Typically, NFL free agents who are still available in mid-July are not impact players. They're guys who are still looking for an opportunity after the rest of the available talent has been signed. 

Sometimes, though, circumstances make it so that a potential high-impact player is still available at this time of year. Such is the case with Geno Atkins, who played only eight games last season due to a shoulder injury (torn rotator cuff) that necessitated surgery. 

According to a report from, Atkins was cleared by Dr. Dan Cooper (the Cowboys' team doctor) in mid-June. He should begin taking visits with NFL teams and weighing his next move in the near future. 

Atkins will be 33 years old this coming season, but he is still capable of playing at an extremely high level. Atkins saw his snap rate dramatically cut in Cincinnati last season, and the team waived him back in March. 

Now healthy, he should be attractive to teams that need to generate interior pressure, due to his ability to knife between offensive linemen and make plays in the backfield. He has had seven seasons with six or more sacks, and prior to missing time last year, had made the Pro Bowl in six consecutive years. 

Given his advancing age and valuable skill set, it would not be surprising to see Atkins catch on with a contender looking to make a Super Bowl run this year. There's no guarantee he'll be able to produce like he did during his prime, but working as a rotational pass rusher on a good defense seems like a good fit.