There are still dozens of intriguing athletes remaining on the free agent market who played for an NFL team in 2017. For varying reasons, many of them won’t be signed this year. Those reasons include depreciating ability, cost, and political positioning, among other things. But, there are a few players who we’d love to see signed before Week 1.
Keep in mind, this is not a list of the best free agents left on the open market.
1. WR Dez Bryant
If you watched Hard Knocks on Tuesday night, you saw a glimpse into Bryant’s visit with the Browns. What you didn’t see is why he decided not to sign with Cleveland after everything said on the show made it seem like he was ready to become a member of the team. Bryant has 73 touchdowns in the last eight seasons and at times has been an incredibly fun player to watch. At just 29-years-old and in great shape, you’d have to think he could make a comeback in the right situation. There are NFL teams who could use Bryant’s services and someone should give him a call before the season starts.
2. CB Bashaud Breeland
It’s unclear why Breeland remains unsigned. He agreed to a three-year, $24 million deal with the Carolina Panthers earlier this offseason, but it fell through due to the cornerback dealing with a foot infection. Now, he’s just waiting for his next opportunity after starting 14 games last season and 57 games since 2014. Last year he had 50 tackles, 19 passes defensed, and one interception (which went for a touchdown). The foot injury cost him millions and the opportunity to spend this spring and summer with a team. Someone should give him a chance before the season gets underway.
3. S Eric Reid
The Bengals were the only team to bring in Reid for a workout this offseason, but they hardly gave him a shot as owner Mike Brown spent more time quizzing him on his plans for protesting during the national anthem than evaluating his play. Now Brown and the Bengals are facing a complaint from Reid, which an NFL arbitrator is hearing. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan hasn’t completely shut the door on bringing Reid back and after a 12 start, 52 tackle season, Reid certainly could offer talent to an NFL team. In fact, he’d be a capable starter.
4. DT Johnathan Hankins
Sometimes NFL players have inexplicably short careers in the pros. Hankins remains on the free agent market after a two sack, 24 tackle, three passes defensed season in 2017. He started 15 games for the Colts last year while on a three-year, $30 million contract, which Indianapolis terminated in March. It’s funny how you can go from starter to unemployed in the span of a few months. He remains available for a team that ends up needing help at defensive tackle/nose tackle and is just 26 years old.
5. QB Jay Cutler
Cutler was not a good quarterback in 2017. There’s pretty much no team that needs him on their roster this year. But at the same time, watching Cutler on Very Cavallari has made us appreciate him on a whole new level. This is a guy who says things like, “I’m not really looking to do a lot of work right now. I’m looking to do the exact opposite of that.” And that’s the kind of entertaining Monday morning press conferences we’re trying to watch from a quarterback in 2018. If no team signs Cutler (which is highly likely, considering he’s “not really looking to do a lot of work right now”) at least we can watch him on his wife’s reality TV show.
Retired NFL defensive end Stephen White has been grinding tape all summer to figure out which players are poised for a big leap forward in 2018.
Hard Knocks featured an enlightening glimpse into Dez Bryant’s visit with the Browns. Though, it ended without a contract.
Bob Wylie is our new emperor.
Like college football, too? Check out our comprehensive preview of the 2018 CFB season.
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Kelvin Benjamin, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
Kelvin Benjamin on Josh Allen starting Sunday: “You’re driving the car right now. No matter what you’re driving, an Escalade or a Volkswagen, or whatever, you’re driving the car. And all the parts of the car looking at you.”— Sal Capaccio (@SalSports) August 22, 2018