By Paul Wanecski
Looking across the landscape of all available free agents - most of whom will have to sit and wait once the draft is completed to try and find a home – we still find rather notable names currently unemployed. While not all these players will fit every scheme across the NFL, we have built an All-Available team; a collection of players without a home. This is not in priority order, just simply listing who the top players at a given position.
-Michael Vick, 34
While Vick is at the end of his roller coaster career, he would be a serviceable 2nd option, capable of winning enough games to keep a team from exploding.
-Jason Campbell, 33
Having fallen off the NFL radar (when you end up in Cleveland, that can happen), Campbell went from starting QB in Oakland to relegated reserve. He, much like Vick, would not be starter material at this point.
-Ryan Lindley, 25
The San Diego State product has played in 9 games with a 50.7% completion percentage, two 300 yard games and threw his first touchdown this year. He has 11 career interceptions.
-Tyler Wilson, 25
After being brought into Tennessee, Oakland and Cincinnati and not being able to make the roster, many would consider Wilson a lost cause, especially since he lost his roster spot to undrafted free agent Matt McGloin in Oakland and was unable to beat out any resident QB with the Titans. He has yet to see an NFL snap.
Running Back, age:
-Ben Tate, 26
He was the prize of the running back class last off season. Since then, he has been cut by two teams. Still at only 26 years old, he has the ability to be a contributor, although you have to wonder what he did to get the boot from two squads.
-Knowshon Moreno, 27
Last year’s consolation prize, Moreno waited and waited for a deal to come that was more than a year following a Super Bowl appearance. One never came. His year ended after playing Buffalo early in the season.
-Daniel Thomas, 27
The on-again-off-again Miami Dolphin could be a good 2nd option for a team looking for someone who isn’t afraid to run between the tackles. Like many RBs, he has battled injury and inconsistency issues, but what Miami Dolphin running back hasn’t in the last 5 years?
-Chris Johnson, 29
Looking to reclaim his form with the Jets, much like LaDainian Tomlinson did at the end of his career, CJ2K could never get rolling. A carousel at QB and a poor offensive line never allowed him to get off the ground. Literally.
Wide Receiver, age:
-Wes Welker, 33
With a history of concussions, Welker still is the best slot receiver on the market. He is just one injury away from ending his career and likely comes at a price that is just out of reach for teams to risk.
-Greg Jennings, 31
It is hard to believe that he is only 31. Jennings was a fixture in the Green Bay offense for a long time. When he ventured to Minnesota, things did not go as planned. He has always been able to break away with speed. At his age, the time has come to try and discover another gear in the transmission.
-Kris Durham, 27
A roster cut victim once the Lions signed Golden Tate, Durham makes the list simply because of his potential. At 6’6”, sporting 4.47 speed, Durham was rarely able to make the Titans active roster last season after being picked up on waivers. They were a disaster last year so don’t hold that against him. Durham was previously with Seattle before going to Detroit and then the Titans. He could be a great red zone target as a team’s 4th option.
-Hakeem Nicks, 27
Looking to find another one-year “prove it” deal, Nicks is still young enough to have a bounce back season. He will need to find the right situation to be successful given his second consecutive season of poor performance (2013 he didn’t catch a touchdown pass).
Tight End, age:
-Jermaine Gresham, 26
Gresham appeared on the verge of signing a decent contract as the top 3 free agent at his position. It was discovered that he needed surgery and has since been working on recovery. It will be weeks before he is ready for a workout.
-David Ausberry, 27
Staying on the field has long been the problem for Ausberry, who is an athletic player when healthy. He has only played in 6 games the last 2 seasons. He could be a flier for a team looking to add an option.
-Zach Miller, 29
Not exactly a highlight reel player, Miller was consistent for Seattle last season. With the addition of Jimmy Graham, it was obvious that Miller would be the odd man out. He could still be productive for a team looking for a TE who is an average blocker and capable of bringing in 50 of 65 targets on the season.
Offensive Tackle, age:
-Jake Long, 29 (T)
Once considered a premier player at his position, Long finds himself on the mend and looking for a place to play. While his salary was the major reason he was released from St. Louis this offseason, Long might be considering retirement as he recovers from ACL surgery.
-Byron Bell, 26 (T)
Bell spent last season playing left tackle. He should not be signed to play that position again. Previously an undrafted free agent, Bell has consistently struggled with pass protection, regardless if he played right or left tackle. He will be an affordable option for any team looking for someone to come in and compete for a job.
-Chris Myers, 33 (C)
Having been one of the most reliable players in the NFL, Myers has started 128 consecutive games. At age 33, it is expected that his skill set will diminish in the next two seasons, but, he has taken his time looking for the right team.
-Stefen Wisniewski, 26 (C)
Wisniewski has been a solid player for Oakland controlling the middle of the offensive line. That is a team that has struggled on both sides of the ball and in the front office. Wisniewski has the make up to be moved to guard and some teams may look at him that way. He would provide young, solid production in either role.
Mike Pollak, 30 (C/G)
It is surprising to see Pollak unsigned. He was released by the Bengals as they were looking to get younger at the center position. Pollak played well at guard last season and probably should have been the Bengals starting center.
Justin Blalock, 31 (G)
At this point, Blalock will most likely only be offered a one or two year contract. Blalock has played every game of his career in Atlanta. Entering his 9th season, he would be able to provide a solid starting option for a team looking to bridge to a younger player.