2013 Free Agents That Matter

This season doesn't have nearly so many higher profile free agents as in past years. But while there may not be any "major piece of the puzzle" to be found as an unrestricted free agent, there are still several out there that represent upgrades for teams looking to improve on offense. And more than a few names we've seen on fantasy rosters in the past that are looking for that last little spark for their career.


Almost never have any notable UFA's because if a player is good, the team will seek to retain or at worse trade him. Letting Drew Brees go to the Saints may have been a slight miscalculation, but it is also a rarity. This year as with most, there are no notable starters likely to become free agents and land on new teams. Joe Flacco just signed for a King's ransom. Alex Smith was traded to the Chiefs. But no other big news is likely within the position other than the rest of the NFC East applauding when the Cowboys extend Tony Romo's contract.

Running Backs

Ahmad Bradshaw - Released by the Giants, he's still not 100% healthy and has chronic foot problems anyway. Missed at least two games each of last three years and won't be more than half a backfield somewhere else. He's only 26 and has little mileage comparatively but his health woes is what drags him down.

Reggie Bush - Bush won't be back with the Fins who have moved on and is rumored to be courted by the Lions who routinely change backs every year only to see them suffer various and always significant injuries. Bush is probably as good as it gets for a FA back this year though and he is only 28. After seven seasons, he still has never carried the ball more than 219 times and never lasted all 16 games since he was a rookie. The Cardinals come up as a suitor as well.

Ryan Grant - Grant is 30 years old and was of little help to the Packers last year. He won't be re-signed and may not land anywhere.

Shonn Greene - The Jets are letting Greene go and the speculation is that he may end up in Atlanta or Denver where split backfields await and can accept his limitation of being good for short yardage gains on first and second down only. Greene is not likely to see as prominent role again as he did with the Jets who needed five years to realize that he's just not that talented. Not a difference maker to be sure.

Peyton Hillis - Pairing with his old coach in Kansas City was a bust and now Hillis will hit the free agent winds to find his fourth NFL team in seven years. Forget 2010 - the NFL certainly has. Hillis is a nonfactor.

Steven Jackson - There is some upside here. The Rams wanted Jackson to become more of a committee member in the backfield with Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead and he's leaving mostly because he did not want a reduced role. Speculation has him considering the Packers, Broncos and Falcons. He turns 30 this summer and has the most carries by any active back by a large margin. But he missed his seventh straight 1000 rushing yard season by only ten yards last year and still averaged 4.0 yards per carry. Amazingly, he still has something in his tank and may be the best available free agent other than Reggie Bush who only has an age advantage on him. Jackson could be a nice one-year answer for a team.

Felix Jones - Jones may end up in New York since his old OC in Arkansas now is the QB coach there but he's never going to be more than the lesser half of some backfield. He still never had more than 185 carries in any season and only managed 3.6 YPC last year when the Cowboys turned to him when DeMarco Murray missed six games.

LaRod Stephens-Howling - He is still expected to re-sign with the Cardinals though they have not contacted him. He's just a special teams guy anyway.

Danny Woodhead - He is still expected to re-sign with the Patriots. He's not good enough to command any real attention in free agency and is best suited as one of running backs in the collection of the Pats.

Wide Receivers

Danny Amendola - Amendola is one of the more interesting wideouts in free agency. The Rams did not use the franchise tag on him but are not completely out of the picture and may still re-sign him. The speculation is that the Eagles may be interested in him since he would fit into Chip Kelly's offense. Amendola could also end up in New England if the Pats don't retain Wes Welker since he is a lesser version of the Pats slot receiver. Amendola should cash in here even though he has been an injury problem with only 11 games played over the last two seasons.

Donnie Avery - Avery will end up somewhere in the league but he'll be 29 years old and never had more than the 60 catches last year. After four years in the league, he's only accounted for 12 touchdowns total and never more than 781 yards in a season. He's a deep threat but not an every down kind of guy.

Deion Branch - Branch turns 34 this year and only had 15 catches last season in New England. He'll only be depth where ever he ends up.

Plaxico Burress - The 36-year old is done. He wants to keep playing but so does Terrell Owens. He's only managed to make "drop the Glock" become the NFL version of "jump the shark".

Braylon Edwards - Edwards is still expected to re-sign with the Jets where the 30-year old wideout is clearly the best receiver thanks to having no real competition. That all said he only caught 14 passes last year and has scored a total of two touchdowns over the last four years. His glory year of 2007 is a dot in the rearview mirror.

Devery Henderson - The 31-year old lasted nine years with the Saints but even playing with Drew Brees could not help him do better than six total touchdowns over the last four seasons. He's a deep threat who almost never has more than two catches per game. He'll just be depth where ever he ends up.

Michael Jenkins - The Vikings released the soon to be 31-year old who never reached his perceived potential in his nine seasons. Another marginal player who never steps up though he has been valued more as a blocker in the past.

Greg Jennings - The Packers did not use the franchise tag on Jennings which is almost a lock to mean he's playing somewhere else this year. Jennings is looking for a big payday here and may not be quite worth the $11million a year he thinks he should command. He's played for seven seasons and now hits 30-years of age after two seasons with injuries that limited him to only 20 games over that period (13 and 7). There is no denying that he had five big years until 2012 and there is no denying he was the #1 wideout playing with arguably the best QB in the league. He'll end up as the #1 receiver wherever he ends up but there is no certainty where that will be yet. Some believe Miami if they whiff on getting Mike Wallace.

Mohamed Massaquoi - The Browns are expected to let Mohammed leave despite having once spend a second-round pick on the now 26 year-old. He's remained healthy for all 16 games only once in four years and never ended with more than 624 yards. His only hope is to land somewhere with a far superior quarterback than what he suffered through in Cleveland for four years.

Randy Moss Moss won't be kept by the 49ers and while he says he wants to play one more year, chances are that he won't. He was of almost no consequence in San Francisco anyway.

Mike Wallace - Wallace is looking to cash in and become one of the highest paid receivers in the NFL. He is the most coveted wideout available and will only be 27 years-old. The Vikings and Dolphins are considered front-runners to overpay for his services. He is in his prime though and has never failed to score at least six times a year even as a rookie. 2010 remains his banner year with 1257 yards and 10 touchdowns. He'll be a definite upgrade where ever he goes and will be worth considering because he may end up on a team with little competition for the ball.

Wes Welker - The 32 year-old Welker is looking for his final contract and the Pats remain mostly likely to keep him. He has a few good years left in him and has such a great relationship with Tom Brady that the Pats are almost certain to retain him. He won't be nearly as good if he goes elsewhere though he'd still be one of the top free agent wideouts.

Titus Young - Last year's super secret sleeper pick ended up to be a head-case extraordinare. He won't be worth anything in fantasy and may not even stick with a team but he is worth watching because he will not only screw up with his new team, it will probably be spectacular when he does. He always prompts the question "really?" in any conversation and not in a good way.

Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett - He may still end up with the Giants but they did not make a deal done in time to avoid free agency and as such Bennett is one of the better names in free agent tight ends. He is only 26 years-old and last year finally was a #1 tight end after four years of backing-up Jason Witten. Bennett ended with 54 catches for 611 yards and five scores with the Giants. He's at least better than average.

Dallas Clark - The Buccaneers want to re-sign the 34 year-old Clark for one more year and probably will. He's really tailed off over the last three seasons anyway and has been more of a blocker than a receiver. He only managed 435 yards on 47 catches in 2013.

Jared Cook - Cook hits free agency and should be one of the more interesting tight ends on the market. He is only 26 years-old and so far has a season best of 759 yards on 49 catches. He wants big money though and that will impact where he ends up. The Eagles new offense is considered a likely suitor. The Titans let him go mostly because he wanted so much money since Cook wants to be one of the highest paid tight ends in the league.

Fred Davis - Davis is likely to end up back with the Redskins and he ruined his market value with the torn Achilles tendon last year. The new offense with RG3 has not made much use of the tight ends anyway. It appears 2011 will remain his high-water mark with 796 yards and three scores.

Tony Gonzalez - The Falcons are waiting for Gonzo to make his retirement official. They want him back to be sure but will need to know sooner than later so they can pursue a free agent and/or look for a rookie to take his place. Chances are still 50/50 but the Falcons still can dangle the old "Superbowl ring" potential in front of him.

Dustin Keller - Keller wants to return to the Jets but that is not yet certain. He'll be 29 this year and has been a pretty solid receiver for the Jets until last season when he missed eight games. He is a good all-around tight end that will find a good home if the Jets let him leave.

Brandon Myers - The Raiders are letting Myers test the free agent waters this year even though he was impressive in 2012 with 75-753-4. He was little used in his first three seasons but came alive in 2013 until fading badly in the final four games. Take away home games against CLE and TB and his stats were only 53-564-1 though.

Benjamin Watson - Watson turns 32 and won't be back with the Browns. He could end up back in New England where he played six years but only as a backup. He's on the downside of his career and won't be a difference maker where ever he lands. He only managed 42-437-3 in Cleveland last year with is probably his ceiling.