The Indianapolis Colts need insurance for left guard Quenton Nelson, whose availability in Week 1 remains uncertain as he continues recovering from foot surgery. The Colts have Chris Reed, who started 14 games for the Panthers in 2020 but has only one season of full-time starting experience.

    If Indy wants to double down on its insurance policy, it should scoop up 10-year veteran James Carpenter.

    Carpenter, who spent the last two seasons with the Falcons, has started 121 games in the NFL. He's spent most of his time at left guard, though he does have some experience at right tackle.

    While Carpenter was not a Pro Bowl talent in 2020, he performed admirably in his 13 starts. In 826 snaps, he allowed three sacks but was not responsible for a penalty, according to Pro Football Focus.

    Indianapolis is already dealing with the offseason retirement of left tackle Anthony Castonzo. It should be doing whatever it can to ensure its line isn't an issue during Carson Wentz's inaugural season under center.

    Adding Carpenter would be a step toward that end.

Jacksonville Jaguars: S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

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    The Jacksonville Jaguars might have found their quarterback of the future in Trevor Lawrence. However, they must continue working to improve a defense that ranked 27th against the pass, 31st overall and 31st in points allowed last season.

    Adding safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the secondary could help provide both veteran leadership and talent to the back end.

    While Clinton-Dix didn't play in 2020, he was a 16-game starter with the Bears the previous season. He finished the 2019 campaign with 78 tackles, two interceptions and an opposing quarterback rating of 67.0.

    Capable of playing both safety spots, Clinton-Dix would be a valuable swing safety and/or depth option. He has 90 career starts on his resume and spent part of training camp with the San Francisco 49ers before being released during final cuts.

Kansas City Chiefs: LB Tahir Whitehead

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    After retooling their offensive line, the Kansas City Chiefs appear to be capable of making a third straight Super Bowl appearance. But if they're looking to make another addition before the start of the season, they should consider bolstering a run defense that ranked 21st in yardage last season.

    Linebacker Tahir Whitehead would be a savvy late pickup for the Chiefs. Not only does he have experience playing in the AFC West after two seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders, but he's also been a tackling machine in the past.

    Whitehead started only nine games and logged 51 tackles with the Panthers last season. In his two years with the Raiders, though, he started 32 games and amassed 234 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, six passes defended and an interception.

    Whitehead's insight into Las Vegas' personnel—and his experience against AFC West weapons like Noah Fant and Austin Ekeler—would give Kansas City an added bonus further down on its depth chart.

Las Vegas Raiders: Edge Ezekiel Ansah

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    The Raiders produced only 21 sacks as a team in 2020. To address that issue, they added Yannick Ngakoue, Solomon Thomas and rookie third-round pick Malcolm Koonce this offseason.

    While those additions should help, Las Vegas should also consider taking a flier on Ezekiel Ansah.

    While the 32-year-old is coming off a torn biceps and hasn't had a double-digit-sack season since 2017, he could still have something to offer the Raiders as a reserve. He had 2.5 sacks and 10 quarterback pressures for the Seattle Seahawks in 2019 despite playing only 32 percent of their defensive snaps.

    Ansah doesn't project as a starter, as the Raiders have their primary edge-defenders in Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby. However, he would be a valuable and likely inexpensive depth option to help keep pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Los Angeles Chargers: Edge Allen Bailey

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    The Los Angeles Chargers parted with longtime pass-rusher Melvin Ingram this offseason after he played only seven games last season. With Ingram limited, the Chargers compiled only 27 sacks as a team, and star edge-rusher Joey Bosa notched 7.5 of those.

    While the Chargers did draft Chris Rumph II to help bolster their pass rush, they should consider adding former Chiefs and Falcons defensive end Allen Bailey as well.

    Bailey played a minor role (only nine starts) during his two years with the Falcons. However, he was adept at pressuring the quarterback prior to that in Kansas City.

    In 2018, Bailey logged six sacks and 17 quarterback pressures while playing 72 percent of the Chiefs' defensive snaps. His familiarity with Kansas City's roster could also benefit the Chargers during their biannual AFC West matchups with the Chiefs.

