Top 5 Veteran NFL Free Agents on the Market
Updated: Dec 1, 2022
It is week 13 in the NFL and the playoff chase is heating up. The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles still atop the AFC and NFC standings respectively.
Despite that, both teams have been adding veteran free agents to bolster their rosters to make that final postseason push, with the Eagles signing Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joesph to sure up their front seven, while the Chiefs added Melvin Gordon to their practice squad.
However, there are still many veteran free agents for the rest of the playoff field to sign to help their chances of either catching those two top dogs or just trying to stay in the playoff picture.
Here are the top 5 remaining veteran free agents in NFL Free Agency.
1. Odell Beckham Jr.
By far the best free agent player still out there looking to be signed. Beckham had a career revival with Rams after he was cut by the Browns during last season. OBJ could have potentially won the Super Bowl MVP if not for him tearing his ACL in the game. That is the reason why Beckham still isn't signed, due to his recovery and the fact that he won't be able to play until mid-December.
That hasn't stopped some teams from hosting Beckham and being linked to him, including the Bills, Chiefs, Packers, Cowboys and Beckham's former team in the Rams. However, for me the most interesting team is Beckham's first team in the New York Giants has also been linked to bringing him back to the Big Apple.
Looking at that list of teams my prediction is that Beckham will not sign with either of his former teams, the Packers or the Bills. For me it comes down to the Cowboys and the Chiefs, but with the Chiefs having a crowded wide receiver room, the Cowboys are the team he will get signed by.
2. Sheldon Richardson
The former Pro-Bowler and defensive rookie of the year has bounced around the league since spending his first four seasons with the New York Jets. He has played with Seattle, Cleveland and two separate stints with Minnesota before this season.
The former first round pick racked up 14.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss in his last four seasons in the NFL including 4.5 sacks twice in those four years.
There are several playoff teams or teams vying for a playoff spot who could use a rotational defensive tackle who can rush the passer and play solid enough in the run game as he graded out above 60.0 in Pro Football Focus' grading system.
My choice would be the Los Angeles Chargers. Their defense has been racked by injury and have given up the sixth most rush yards and are dead last in the league in yards per carry allowed at 5.4. Not to mention the fact that they have the eighth least sacks (22) in the league despite having Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack off the edges .
Richardson would give some depth and relive a little bit of offensive line attention of Sebastian Joseph-Day to allow him to be worth the contract LA gave him in the off-season.
3. A.J. Bouye
Another former Pro-Bowler is still out there amongst the free agent pool and it's A.J. Bouye. The 31-year-old corner is coming off a season with the Carolina Panthers where he only had three pass breakups and did not record an interception in 10 games played.
Despite that Bouye is still someone who could give teams some depth and solid coverage ability. According to PFF, he graded out as the second best corner on the Panthers with a grade of 66.8, just behind Stephon Gilmore and just ahead of Donte Jackson.
One playoff team that really use his services are the Tennessee Titans as they currently lead the AFC South at a record of 7-4. Even with that, there pass defense has left something to be desired as they have given up the fourth most yards, tied for fifth in most passing touchdowns allowed and have given up the 10th most first downs via passing in the league.
Bouye would add a solid veteran presence and give the Titans some much needed relief as Caleb Farley has been placed on the IR.
4. Dont'a Hightower
"Zeus," spent nine seasons with the hoodie in New England where he was a two time Pro-Bowler, while winning three Super Bowl titles.
While he never lead the league in tackles, Hightower was a solid off the ball and middle linebacker, putting up 60+ tackles in seven of his nine seasons.
While Hightower is nearing the age of 33 and has probably lost a step (or two), I think he can still provide stability for a linebacking core and make some stops in the run game.
I think Hightower should and may join a coach of his former team in Josh McDaniels and the Las Vegas Raiders. After having Blake Martinez unexpectedly retired mid-season, I think Hightower can fill his role quite well.
On the other hand, having someone retire mid-season and knowing the dysfunction that exists in Vegas, I wouldn't blame Hightower for hanging up the phone on McDaniels and owner Mark Davis and enjoy his time away from the game.
5. Eric Fisher
The former Chiefs and Colts offensive linemen is still waiting for a call from an NFL squad to improve their offensive line.
After suffering an Achilles injury after the 2020 Super Bowl with the Chiefs, he came back in 2021 with the Colts and played 15 games and started all of them. In those games, he only allowed seven sacks in 874 total snaps played.
While primarily playing left tackle throughout his career, I think there is a spot for Fisher for right tackle on the Washington Commanders.
Currently their starting right tackle, Cornelius Lucas has allowed four sacks and committed two penalties in the 411 snaps he has played so far this season. While Lucas is a solid tackle, I think they could definitely upgrade with Fisher to give more time to Taylor Heinicke and the Washington run game.