Finding high quality talent at low prices will be the end game for most teams in 2014 NFL free agency. Here are a few potential bargains that could become steals.
Since becoming the hero in Pittsburgh for his Super Bowl catch and then making a bevy of plays for Mark Sanchez en route to two AFC title games, Santonio Holmes has fallen off the map. The 30-year old veteran receiver has played in just 15 games over the past two seasons. When he did finally return last season he seemed considerably less effective than prior years. However, it’s fair to point out he had a rookie quarterback in Geno Smith throwing to him. In the right situation with a veteran at the helm, Holmes still is just young enough to recapture some of his old magic.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were right when they inked LaMarr Woodley to a long-term extension. Unfortunately, those kinds of deals always come with a risk. For the outside linebacker it wasn’t so much lack of production as it was health problems. Woodley hasn’t started a full game since 2010, which will raise a red flag on any team who considers him. Still, when healthy he’s shown he can make plays. At the right price he has excellent bargain factor attached to his name at age 29.
Being 27-years old might make LeGarrette Blount look like a running back reaching a ripe age but the fact is he really hasn’t had to endure the typical workload of a full-time starter. The kid showed during his time with the New England Patriots that he is a problem for defense to reckon with. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry on the season and scored seven touchdowns. Yes, the threat of Tom Brady helped but Blount is a talented runner. He’s big, strong, tough and deceptively fast. If the right team commits to him, he might make it worth every penny provided he stays out of trouble.
Normally a free safety who posted 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions with 68 tackles in a season would get tons of attention. For Malcolm Jenkins though, 2014 NFL free agency will be less about his numbers and more about his consistency. There is no denying the 26-year old has athletic skill and can make plays but for whatever reason he hasn’t been able to put everything together. Otherwise New Orleans would never have let him go. Perhaps under the right coach he has a chance to realize his obvious potential.
He’s not a shutdown corner but Corey Graham has found ways to make himself very useful over the years. When he joined the Baltimore Ravens he became a quality starter for their defense, helping them win the Super Bowl in 2012. Last season he posted four interceptions and made 74 tackles in helping the Ravens defense rank 12th overall. On top of all that, the 29-year old is a Pro Bowl special teams ace. That kind of versatility is quite valuable in the right hands. Graham won’t shut down opposing receivers by himself but he is definitely a playmaker with plenty of valuable experience.