Yesterday, we took a look at the top offensive free agents that are still available, and now it’s time to look at players on the defensive side of the ball who are still unsigned. Most of these players are veterans who are getting on in age, but they’re still capable of playing and contributing to a team in 2013.
John Abraham – Despite his age, it’s amazing that Abraham is still available; he had 10 sacks and forced six fumbles last season. At worse, he’s a part-time pass rusher that will collect half a dozen sacks this season, but he’s probably capable of doing even more than that, and some team out there should be willing to pay him what he’s worth to get a player of his caliber.
Justin Bannan – Bannan had the second highest tackle total of his career last season with the Broncos, proving that he can still play in the trenches. He won’t be a terribly expensive free agent to sign, and he should be a steady and reliable player along the defensive front, which means there should be several teams out there that could use him.
Nick Barnett – It’s definitely going to be tough to find a job when the Bills release you, but Barnett is still good enough to help out an NFL team. He deserves another chance to prove that, even after being released by one of the worst defensive teams in football.
Keith Brooking – Brooking may have a lot of wear and tear on him after 15 NFL seasons, but he did a fine job as the middle linebacker on a Denver defense that was pretty good last year. He’d be a great locker roomer presence to have on any team, and if nothing else he can still be a viable back up.
Sheldon Brown – Brown is well past his prime, but he had a solid season last year in Cleveland, and he’s also managed to stay healthy throughout his career, so the injury risk for Brown isn’t what it might be for other players his age. There are plenty of NFL teams out there with a lackluster secondary on paper, and many of those teams could use a guy like Brown on their roster.
Nate Clements – He’s a bit old, but Clements will add both experience and versatility to a secondary if a team is willing to sign him. He’s mostly a safety, but he can play a little cornerback if necessary, and he knows how to defend the pass, which would make him a good pickup for any team that’s still looking for help in the secondary.
Casey Hampton – After 12 years with the Steelers, Hampton is looking for a new home, and someone out there should be willing to give him one. There hasn’t been a huge dip in his production over the past few years, and he can still plug the middle better than the average nose tackle, so it’s hard to imagine someone not giving him a chance to play in 2013.
Kerry Rhodes – It’s certainly been an eventful offseason for Rhodes away from football, but if a team is willing to put up with a little distraction, he’s still capable of being a useful asset to an NFL secondary.
Bart Scott – He was released by the Jets mainly for financial reasons, not because he can’t play. Scott may not be a Pro-Bowler anymore, and he speaks his mind more than most organizations would prefer, but he’s the kind of player that you love to have on your defense, and some team out there must be able to find a role that he can play for them.
Richard Seymour – Contract negotiations fell through with the Falcons last month, but with the right monetary offer, Seymour will hold off on retiring and become an asset for a team in 2013. He’s no longer young, but he still has plenty of size and the ability to clog the middle. He was one of the few bright spots on Oakland’s defense last season, despite only playing eight games, and he still has enough in the tank to bolster someone’s defensive line in 2013.