Free agency has been dead for a while now, but as House Greyjoy says, "What is dead may never die."
The point is that while free agency hasn't really been a focal point since March, it's still an ongoing process. It's not finished yet. Now that teams have filled some of their remaining holes through the draft, it has become a whole lot more clear where the best remaining free agents could eventually land. It's becoming clear which teams should make a move for the best remaining free agents to address the areas of need they neglected in the draft.
Established players like LeGarrette Blount, Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler remain on the market. So, let's take a look at some potential landing spots for players like them -- players who can definitely help a team, but aren't at the top of their game anymore.
For the record, these are all projections based on need and fit, which basically translates into: This is where free agents should -- not will -- sign. So, please don't yell at me when Anquan Boldin signs with the Lions instead of the Ravens, for example. But if you must, you can find me on Twitter, where I spend my time endlessly praising "Rogue One" as the best "Star Wars" movie ever made.
Note: The following 26 free agents (plus some bonus names) are not ordered in any particular way. It is, for the most part, random. Except the last name on this list. He was placed there for a reason. You'll understand why.
1. RB Jamaal Charles
Note: News broke Tuesday after this article was initially published that Charles signed a one-year deal with the Broncos. You can
Landing spot: Eagles and Broncos
Despite drafting the undersized Donnel Pumphrey in the fourth round, the Eagles' running back depth chart still needs bolstering considering the position is spearheaded by the reliably unreliable Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles, who intends to retire after the upcoming season. So, the Eagles could use another member of the backfield.
Charles makes sense because he played under Doug Pederson in Kansas City. Pederson previously admitted to being interested in him. Charles is 30 and coming off another serious knee injury, but he could fit in due to the presence of Mathews and Sproles. The Eagles don't need a workhorse, but they do need another capable player who has the potential of breaking out. That player might be Charles.
Let's add the Broncos to the list too, namely because of this:
Former Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles scheduled to visit Broncos on Tuesday, sources tell ESPN. Broncos enthused about it. Good fit for both sides— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 1, 2017
2. RB LeGarrette Blount
Landing spot: Giants
A year ago, the Giants ranked 29th in rushing yards as they churned through a number of running backs like Rashad Jennings, Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa. They did draft Wayne Gallman in the fourth round, but there's a reason why he's a fourth-round pick. Blount would bring some much-needed stability to the Giants' backfield.
A year ago, he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark and rushed for 18 touchdowns with the Patriots. The four Giants running backs I listed above combined for six touchdowns in 2016.
3 & 4: QBs Jay Cutler, Colin Kaepernick
Landing spot: Jaguars
Cutler and Kaepernick can obviously be tied to any team that is lacking a starting-caliber quarterback like the Jets or 49ers. But that's boring and too easy, so let's throw a more interesting name into the mix: the Jaguars.
Blake Bortles is entering his fourth season. To this point, he hasn't provided any evidence that he's worthy of being a franchise quarterback. Statistically, he regressed last season.
Still, the Jaguars have to believe they have the pieces in place around Bortles to succeed. They have a promising receiving core led by Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. They drafted Leonard Fournette as their running back and Cam Robinson as their left tackle. They have a young, growing defense. As a bonus, they reside in the awful AFC South. The only thing holding them back from a 9-7 season is a competent quarterback.
Cutler and Kaepernick both have their flaws, but they're also light-years more reliable than Bortles. With Tom Coughlin, who had no part in drafting Bortles, running the show, it's not inconceivable to suggest that he could want to bring in someone to compete with Bortles. If Bortles can't outplay Cutler or Kaepernick then why bother keeping him around?
The Jaguars did not draft a quarterback to compete with Bortles, which makes sense, because if Bortles sucks again, they can draft their new quarterback next year. There was no point in wasting a pick on a quarterback this year. But giving a veteran quarterback a one-year contract wouldn't compromise their future.
Landing spot: Cowboys
Here's an outside-the-box idea: The Cowboys don't have a backup quarterback after losing Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez. Kaepernick would be a beyond capable one. If Dak Prescott went down with an injury, Kaepernick could step in and run a similar type of offense in terms of executing zone-reads with Ezekiel Elliott.
