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The pool of available NFL free agents is rapidly dwindling.
Many of the players who remain unsigned are flawed in some way, whether that is because they are coming off major injuries, saw a recent drop in production or are in thee twilight of their careers.
Despite those flaws, many of these veteran talents still represent significant upgrades for a good number of rosters. While teams have fewer holes at this point in the offseason thanks to the draft and earlier free-agent signings, there are still plenty of voids to fill.
With that in mind, here’s a look at eight players who somehow haven’t found a new home yet and should be in line for a new deal soon. Players are listed in alphabetical order.
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Odell Beckham Jr. is still looking for a new team following his resurgence with the Los Angeles Rams last season. The veteran looked rejuvenated after signing with the Super Bowl champions, helping them win a ring while emerging as a big part of the team’s offense.
Unfortunately, OBJ suffered a torn ACL early in Super Bowl LVI and isn’t likely to be available at the start of the 2022 campaign.
It’s understandable why NFL teams would be leery of signing an aging wideout coming off a significant injury. Caution should certainly be exercised, too, considering Beckham’s tumultuous tenure with the Cleveland Browns.
Despite this, there are few options left for an organization to bolster its receiving corps, and Beckham is undoubtedly one of the best wideouts still available.
The 29-year-old did some great work with the Rams prior to the injury, racking up 305 yards and five scores in eight regular-season games. In the playoffs, he notched 21 catches for 288 yards and two touchdowns, including the first of Super Bowl LVI.
It’s clear the Rams and Beckham are a great fit, and the two sides would each benefit from staying together.
Head coach Sean McVay recently said he “really wants” OBJ back this year. Beckham tweeted that the feeling is mutual but made it clear he wants to be paid.
Los Angeles has just a shade under five million in cap space available—the fourth-fewest amount in the league—which could make it tricky to give Beckham the big-money deal he desires.
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Duane Brown has adequately manned one of the game’s most important positions for 14 years.
Despite his status as one of the league’s most consistent left tackles, the longtime veteran is still looking for a new home this offseason.
Brown started all 17 games for the Seattle Seahawks last season and has missed just four starts since the start of the 2018 campaign. The 36-year-old made the 2021 Pro Bowl, proving he can still be a reliable asset.
While Brown did regress slightly last season—he earned his lowest PFF grade since his rookie year—he still scored a highly respectable 71.5.
The five-time Pro Bowler should be on the mind of any general manager who isn’t sold on his team’s blindside protection capabilities. That includes Omar Khan, who has the unenviable task of keeping the Pittsburgh Steelers competitive in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era.
Brown represents a real upgrade over Dan Moore Jr., a fifth-round pick in 2021 who earned a concerning 57.8 PFF grade as a rookie starter at left tackle.
Replacing Moore with Brown would give the young lineman a chance to learn from one of the league’s best while offering much more reliable protection to whichever QB ends up winning the Steelers’ starting job.
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Clubs with low-tier options at left tackle could look to sign Eric Fisher as a cheap, steady and effective upgrade.
While he’s not a superstar, Fisher has been consistently solid. There are plenty of teams that would greatly benefit from adding a reliable, experienced offensive tackle, even if he only grades out as league-average.
Since coming into the league as the No. 1 pick in 2013, Fisher has played in 132 of a possible 145 games. He suffered a torn Achilles during the 2021 AFC Championship Game as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs—the first major injury of his career—and was released that offseason, catching on with the Indianapolis Colts in free agency.
Fisher finished up the 2021 season with a respectable 68.2 PFF grade, a score that puts him on the fringe between starter and backup. That’s exactly the type of player the 31-year-old is at this juncture of his career—he can offer quality depth as a swing tackle or serviceable starting efforts if necessary.
The New York Jets are a great place for Fisher to land at a cheap cost. Gang Green has had a fantastic offseason but could further bolster the protection of second-year quarterback Zach Wilson with this signing.
Fisher would make an excellent swing tackle for New York while also offering insurance behind left tackle Mekhi Becton, who played just 48 snaps last season because of a serious knee injury.
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With pass-rushing talent at a premium in the modern NFL, it’s tough to fathom why a skilled edge-rusher like Trey Flowers remains unsigned.
The Arkansas product did miss 16 games during the final two years of a three-season stint with the Detroit Lions. Prior to those injury-plagued campaigns, Flowers had notched at least 6.5 sacks for four consecutive seasons.
After winning two titles with the New England Patriots, Flowers joined former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia in the Motor City back in 2019. He didn’t miss a beat, recording seven sacks while only playing 65 percent of Detroit’s defensive snaps that season.
