Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Rachel Wold |
The NFL free agency frenzy is far behind, and most of the viable options have since signed deals with either their old teams or new squads.
Furthermore, teams looking to fill holes also addressed needs through the 2016 NFL Draft. As a result of all of this activity, many NFL veterans remain out in the cold.
While some players are well past their primes and may be stuck as free agents into training camp, there are some select guys who are surprisingly still available. Let’s take a look at five.
Anquan Boldin, wide receiver, San Francisco 49ers
It is nearly June and the 49ers haven’t been in contact with Boldin since February. They also don’t seem too interested in retaining him.
An original second-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2003, Boldin is one of the most-resilient wide receivers in the NFL, even at the age of 35.
Over a career that has spanned 13 years with the Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, Boldin has played in 186 of 208 games. He has also maintained a stout average of 1,007 receiving yards per season with three Pro Bowl appearances mixed in.
Unfortunately, Boldin posted his lowest numbers in years (789 yards and four touchdowns) in 2015. Those stats are a bit misleading, as Boldin can’t be blamed for San Francisco’s horrendous quarterback situation last season.
Boldin clearly could contribute to a team in need at the position. With Steve Smith Sr. giving it another go around at 37, there’s no reason to believe Boldin shouldn’t be an effective playmaker should he be given the opportunity to suit up this fall.
Patriots, are you listening?
Dwight Freeney, defensive end, Arizona Cardinals
Adam Schefter@AdamSchefter: “Former Cardinals’ pass rusher Dwight Freeney, visiting Cincinnati today, told @JimTrotter_NFL that he likely will visit Atlanta next week.”
At 36 years of age, Freeney isn’t quite ready to call it quits in the NFL.
Drafted in the first round by the Indianapolis Colts in 2002, the All-Pro played for 10 seasons in Indy before spending two years in San Diego and playing for Arizona this past season.
Proving that he is still a capable pass rusher, Freeney recorded a team-high eight sacks as a member of the Cardinals. Unfortunately at this time, it doesn’t appear that Arizona is interested in rolling the dice with Freeney again in 2016.
After visiting with the Cincinnati Bengals, it would appear that Freeney is still in hunt of a new home. He is reportedly on schedule to visit the Atlanta Falcons next week.
With second-year defensive end Vic Beasley recording a team-high four sacks as a rookie, the Falcons could certainly use some assistance in this department.
If not the Falcons, it still seems realistic that Freeney could add value somewhere in the NFL.
Real Life. Real News. Real Voices
Help us tell more of the stories that matterBecome a founding member
Arian Foster, running back, Houston Texans
It was not too long ago that Foster was a stud running back for Houston, posting 1,573 total yards and 13 scores back in 2014.
The reason Foster remains on the market is that this tremendous performance was sandwiched in between two injury-plagued seasons that saw Foster miss 20 of a possible 32 games.
Considering Foster turns 30 in August and played in only four games last year after rupturing his Achilles, the Texans moved on to a younger model in Lamar Miller.
This leaves Foster a free agent who surprisingly isn’t attracting much interest approaching June. It was most recently reported that the Miami Dolphins are continuing to “monitor” Foster’s status.
Foster issued this update regarding the state of his recovery earlier this week, “I probably need another month to get where I am, the person everyone is use to seeing,” Foster said, via KTRK in Houston. “I can definitely play but I need another month to be where I want to be and be at that pro-bowl level I can be at.”
For any teams interested, it would appear that the four-time Pro-Bowler will be up to speed prior to training camp. If this is the case, then Foster makes for a high-upside short-term option.
Marques Colston, wide receiver, New Orleans Saints
After 10 primarily productive seasons in New Orleans, the Saints cut their former seventh-round pick back in March.
With the team acquiring younger receivers in the past couple of drafts, Colston was a casualty of the Saints unfortunate salary cap situation.
In his 10 years with the Saints, Colston broke the franchise’s all-time marks in receptions (711), receiving yards (9,759) and touchdowns (72).
Unfortunately, Colston had a down-season in 2015 when he dealt with various injuries en route to posting career-low numbers across the board.
At 32, Colston is far from the oldest receiver on the free-agent market and could still prove efficient for a team in need of upgrades.
Perhaps teams such as the Chicago Bears or Detroit Lions would be a good fit. The Bears sifted downhill after trading Brandon Marshall and who knows what is in store for Detroit without Calvin Johnson?
Antonio Cromartie, cornerback, New York Jets
After 10 years in the business, this former San Diego Chargers first-round draft pick remains in the search of NFL employment.
Cromartie played for the Chargers for four seasons before spending 2010-13 as a member of the New York Jets. He spent 2014 on the west coast playing for the Arizona Cardinals before landing a pricey contract back with his Jets.
With Cro not exactly rewarding the team for their investment, the Jets let him go to free up some much-needed cap space. And recent reports suggest Cromartie’s former Cardinals team is not interested in adding him back to the squad.
Throughout the course of Cromartie’s career, he has recorded 31 interceptions, three touchdowns, five fumble recoveries and a combined 406 tackles. Unfortunately for the four-time Pro-Bowler, he failed to nab one interception in 2015.
Still a viable contributor, Cromartie could be scored on the cheap for a team looking to beef up its secondary this fall. The Dallas Cowboys, who managed only 11 total takeaways last year, would be an ideal match.
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe