While many of the primary free agents are off the board, there are still a few free agents that could make a big time impact for the 2014 season. Some who are still on the market are either seeking too much money or have a questionable injury history, but could be productive if they get an opportunity and stay healthy.
Here are five unemployed free agents who should make a strong impact in 2014.
1. Alex Mack, Transition Tag, Cleveland Browns
Mack is listed as a transition free agent. The Browns placed the “transition tag” on their veteran center, which means he can visit with other teams, but Cleveland can match any offer made by another team within five days. According to the NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, the Browns, Ravens and Colts are the top suitors for his services.
He’s in a situation where he wants a big-time contract and it’s probably not going to happen at this point . The transaction tag pays him $10 million for one year with the Browns. No team will likely match or exceed that offer.
The 21st overall pick in the 2009 draft, Mack hasn’t missed a game in his first five years in the league. He would be a dependable center for an offensive line looking for an upgrade. It’s likely he’ll be with the Browns next season, but expect him to continue what he does, provide physical play up front.
2. Jermichael Finley, TE, UFA
Finley’s scary neck injury in a game against the Cleveland Browns curtailed his last season. It’s more about getting all the way back and making sure he can pass a physical and stay healthy. The Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants have been the team most linked to the tight end. Seahawks GM John Schneider said: “It’s all about safety for him.”
Since 2008, the former Green Bay Packers tight end hauled in 223 catches for 2,785 yards and 20 touchdowns and can be a big target for any quarterback.
3. Sidney Rice, WR, UFA
The Seattle Seahawks released the veteran wide receiver after the season, but could be interested in bringing him back since at a lower price with the departure of Golden Tate to the Detroit Lions. Other teams interested are the New Orleans Saints and the New York Jets.
Rice has endured multiple knee injuries, including ACL surgery in the past. When he’s healthy he could make the team as a veteran receiver and a mentor to the younger weapons. Since 2007, he’s caught 243 balls for 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns. If he can land with a team and stay healthy, he should provide some sort of impact in 2014.
4. Kevin Williams, DT, UFA
Williams is a six-time Pro Bowler past his prime, but could certainly be a factor on a rotational basis for a contender in 2014. The 33-year-old spent his first 11 years with the Minnesota Vikings and produced 331 tackles and 60 sacks during that span.
The market has been quiet on him thus far, but could pick up once the draft is over and teams are looking for more veteran-like help.
5. Owen Daniels, TE, UFA
Daniels has endured knee troubles in the past, but can still be a productive weapon in 2014. The 31-year-old only caught 24 passes for the Houston Texans last season, but is a season removed from catching 62 passes and hauled in 70 balls in 2008.
The Green Bay Packers, who are in the market for a tight end after Jermichael Finley’s injury and departure to free-agency, are a team to watch. The Washington Redskins as an insurance policy for Jordan Reed and Baltimore Ravens are among interested suitors as well.