As free agency slows, our picks for top 10 players still on market
|03.20.13 at 1:00 pm ET|
The game of musical chairs that is NFL free agency is starting to wind down, and while the music is still going, the chairs are starting to disappear. That being said, there are some quality free agents left on the market who still haven’t found a home. Here are our top 10 unrestricted free agents still on the market:
Defensive end Elvis Dumervil: Dumervil — the victim of a fax screwup that cost him millions — reportedly will return to the Broncos, but the Ravens, Titans and Steelers also were sniffing around the pass-rusher. According to the Denver Post, Broncos head of football operations John Elway wouldn’t discuss the specifics of the new offer to Dumervil, but expectations are that it would be a three-year deal for significantly less than the $30 million Dumervil would have been owed under his original contract.
Tackle Sebastian Vollmer: Part of the second wave of tackles behind Jake Long, he faces a fluid market. The Patriots appear to be waiting out the market, much like they did on cornerback Aqib Talib. There have been some injury issues, but when he’s been healthy, he’s been one of the best tackles in the league.
Tackle Andre Smith: This 26-year-old out of Alabama managed to live down a hideous pro day pic to become one of the best tackles in the league. He made all 16 starts at right tackle for the Bengals last year and graded out as the best in the league at his position, per Pro Football Focus.
Defensive end Osi Umenyiora: Umenyiora reportedly has drawn the interest of the Lions and Dolphins, but at a price significant below what the defensive end is looking for. The market for veteran pass-rushing defensive ends rough this season — not as bad as it is for corners, but it’s still depressed. The 31-year old Umenyiora, a 6-foot-3, 261-pounder, has 75 career sacks, including 15 over the last two seasons.
Cornerback Brent Grimes: The 29-year-old Grimes suffered an Achilles injury last September and was on the shelf for virtually the entire season, but the 5-foot-10, 183-pound veteran could still play an important role for a defense in 2013 if he’s healthy. Grimes had his best season in 2010 with the Falcons, when he finished with 87 tackles (76 solo), 23 passes defensed and five interceptions.
Safety Ed Reed: We’ve long believed that the 34-year-old Reed would be a good fit in New England, but the future Hall of Famer has spent most of free agency batting his eyes while the Texans buy him drinks. At this point, it appears that the 5-foot-11, 205-pound Reed has narrowed his choices to Houston and Baltimore. (UPDATE: Reed has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Texans)
Defensive end John Abraham: The Patriots have been suitors for Abraham — and there’s an odd story about Abraham booking his own flight to Miami to try to drum up some interest with the Dolphins — but at this point, he remains unsigned. The 34-year-old, who recently was cut loose by the Falcons after seven seasons in Atlanta, has spent a total of 13 seasons in the league, and has at least 9.5 sacks in each of his last three seasons and 122 over the course of his career.
Defensive end/outside linebacker Dwight Freeney: The Patriots hosted Freeney on a visit, but no contract has been signed. Over the course of his impressive career, the 33-year-old Freeney has racked up 107.5 sacks, including 13.5 over the last two seasons with Indy.
Linebacker/defensive end James Harrison: Like Umenyiora (and Abraham and Freeney), Harrison is finding a quiet market for veteran pass-rushers. Harrison, who was cut because he didn’t want to take a pay cut from Pittsburgh, been connected with several teams — in an odd twist, he even talked about the possibility of playing for the Patriots — but the 34-year-old remains without a team. He’s got an impressive resume (former Defensive Player of the Year, 64 career sacks) but is still on the market.
Cornerback Antoine Winfield: People around the league rave about the guy, but after a week of free agency, he remains available. The Vikings cut the 35-year-old corner loose earlier this month, and while there’s already been a lot of talk in the Twin Cities about his potential return, the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder reportedly has several visits lined up. Winfield, who has played for both the Vikings and Bills, had a great season last year with Minnesota, finishing with 101 tackles (72 solo), 12 passes defensed and three picks.