Although he only recorded 1.5 sacks last year while dealing with a knee issue, Flowers could bounce back in the right situation with a clean bill of health.
Catching on with a veteran-laden squad like the Los Angeles Rams—where there is significant need for a proven edge-rusher following the departure of Von Miller in free agency—could be the perfect fit. Flowers would get a chance to turn his career around, while LA would net a relentless pass-rusher at a bargain-bin cost.
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The Baltimore Ravens brought in Justin Houston to provide dependable production and leadership to their young outside linebacking corps. The veteran answered the call, racking up 4.5 sacks on 579 defensive snaps across 15 games.
Despite Houston’s impact, the team has yet to re-sign the 33-year-old. Baltimore brass did place a rare UFA tender on Houston, giving the club exclusive rights to negotiate with him if he hasn’t found a new team before July 22.
While Houston may have some options, a return to Baltimore may make the most sense for both parties.
The Ravens would benefit from the veteran’s steady presence as Tyus Bowser gets back up to speed following a torn Achilles. Rookie second-round pick David Ojabo is also coming off a ruptured Achilles and may not be available at all during the 2022 campaign.
Odafe Oweh managed to stay healthy during his standout rookie campaign, but he also said he wants to see Houston return this year (via BaltimoreRavens.com):
“Yes, we’ve kept in touch. We were together in California like right after the season. But, yes, I’m down for whatever. Justin Houston, he taught me a lot last year. Obviously, off the field and on the field. We can use all the help we can get. So, I’m cool with it.”
While Houston could still technically sign elsewhere within the next two months, Baltimore should be hoping he returns and helps guide the organization back to the playoffs in 2022.
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It’s hard to believe a standout corner with a decade of experience has remained unsigned to this point.
Yet, somehow Jackrabbit Jenkins is still available despite providing quality cornerback play at each of his four stops since entering the league in 2012.
Jenkins is coming off a good showing with the Tennessee Titans in 2021. The 33-year-old started 13 of the 14 games he played for the club, recording 54 tackles, six passes defended and one interception.
While Jenkins did look susceptible to the big play at times—he allowed 55 completions and six touchdowns on 90 targets—he can still be an asset in the right scheme. Only two players had more pass breakups than the 43 Jenkins accumulated between the 2018 and 2020 seasons.
Teams needing a depth corner who can step up in case of injury should be trying to lure the former Pro Bowler over on a cheap contract.
The Arizona Cardinals have glaring holes in their secondary that need to be addressed. The team currently has Byron Murphy, Marco Wilson and Antonio Hamilton as their top options and would greatly benefit from Jenkins’ presence.
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Julio Jones was widely regarded as one of the NFL’s elite wideouts during his decade-long tenure with the Atlanta Falcons.
His reputation took a hit following a down season with the Tennessee Titans in 2021, though. Jones struggled to stay healthy—missing seven games—and never seemed to be a fit in Tennessee’s offense when he was active on the way to 31 receptions for 434 yards and one touchdown.
The 33-year-old is coming off the worst season of his storied career, but Jones is still worth a long look from wideout-needy squads.
Jones, a seven-time Pro Bowler, was still productive as recently as 2020. Although he was absent for seven games that season, too, he still caught 51 balls for 771 yards and three scores.
Prior to that, Jones had tallied up six consecutive 1,000-plus yard campaigns and missed just four contests between the 2014 and 2019 seasons.
The Indianapolis Colts would be an intriguing place for Jones to land after the organization traded for Matt Ryan this offseason.
A reunion could revitalize both veterans, giving them a final shot at contending for an elusive ring together in the twilight of their respective careers.
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Long known as one of the NFL’s better run-stuffing nose tackles, Linval Joseph showed last season that he still can be productive in pass-rushing situations.
The 6’4″, 323-pound lineman played in 14 games for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2021, notching 57 tackles—three for loss—two QB hits and a sack in that span.
Although the 33-year-old is no longer the type of game-changing defender he was during his prime, the two-time Pro Bowler can still swallow up rushers and fill space in the trenches when he’s dialed in.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ recent signing of Akiem Hicks leaves Joseph as arguably the top nose tackle left available. Joseph scored a 63.1 PFF grade last year—a slight regression from his 68.7 mark in 2020—but he’s still adequate as a rotational run-stopper.
Cleveland boasts a pair of elite edge defenders in Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, but it lacks supporting talent on the interior, meaning Joseph could be a great fit with the Browns. The team did draft Perrion Winfrey in the fourth round to complement free-agent signing Taven Bryan, but neither has Joseph’s proven pedigree.