    Championship-caliber teams typically have multiple edge-rushing options. Adding Bailey to a group that includes Bosa, Rumph and Uchenna Nwosu would be a boon for L.A.

Los Angeles Rams: WR Golden Tate

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    After swapping out quarterback Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford, the Los Angeles Rams are one of the NFL's most well-rounded teams. On Monday, NBC Sports' Peter King picked them to represent the NFC in this year's Super Bowl.

    The Rams don't have any glaring weaknesses. But if they're looking for a luxury addition to their offense, they should consider wideout Golden Tate.

    The New York Giants released Tate in March, but he can still be a valuable role player. In 2020, he caught 35 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns while playing only 42 percent of the Giants' offensive snaps. 

    Tate has preexisting chemistry with Stafford, as the two spent more than four years together in Detroit. He can also provide special teams depth, as he is an experienced return man.

    As far as luxury signings go, adding Tate would be the perfect late move for a Rams team with championship aspirations.

Miami Dolphins: RB Devonta Freeman

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    The Miami Dolphins should be able to support second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with a strong receiving corps that includes William Fuller V, DeVante Parker and Jaylen Waddle. However, their backfield is a bit underwhelming.

    While the trio of Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed may be serviceable, none of them have more than seven starts in their respective careers. Gaskin and Ahmed were also part of a Dolphins backfield that ranked 29th in yards per carry last season.

    Miami should consider supplementing its ground game with seven-year veteran Devonta Freeman. While Freeman hasn't been a full-time starter since 2019, he does have 63 starts, 4,144 rushing yards and 2,073 receiving yards on his career resume.

    Freeman spent training camp with the New Orleans Saints, but they released him during their final cuts. While he wouldn't suddenly give the Dolphins an elite rushing attack, he would at least provide a reliable veteran presence in their backfield.

Minnesota Vikings: LB Mark Nzeocha

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    The Minnesota Vikings should have a better run defense than they did in 2020, when they ranked 27th in rushing yards allowed. They'll have Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks back after the two missed a combined 19 games last season, and they also spent a third-round pick on linebacker Chazz Surratt.

    However, Barr could miss the season opener because of an undisclosed injury, per ESPN's Courtney Cronin. Adding veteran linebacker Mark Nzeocha would help Minnesota bolster its linebacker depth, likely at an affordable price point.

    While Nzeocha has made only three career starts, he has appeared in 54 games over six seasons, including 36 games from 2017 through 2019 with the San Francisco 49ers. He has produced 40 career tackles, one sack and an interception. 

    With the Vikings down to only $5.3 million in cap space, they can't afford a top-tier option. Nzeocha might not be an exciting choice, he's a proven reserve linebacker whom they should be happy to add.

New England Patriots: WR John Brown

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    Now that the New England Patriots have committed to a more traditional pocket passer at quarterback—by going with rookie Mac Jones over departed veteran Cam Newton—they should continue improving their collection of perimeter targets.

    While a starting trio of Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne should be functional, adding speedy deep threat John Brown would be a smart move by New England.

    Brown signed with the Raiders this offseason but was released during final cuts. He spent the previous two years with the Bills and had a 1,000-yard campaign in 2019 before the arrival of reigning receptions leader Stefon Diggs. His experience in the AFC East going against divisional pass defenders could give him an added edge in New England.

    A proven deep threat, Brown has seven seasons and 4,748 receiving yards on his resume. With a career average of 14.8 yards per catch, he has the physical tools needed to add another vertical element to New England's passing game.

New Orleans Saints: WR Geronimo Allison

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    The Saints are set to be without No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas for at least the first five games of the season as he recovers from June ankle surgery. This leaves New Orleans light at wideout, where Tre'Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway and Lil'Jordan Humphrey are the top options.

    The Saints should take a flier on former Packers receiver Geronimo Allison. An undrafted free agent in 2016, Allison spent four years in Green Bay, compiling 89 receptions, 1,045 receiving yards and six touchdowns during that span.

