5 best NFL free agents still on the market
This year’s free agent group is thin this late into the offseason, but as always there are still a handful of quality players left on the market as we head into the final weeks before training camp — including several of our initial top 75 free agents.
Here are the five best players that remain unsigned:
1. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick remains unsigned less than a month away from training camp after failing to reach an agreement with the Jets during the offseason. He’s still only 33 years old, and despite coming off of a rough season (30th-ranked grade), his 2013/2014 seasons were both above average, while he at least looked competent at times in 2015. Play under pressure remains a concern, but there are certainly quarterbacks out there who’ve fared worse when pressured. It will be interesting to see if Fitzpatrick finds a team before camps start or whether it will take an injury for someone to give him a shot.
2. CB Leon Hall
There’s not a huge market for cornerbacks over 30 years old – Hall is 31 – but it’s still surprising that no one has signed him yet. He finished last season with positive overall and coverage grades for the ninth-straight year, getting his hands on seven passes over 519 coverage snaps. He can play both outside and in the slot, although his recent play has been mostly inside.
3. DE Greg Hardy
This will be another interesting case to monitor as camp progresses and teams find themselves under more pressure. Off-field issues aside, Hardy is still a solid 4-3 defensive end who managed 610 snaps last season in Dallas, finishing with a top-30 pass rush grade after compiling 40 total pressures (seven sacks, 14 hits, 19 hurries). He was PFF’s fourth-highest graded edge defender in 2013 and will be only 28-years-old when the regular season starts.
4. CB Brandon Boykin
Boykin saw his snap decrease last season in Pittsburgh, but he still finished as the team’s highest-graded corner, maintaining a similar level of play to what we saw in Philadelphia (second-ranked coverage grade in 2013). Over the last five weeks of 2015 he allowed a passer rating of just 65.0 when targeted and had the eighth-best coverage grade in the NFL over that span. There are reportedly some injury concerns with his hip, but when healthy Boykin is one of the league’s best slot corners and easily worth a roster spot.
5. WR Anquan Boldin
At 35 years old Boldin is coming off of a slight down year, but he still produced above-average play, catching 69 passes for 789 yards and extending his streak of positive receiving grades to nine straight seasons. That’s perhaps more impressive considering his quarterback Colin Kaeparnick was the league’s second-lowest graded passer in 2015 – just 65 percent of Boldin’s 113 targets were catchable, a figure that ranked in the bottom half of the league and looks even worse considering those passes travelled an average of only 8.3 yards downfield. It’s hard to imagine he won’t find a team by the start of the regular season, despite going unsigned to this point.