Sports

Best Available NFL Free Agents: Charles Woodson, Brent Grimes, Fred Davis, Karlos Dansby and More

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If the first wave of free agency wasn’t over when I declared the winners and losers a few days ago, I think Ed Reed finally signing with the Texans can provide a little closure. The flashy young stars and departing heroes of the Ravens Super Bowl run have all found new homes. Don’t you go thinking the talent pool has been sucked dry though. Especially where veteran pass rushers are concerned. If you’re feeling a bit down about your team’s lack of action to this point in the offseason, don’t panic just yet. There are still plenty of solid free agents available, I’ll list the best below.

Charles Woodson

With Ed Reed signing in Texas, that makes Charles Woodson the best defensive back left in free agency. At 36 years old and coming off of a season hampered by injuries there is no telling how much Woodson has left in the tank; that being said, it’s worth the risk to find out. What should make him especially sought after should be his ability to play either safety, or cornerback. He’s been linked to San Francisco ever since his release, but don’t be surprised if their NFC West rival, the Seattle Seahawks, make a push for him. On a one year deal there would be little to no risk, he would get a great shot at one last Super Bowl and he would fill their need for a nickel cornerback admirably.

Brent Grimes

Kind of surprised by how little attention Grimes is getting. After what was an amazing 2012 season, the Atlanta Falcons placed their franchise tag on Grimes for 2013. About that 2013 season... It was a little disappointing. Grimes was placed on season ending IR in week 1, and that was all she wrote. After letting Dunta Robinson go, conventional wisdom would suggest that they were going to re-up Grimes. Or not. Depending on the price, whoever does sign him will be getting one hell of a cover corner.

Fred Davis

I’m surprised by how little attention the aforementioned Brent Grimes is getting. I’m flabbergasted by how little Davis is getting. Davis, much like Grimes, had a great 2012 season and followed it up with a 2013 campaign derailed by injury. Can’t believe Davis is still on the market, and I can’t imagine it will last much longer. Could see a team like Cleveland or Tampa Bay taking a run at Davis. Wouldn’t rule the Dolphins out either, he does catch the ball after all...

Osi Umenyiora

I think the main reason Umenyiora is still unsigned has to do with the fact that he’s only half as good as what his likely asking price would indicate. Then again, Umenyiora has always only been half as good as he thinks he is; which is still very good. I haven’t heard much to indicate where Umenyiora might be headed, but I think New England, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay would make sense as potential landing spots.

Dwight Freeney

Freeney isn’t what he used to be, but in the right defense (and by right I mean a 4-3 and 4-3 only) he could be a solid contributor on the defensive line. Teams could be shying away from Freeney based on the fact that he only had 5 sacks last season, but it’s not an entirely reasonable way to gauge his value. Last season he not only switched schemes (from a 4-3 to a 3-4), but positions as well. I’m sure he’s looking to make the switch back to defensive end. He’s visited with the New England Patriots already (seems like everyone has), but Atlanta is also rumoured to be in the hunt for Freeney’s services.

Karlos Dansby

What’s most peculiar about Dansby becoming a free agent, is that I’m still not all that sure his replacement Dannell Ellerbe is any better than him. That’s even judging Dansby based on last season as he played through numerous injuries. Whatever the case, he’s on the market. As ironic as this may be I think the Baltimore Ravens make sense as a potential suitor for Dansby. Plenty of good football left in Dansby, and whoever signs him will be all the better because of it.

Andre Smith

With the bordering on absurd amount of cap space the Bengals have at their disposal, I’m not sure why they haven’t re-signed Smith. With Jake Long signing in St. Louis Smith is probably the best tackle left on the market; Sebastian Vollmer certainly gives him a run for his money. Smith has struggled with consistency, and weight over his 5 year career, but is slowly putting those issues behind him. Smith put together a great 2012 campaign, and his remaining a free agent probably has something to do with his wanting to cash in on it big time.

You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV