Progress was certainly made by several teams on Day One of 2014 NFL free agency but there is still work to do. Here are some potential targets on Day Two.
Jared Allen – DE
The younger pass rushers predictably went quickly but there is still a host of veterans available that could lend a big hand to the right team. Though he turns 32 this year, Jared Allen remains one of the best in the business. He had 11.5 sacks last season in Minnesota and has been a model of toughness and consistency. Putting him on a solid front with some young kids to mentor would be the ideal situation for the right team.
Justin Tuck – DE
By that same token front offices should probably look at former Giants pass rusher Justin Tuck. He also had 11 sacks in 2013 and is a year younger than Allen. It’s likely given his recent injury history might also make him a cheaper option. His added experience when it comes to winning a Super Bowl would be most welcome too by a team trying to craft a hungry and determined roster. One would classify him as a low risk/high reward. Though that will depend on his asking price.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – CB
The man known as “DRC” took a gamble on a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos last season to prove he can still play and it paid off in a Super Bowl appearance, a run in which he was easily their best defensive back. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is not the best corner on the market but he is still under the age of 30, long, athletic and dependable provided a team keeps him disciplined and focused on the task at hand as they did in Denver.
Walter Thurmond – CB
A rather unfortunate cast off of the world champion Seattle Seahawks, Walter Thurmond may quietly be one of the best corners on the market. He thrived in the same system that produced Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman. He’s got good speed, length and excels in physical press coverage. He does have a few red flags in regards to a substance abuse suspension but if kept on the track he has the potential to become one of the steals of 2014 NFL free agency.
Emmanuel Sanders – WR
The wide receivers didn’t get much love on Day One, perhaps a testament to what general managers think about the talent quality. Whether that’s true or not, the fact remains there are a host of under-the-radar talents still available. Teams in the hunt for a slot receiver can’t overlook former Pittsburgh Steelers standout Emmanuel Sanders. He may have flamed out as a replacement for Mike Wallace but in the right role this kid can become a playmaker. He’s fast, agile and fearless going across the middle. Matched up on linebackers and safeties there is no question he will make plays.
DeMarcus Ware – DE/OLB
The seven-time Pro Bowler lit up the social media universe when the Dallas Cowboys released him. Though he turns 32 this year and is coming off his first single digit sack season in almost a decade, he remains one of the better pass rushers out there. Early signs were that the Denver Broncos were favorites to land him but after signing a huge deal with Aqib Talib that might change. Ware is really a wild card because he fits well in both 3-4 and 4-3 defense so any team needing pass rush help could legitimately sign him. Provided he’s healthy it would be a great short-term maneuver.
Hakeem Nicks – WR
Eric Decker rates as the best wide receiver available in 2014 NFL free agency but word is out that he is visiting the New York Jets. Given their serious need for receiving help, it’s unlikely he leaves the building. Meanwhile, the saga of Hakeem Nicks remains a mystery. Coming off one of his worst seasons as a pro, the 26-year old nonetheless has enough credibility to think he can turn things around. Indianapolis, Carolina and San Diego were all referenced as possible landing spots. Much will depend on the money offered and the situation presented.