    Allison also spent time on special teams, playing a total of 232 special teams snaps for the Packers.

    Last offseason, Allison signed with the Lions but then opted out of the 2020 season. He was released by Detroit during final cuts last month. While Allison wouldn't make for a high-profile signing, he could provide the Saints and new starting quarterback Jameis Winston with an experienced option who also carries special teams value.

New York Giants: CB Buster Skrine

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    The New York Giants are over the salary cap and are relatively hamstrung when it comes to signing marquee free agents. However, they should continue looking to improve a secondary that was good, not great in 2020.

    New York finished the year ranked 16th in passing yards allowed.

    While the Giants did add cornerback Adoree' Jackson in free agency, he's dealing with an ankle sprain and could miss Week 1.

    Regardless of Jackson's status, the Giants should take a flier on veteran corner Buster Skrine.

    Skrine, who is owed $3.3 million in dead money from Chicago, is probably the best option available that New York can get at a reasonable price. A 10-year veteran who has played both in the slot and on the perimeter, Skrine has 92 starts and 85 passes defended on his resume.

New York Jets: Edge Trent Murphy

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    The New York Jets made pass-rusher Carl Lawson their marquee free-agent signing of the offseason, and the team was quickly impressed by its new addition.

    "You watch the tape, he beats everybody," head coach Robert Saleh told reporters (h/t Tyler Greenawalt of Jets Wire).

    Unfortunately, Lawson suffered a season-ending Achilles tear during training camp. While the Jets have since traded for Shaq Lawson, adding another edge defender to the mix couldn't hurt.

    New York should take a chance on six-year veteran Trent Murphy. He spent the last three seasons battling AFC East offensive linemen as a member of the Bills. While Murphy produced only two sacks this past season, he also played a mere 32 percent of the snaps. Between 2018 and 2019, he logged nine sacks and 36 quarterback pressures.

    While Murphy might not be an instant-impact defender for New York, his divisional experience and ability to pressure opposing passers would make him a tremendous piece of depth on the edge.

Philadelphia Eagles: WR Danny Amendola

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    Though the Philadelphia Eagles used a first-round pick on wideout DeVonta Smith in April, their receiving corps still leaves plenty to be desired. With Travis Fulgham on the practice squad, Greg Ward Jr. is the most productive veteran on the roster in terms of 2020 numbers.

    Ward caught 53 passes for 419 yards and six touchdowns last season.

    If the Eagles want to set up quarterback Jalen Hurts for success, they need to add a proven pass-catcher to the mix. Twelve-year veteran Danny Amendola is just such a player.

    While Amendola is undoubtedly approaching the back nine of his career, he is still a productive receiver. With the Lions last season, he caught 46 passes for 602 yards in 14 games. He has amassed at least 500 receiving yards in each of the past four years and has far more experience than any wideout on Philadelphia's roster.

Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Mitchell Schwartz

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers are betting big on a 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger this season, and they're doing so with a revamped offensive line—one with new starters in left tackle Dan Moore Jr., right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor, center Kendrick Green and right guard Trai Turner.

    With Joe Haeg as the only backup tackle on Pittsburgh's depth chart, adding veteran Mitchell Schwartz would be a prudent move.

    While Schwartz missed 10 games in 2020 with a back injury, he never previously missed an NFL game. He has 134 games under his belt—all starts—and has loads of postseason experience from his five seasons with the Chiefs.

    Schwartz would give Pittsburgh some much-needed depth at tackle while providing a guiding veteran voice among the linemen. If the Steelers hope to make what could be Roethlisberger's final run a successful one, this is a move they must heavily consider.

San Francisco 49ers: CB Gareon Conley

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    The San Francisco 49ers should have a relatively complete team if they're able to stay healthy in 2021. One position group that could have trouble staying healthy is cornerback. 