5, 6 & 7. CBs Jason McCourty, Brandon Flowers, Tramaine Brock
The Cardinals need a No. 2 cornerback to play alongside Patrick Peterson. As of now, because the Cardinals passed on taking a cornerback in the draft, that duty would likely fall to Brandon Williams, who allowed a 115.3 passer rating in coverage last season, per Pro Football Focus.
Last year for the Titans, McCourty allowed an 83.8 passer rating. Flowers allowed an 82.2 passer rating for the Chargers and Brock allowed a 91.6 passer rating with the 49ers. Obviously, passer rating is flawed statistic, but all three players might be upgrades for a team that considers itself a playoff contender.
Obviously, all three won't land with the Cardinals. Another option could be Chicago. Despite the reputation, the Bears' defense actually has a chance to be good this year after a sneaky solid year in 2016, when the unit finished 15th in yards allowed and 12th in sacks. The biggest weakness is the secondary, as the Bears notched just eight interceptions.
The Bears cut Tracy Porter and didn't draft a cornerback. Former first-round pick Kyle Fuller can't stay healthy. Prince Amukamara -- another injury risk -- is slotted to be the team's top corner. I'm not sure the Bears trust Fuller or Amukamara to stay on the field and perform at a high enough level.
8. WR Anquan Boldin
Landing spot: Ravens
The Ravens' receiving room looks like this:
- Michael Campanaro
- Mike Wallace
- Breshad Perriman
- Vince Mayle
- Chris Moore
- Chris Matthews
- Kenny Bell
- Keenan Reynolds
And they didn't add one in the draft. So, they could use a dependable veteran. And that's what Boldin is, despite his age (36). He has averaged 686.5 yards the past two seasons. He's not a WR1, but he can be a solid possession type of guy. I like the idea of a reunion with the Ravens.
Plus, he has the catch radius to rescue Joe Flacco's not-so-elite passes.
9 & 10. DLs Jared Odrick
Landing spot: Lions
Who is the Lions' best defensive tackle -- 33-year-old Haloti Ngata or 22-year-old A'shawn Robinson?
The Lions could use another body to throw into the mix. Neither Marks nor Odrick is a savior by any means, but they could add some depth. Marks actually finished with a higher pass-rushing rating than Ngata (per PFF) while Odrick is in desperate need of a job:
Someone give that man a job.
11 & 12. Tackles King Dunlap, Ryan Clady
Landing spot: Seahawks
The Seahawks desperately need help on the offensive line. Clady isn't what he used to be (a shutdown left tackle with the Broncos), but he can be serviceable if he's healthy. The same goes for Dunlap.
The Seahawks signed Luke Joeckel as their left tackle, so Clady or Dunlap could slide in at right tackle or compete for the starting job on the left side. Pete Carroll certainly loves competition.
13. C Nick Mangold
Landing spot: Ravens
The Ravens' center, as of now, is either John Urschel or Ryan Jensen because they traded Jeremy Zuttah to the 49ers before the draft. Mangold would be an upgrade. They also reportedly had him in for a visit. So interest is there.
And hey, Ryan Mink likes the idea and he works for the Ravens, though his Twitter bio makes it clear that opinions are his own.
For fans freaking out about the lack of offensive picks: C Nick Mangold, WR Anquan Boldin, OT King Dunlap are still out there. Just sayin'.— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) April 29, 2017
So, I guess you could add the Ravens to the section above pertaining to Dunlap.
14. WR Michael Floyd
The Bears let Alshon Jeffery go. Cameron Meredith has shown the ability to be a starting-caliber receiver, but I'm skeptical that he can fill Jeffery's role. Meanwhile, Kevin White has appeared in four games since being their first-round pick in 2015. Floyd has his issues away from the field, but the Bears could take a flier on him.
