Most NFL teams are done adding big names to their roster, but as we wade Patriots vs Seahawks Live Online through what normally serves as preseason territory in the lead-up to the 2020 campaign, plenty of clubs could still be on the lookout for veteran reinforcements. With additional roster allowances implemented for a season already affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the late-offseason free agency pool could prove even more valuable than ever before. But who, exactly, is still out there, unsigned on the market?
We’re glad you asked. Here’s a rundown of the top 10 veteran free agents still available as the season draws near:
10. CB Dre Kirkpatrick
He’s finished two straight seasons on injured reserve and will be 31 in October, but if you’re looking for experience on the outside, you can do worse. Two years removed from a rock-solid year in which he allowed just a 44 percent completion percentage on targets his way, Kirkpatrick would make for a bargain addition to a team looking for short-term insurance or a spot starter.
9. RB Devonta Freeman
Contrary to Freeman’s apparent belief, he isn’t a player who can or should command even mid-tier money right now. Even though he’s just 28, bruising running backs with recent injury histories just don’t warrant a big investment. Still, Freeman’s reputation as a regular pass catcher shouldn’t be overlooked, either. As a hard-nosed situational back, he’d be rock solid.
Until recently, when, Matthews was a forgotten soldier in free agency. At 34, he’s certainly nowhere close to the perennial Pro Bowler he was in his best Green Bay days. But as a pure pass rusher, he’s got plenty left in the tank, fresh off an eight-sack season with the Rams. As a third-down specialist, why not?
7. DL Mike Daniels
Cincinnati is reportedly planning to finalize a deal with the longtime Packers lineman after hosting him for a visit, but the 31-year-old big man remains unsigned thus far. Like Matthews, his Green Bay prime is in the rear-view mirror, but you could argue he’ll benefit from getting out of Detroit as he looks to rebound from an injury-plagued run. At the very least, he’s still a huge interior presence.
6. WR Josh Gordon
It’s possible, at this point in Gordon’s suspension-filled journey, that we’re overrating the former Browns star. For all the talk of a potential Seattle reunion, after all, Gordon totaled a whopping seven catches and 139 yards in five games with the Seahawks in 2019, and that was after 31 other teams passed on him. Still, his size and big-play ability are worth a low-risk flyer.
5. S Eric Reid
It’s possible the former 49ers standout is holding out for a deal comparable to the three-year, $22 million contract he had with the Panthers, who abruptly cut him loose in March. Regardless, there’s little reason Reid, 28, shouldn’t be on a team. He’s not perfect in coverage, but he’s also coming off a whopper of a year in Carolina (130 tackles, four sacks, two fumble recoveries).
4. WR Antonio Brown
You could put an asterisk on this one, because, talent-wise, Brown is easily No. 1. But any team that signs him is probably signing up for something like a 10-game absence once the NFL wraps up its investigation of his off-field issues, not to mention any additional character baggage that accompanies the former All-Pro. Down the stretch, though? He could still be one of the NFL’s top WRs.
3. DB Logan Ryan
After unsuccessfully holding out for a $10M-per-year deal as a cornerback, Ryan is reportedly now advertising himself as a hybrid safety. At either spot, he deserves a long, hard look from any club with playoff aspirations. The 29-year-old isn’t lock-down material, but he’s thrived for two different Super Bowl contenders and should be able to start right away.
Who knows what kind of money Clowney is actually seeking if he’s still without a team in mid-August, because clubs have taken swings at other injury-riddled vets without hosting thorough physicals this offseason. Even if he isn’t worth close to $20M either in the short or long term, though, Clowney remains a physical freak with the attributes to reshape an entire D-line.
Clowney is easily the bigger name and — literally — the bigger pass rusher; his addition would cause more opponents to rethink game plans. But Griffen isn’t getting as much love as he deserves. He’s 32 but has flexed an even higher pass rushing ceiling than Clowney in terms of actual production, averaging 9.5 sacks per season over the last six years. He’d be a Day One No. 1 at DE.