    Perhaps that's why on Sunday, San Francisco added Josh Norman on a one-year deal worth up to $2.5 million, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

    If the 49ers want to continue adding insurance in the secondary, they should pick up cornerback Gareon Conley. The 26-year-old was a 2017 first-round pick of the Raiders. While he didn't work out in Las Vegas, he was serviceable during an eight-game stretch with the Texans in 2019—he allowed an opposing passer rating of only 87.1 in Houston.

    Conley spent the 2020 season on injured reserve following ankle surgery, and he clearly hasn't lived up to the expectations of being a first-round pick. However, he would be a fine developmental player with upside—either on the active roster or the practice squad—who can provide depth later in the season, especially if Jason Verrett or K'Waun Williams suffers an injury. 

Seattle Seahawks: LB Avery Williamson

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    The Seahawks would have been wise to retain standout linebacker K.J. Wright this offseason, but that ship has sailed. Wright remained unsigned until after final roster cuts, but he recently inked a one-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders.

    With Wright out of the picture, Seattle should look to veteran Avery Williamson to bolster its linebacker corps. With six seasons and 85 starts on his resume, Williamson is one of the most experienced linebackers left on the market.

    Williamson appeared in 15 games last season for the Jets and Steelers. He finished with 111 tackles, a sack, an interception and three tackles for loss.

    While Williamson has spent most of his career as a starter, he could provide depth for Seattle behind Jordyn Brooks, Bobby Wagner and Darrell Taylor. If Seattle ever needed a spot-starter, Williamson has shown that he's fully capable of holding down a starting role.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OL Nick Easton

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    The Buccaneers have no real holes to fill after bringing back all 22 offensive and defensive starters from their Super Bowl squad. However, offensive line depth should always be a consideration for a championship hopeful.

    As the Buccaneers saw firsthand against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, a banged-up offensive line can hamper even the most talented of quarterbacks. And it's not like the 44-year-old Tom Brady is going to scramble out of trouble.

    Therefore, it would be smart for the Buccaneers to pick up an experienced and versatile offensive lineman in Nick Easton. The 29-year-old has played left guard, right guard and center in the NFL and could back up all three spots for the Buccaneers.

    Easton also has two years of experience playing for the Saints, which means he should be familiar with facing many of the NFC South's top defenders.

    Line depth will be more important than ever in a 17-game season. Adding Easton would help Tampa navigate it.

Tennessee Titans: CB E.J. Gaines

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    The Tennessee Titans are just under the salary cap, which leaves them with few options when it comes to free agency. However, Tennessee should still be exploring avenues for addressing a secondary that ranked 29th in passing yards allowed last season.

    Tennessee used a first-round pick on Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley. However, Farley missed much of the offseason after undergoing back surgery and did not perform well in the preseason—he was the Titans' lowest-graded rookie by Pro Football Focus.

    E.J. Gaines is the perfect veteran corner for Tennessee to take an inexpensive flier on. He opted out of the 2020 season and didn't play in 2019 because of a core muscle injury. He was waived by Buffalo in January.

    During the 2018 season, though, he allowed an opposing passer rating of only 41.0. Considering his last contract was for just one year and $935,000, Gaines should be the rare experienced starter (38 career starts) who meshes with Tennessee's cap situation.

Washington Football Team: TE Tyler Eifert

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    The Washington Football Team is looking to make the jump from being NFC East champion to being a legitimate Super Bowl threat. It returns the bulk of a defense that ranked second overall in 2020, and it made an effort to revamp its passing attack this offseason.

    Washington added a veteran quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick, along with pass-catchers Adam Humphries, Curtis Samuel, rookie third-round pick Dyami Brown and rookie seventh-round pick Dax Milne. WFT could further enhance its receiving corps by scooping up tight end Tyler Eifert.

    Eifert has a long history of injuries—he missed 53 games in his first six seasons—but has played 31 games over the past two years. He caught 79 passes for 785 yards and five touchdowns during that span.

    Adding Eifert would give Washington an experienced receiving threat to partner with starter Logan Thomas and rookie fourth-round pick John Bates at the tight end spot.


    Cap and contract information via Spotrac. Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.