The Rams also desperately need playmakers. Despite what his contract says, Tavon Austin isn't a suitable top target for Jared Goff. Despite drafting a tight end and two receivers in Gerald Everett, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds, the Rams couldn't go wrong by adding another body to the mix. Floyd has upside.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs clearly don't mind issues away from the field (see: Tyreek Hill) and their receiving corps is lacking besides Travis Kelce, a tight end. Jeremy Maclin regressed last season and Hill isn't the kind of player who can be counted on to contribute consistently. The Chiefs need to get Alex Smith another receiver (one he'll refuse to target deep down the field, but whatever) even after drafting Jehu Chesson in the fourth round. Chesson is a developmental prospect and the Chiefs are in win-now mode.
15. LB DeAndre Levy
Landing spot: Patriots
This just makes too much sense, right? Of course the Patriots would pick up a formerly awesome player who has had a recent rough go with injuries and of course the Patriots would revitalize his career. In his prime, Levy was one of the best linebackers in the league. As it stands, two of the Patriots' linebackers are Shea McClellin and Elandon Roberts after the Patriots didn't use any of their four selections in the draft on the position. Now that the NFL banned leaping over the center on kicks, I'm not sure what kind of value McClellin brings to the Patriots.
Other landing spots, as mentioned by my editor, R.J. White, who helped me brainstorm this entire story: the Buccaneers, Seahawks and Bills.
16. DB Darrelle Revis
Landing spot: Patriots
Revis' demise has been documented to death, but he has a chance to transition into a pretty darn good safety. The idea of him doing that with the Patriots makes sense because of their prior history. Plus, it's easier to see him continuing his career if he plays for a contender.
17 & 18. Pass rushers Paul Kruger, Elvis Dumervil
Landing spots: Chiefs and Rams
The Chiefs are clearly in win-now mode. Their defense is the strength of their team, having finished seventh in points allowed last season. If they're going to make noise in the playoffs by finally overcoming the Galactic Empire (the Patriots), they'll need to bother Tom Brady. As the Giants and Broncos have proven over the years, that's really the only way to beat them.
Meanwhile, the Rams are undergoing a transition to a 3-4 defense under Wade Phillips. Kruger and Dumervil come from 3-4 systems and could be solid additions to an already stacked defensive line.
19. TE Gary Barnidge
Landing spot: Panthers
Yes, I know the Panthers already have one of the best tight ends in the game in Greg Olsen, but two-TE formations are officially in, especially for a run-heavy team like the Panthers. It's easy to forget, but the Panthers drafted Barnidge in 2008. I say it's time for a reunion.
20 & 21. WRs Victor Cruz, Vincent Jackson
Landing spot: Browns
I'm not sure if Cruz has anything left in the tank after injuries decimated his career, but he could serve a mentor type of role in Cleveland with the Browns' young receivers (Corey Coleman, to be specific, and even Josh Gordon if he ever returns) so long as he learned his lesson from that infamous boat trip.
The same can be said about Jackson -- except for the boat trip part.
22, 23 & 24. CBs Tracy Porter, Alterraun Verner, Sam Shields
Landing spots: Saints
Let's face it: The Saints still need a ton of help on defense, even if they did draft cornerback Marshon Lattimore in the first round. These three don't meet the definition of a No. 1 corner, but any of them could be a solid depth addition.
Plus, Super Bowl hero Porter returning to the Saints is too good of a story to pass up.
25. QB Johnny Manziel
Landing spot: Saints
Manziel wants a comeback after he derailed his career by partying and allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend. He even met with Sean Payton this offseason. The Saints need someone to take over for Drew Brees eventually. If anyone can get the most out of Manziel on the field, it's Payton. Sitting behind Brees would be great for Manziel's development as a quarterback.
It's tough to see anyone taking a chance on Manziel. But if someone does, look for that team to be the Saints. They don't have a successor in place after going quarterback-less in the draft. They admitted to being tempted by Patrick Mahomes. Maybe they'll settle for Manziel.
26. DE Jaye Howard
Landing spot: Bears
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Howard is visiting the Bears, who could use some help up front -- even if it is the strength of their defense. If the Bears add Howard, look for their defensive front to surprise some folks.
BONUS. Tim Tebow
Landing spot: Just kidding