May is traditionally not a good month to acquire talent through the NFL free-agent market, but this year’s post-draft free agents are not conventional.
Multiple Pro Bowl and All-Pro players are unsigned for 2022. While most players are over 30 or about to turn 30, many might still be instant starters.
After NFL free agency and the draft, teams still have time to improve before obligatory camps.
Here, we’ll examine previous production, health, and positioning worth.
10. OT Eric Fisher
Eric Fisher isn’t the tremendous left tackle he once was, but he’s still serviceable, essential at a position defined by failures.
Last summer, the NFL Chiefs released the former No. 1 pick but started for the Colts. He helped Jonathan Taylor rush for 1,811 yards.
Fisher’s pass protection regressed in 2021, surrendering seven sacks. That’s one fewer than he permitted from 2018 to 2020.
His PFF grade of 68.2 still makes him a starter in the league.
Fisher addressed his durability. Last season, he played 15 games after the Chiefs released him with a torn Achilles.
He’s ideal for a squad that wants a veteran starter or swing tackle.
9. WR Julio Jones
Julio Jones may be more of a name now, but he still has value.
If healthy, the 33-year-old would rank higher. Julio Jones played 19 games over the past two seasons, so it’s fair to wonder if he can still play.
He’s not the playmaker he once was. In his final season with the Falcons, he averaged 11.3 yards per target, but he caught just one touchdown with the Titans.
At 6’3″ and 220 pounds, Jones is a large wide receiver. Jones may help a squad that needs a proven receiver.
8. T/G Daryl Williams
A line is only as good as its weakest link in the NFL, so it’s vital to be a solid offensive lineman.
Williams won’t set the world on fire, but he’s a high-floor guard/tackle. He earned a 79.4 rating at correct tackle in 2020 and a 67.5 grade while splitting time between guard and tackle in 2019.
He’ll be 30 before the season and has played in every regular-season game the last three years, so his health is OK.
Given his experience, he’d be a good fit for a team that needs depth at the correct tackle.
7. DT Akiem Hicks
Akiem Hicks played nine games in NFL last season due to ankle and groin problems.
That’s the only reason a pass-rusher like Hicks is still available. When healthy, the 32-year-old still delivers. Despite injuries, Sports Info Solutions says he had 3.5 sacks and a 9.7% pressure rate.
This percentage is comparable to DeForest Buckner (9.8), Quinnen Williams (9.6), and Jeffery Simmons (9.3) (9.5).
Hicks has played the five-technique in 3-4 and every other interior position.
Hicks won’t play many snaps. His most delicate role is in a defensive tackle rotation, where he can stay healthy.
6. TE Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski has remained a top tight end despite retirement rumors and injuries. Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews had more yards per game than him last year.
Gronk’s health is a significant “if.” Draft Sharks predicts he’ll miss at least two quarters in 2022 due to his age and injuries.
Back, chest, and knee problems have plagued the 33-year-old.
He hasn’t committed to playing because of his vast history.
“If I’m not all in to do that, I won’t put myself out there,” Gronkowski added. “But if I feel like doing that again, putting my body on the line, I’d sign another contract.'”
Gronkowski will likely rejoin Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Other teams might use his skills to improve their offensive.
5. Edge Trey Flowers
Trey Flowers’ three years in Detroit were underwhelming.
In his debut season, he had seven sacks, but his $90 million five-year contract with Detroit has been a disaster. In 14 games, he has 3.5 sacks.
That doesn’t necessarily reflect his talent.
Flowers’ second season in Detroit was more effective than his sack count suggests, garnering an 83.3 PFF rating in seven games. He had 13 total pressures against the run.
Flowers wasn’t contracted to play in Dan Campbell’s defense, so he was less productive in 2021.
He’s 29 and proven in a critical position. Given a new team and the chance to recuperate from knee and shoulder ailments, he might have a successful 2022 NFL season.
4. OT Duane Brown
Duane Brown isn’t as good as he once was, but he can still start.
Brown is 37 and still unsigned, which is dangerous. He’s started every game the last two seasons and is still good.
Brown has done enough to deserve another chance. Last season, he was the Seahawks’ highest-graded lineman (72.0).
Last season, Brown gave up eight sacks. Russell Wilson is one of the most-sacked quarterbacks due to a subpar offensive line and his tendency to extend plays.
Brown is one of the few healthy starting-caliber left tackles available. Brown is a one-year stopgap to guard the quarterback’s blindside.
3. C J.C Tretter
Surprisingly, a good center like J.C. Tretter is still available.
Tretter left Cleveland for financial reasons, not his play or health. He was Pro Football Focus’ fifth-highest rated player and only allowed one sack.
The seasoned center is 31 years old, but his health is fine. In the last five seasons, he’s played 16 games.
Tretter’s experience and leadership will benefit any team that signs him. He’ll be a great pass protector and run game asset from Day 1.
Anyone with inner questions should consult him.
2. WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t a WR1 anymore. Injuries and age have slowed him down, but he proved that he could be a Super Bowl contender with the Los Angeles Rams.
Except for touchdowns, OBJ’s Rams numbers were similar to his Cleveland numbers (five touchdowns in eight games, none in six games with the Browns). Beckham was a huge part of the Rams’ attack after he reached the playoffs for the second NFL season.
He caught 21 passes for 288 yards and two scores in four postseason games.
Beckham would be signed already if not for health problems. He tore his ACL in the Super Bowl, so it’s unclear when and how he’ll return.
Any club trying to strengthen their receiving corps should add Beckham.
1. Edge Jadeveon Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney signed a one-year “prove-it” agreement with the Cleveland Browns after an injury-plagued season with Tennessee.
He proved he’s still a starting edge defender in the league. Clowney got nine sacks after only three the previous two years. In 14 games, he played 74% of the snaps.
Playing Myles Garrett may have helped. Clowney is a high-end No. 2 pass-rusher.
Clowney’s strengths as a run-defender make him best suited for a team that gives him a similar workload to Cleveland.
The Browns should still be interested in him.
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