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With training camp coming to an end and preseason on the horizon, most NFL teams are pretty set with their rosters. You know that Jamaal Charles will be the lead dog running back for the Kansas City Chiefs just like Jimmy Garoppolo is a placeholder for Tom Brady as the quarterback of the New England Patriots during the term of Brady’s suspension.

But there are teams that can still tweak their lineups with the right available free agent, or fill a gaping roster hole altogether. The Arizona Cardinals achieved the former by signing running back Chris Johnson to a one-year deal.

Who else is available in the free agent bargain bin, and where could they go?

 

Reggie Wayne

What can a 37 year-old wide receiver possibly contribute to an NFL team in his final season? If you’re a healthy Reggie Wayne, quite a lot. Last season, Wayne gathered a modest 64 receptions for 779 yards and 2 touchdowns in a passing attack loaded with talent, and that was while allegedly nursing an injury since Week 6. Wayne wants to go out with the sort of stats he’s been known for, so he’ll probably be responding to teams with a decent quarterback and playoff aspirations. and let’s not forget: a reunion with Peyton Manning can always make some headlines.

If you’re still hung up on Wayne’s age, don’t forget: Jerry Rice was running routes until he was 42.

Potential Teams:

Kansas City Chiefs

San Diego Chargers

Denver Broncos

New Orleans Saints

New England Patriots

 

Ahmad Bradshaw

While Pittsburgh Steelers starting running back Le’Veon Bell will be starting the 2015 season with a 2-game suspension for substance abuse, former Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw will only be starting the season with a 1-game suspension.

Okay, so comparing Bell to Bradshaw is crazy-talk. One has barely touched his prime while the other hasn’t been healthy in years. But last year, Bradshaw became the feature back for the Indianapolis Colts until another injury derailed him. There are plenty of teams that could use his services as a pass-catching running back for even a short amount of time.

Potential Teams:

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Carolina Panthers

 

 

Dwight Freeney

He may not have the stamina he once had, but Dwight Freeney can still provide some burst in the pass rush. He may not be an every down guy, but some teams have enough needs on defense that even Freeney every other down to rush the passer can still be a good contribution.

Potential Teams:

New York Giants

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Washington Redskins

 

 

Wes Welker

There’s no doubt about Wes Welker’s talent for getting open underneath and nabbing catches. The question is about his health. How many more times can a player like Welker be leveled and sustain a concussion before declaring, “Enough is enough?”

Most teams think that time is now, although Welker seems to think he has more left in the tank, even resorting to Lasik eye surgery to make him lense-free. No football player wants to be coddled on the field or lay down after a catch, but there are some teams with mindful quarterbacks that could use him if he sticks to being a possession receiver.

Potential Teams:

Dallas Cowboys

Washington Redskins

Atlanta Falcons

New England Patriots

 

 

Ray Rice

On the surface, signing Ray Rice could be a public relations nightmare waiting to happen due to last year’s situation. Add to that Rice’s inability to get through the line most of the time and “Why?” is a logical question when thinking about a team signing him.

At the same time, Ray Rice is still at a respectable running back age at 28 yeas old, didn’t have a great line around him the last time he was taking hand-offs, and may have something to prove this season. If a team can field the bad press, Rice is worth looking at.

Potential Teams:

New England Patriots

Dallas Cowboys

Oakland Raiders

Tennessee Titans

New York Jets

 

About Author

Pat Emmel is better at talking about sports than actually playing them.