Defensive NFL Free Agents Still Available
Some of these defenses in the NFL need more help than they think. There are plenty of veterans that are still looking for work in the league. Some may be injury prone, but why wouldn’t you take a low risk, high reward chance on one of these guys? It could mean being a mentor for the young guys, as well as tightening up some weak points on some defenses. Lets get away from the NBA free agency frenzy and look back into the NFL.
Bashaud Breeland – He was almost signed, but he failed a physical with the Panthers. That seemed like a great fit since the Panthers had a weak secondary the past few years. He was possibly one of the best number 2 corners in the league last year, and was just overshadowed by the ego of Josh Norman. He’s had some time to work and it’s about time another team takes a shot on him. The Colts are weak at corner and he could give them some talent there. The Seahawks legion of boom has fallen to shambles, and he could add a talented veteran presence.
Johnathan Hankins – Hankins is a versatile 320 pound man that can play end and tackle. There are plenty of teams that would love a player like that. He helps in pass rush and run stopping, and maybe there’s something NFL teams know that we don’t about him. The Lions might be a good fit for him, as Matt Patricia tries to give that defense an identity this season. Ziggy Ansah could use a powerful style rusher next to him. The Redskins are another interesting spot. He could teach youngster Jonathan Allen a thing or two, while also strengthening the d-line.
Eric Reid – Reid is a bang em up safety that was feared across the middle for a short time. It seems that with the change of rules about hitting receivers, there has been less of a need for the type of safety he is. That doesn’t mean he isn’t a talented athlete though. He can cover just as well, and he might not be signed because he is protesting with Colin Kaepernick. There are teams that could use him though. The Steelers lost their heavy hitter presence in Mike Mitchell, and he could add some fear back into the black and gold defense. The Jets also have a young safety who isn’t afraid to lay a receiver out in Jamal Adams, and Reid could be a great mentor for him as well as adding some talent to the opposite safety spot.
Kenny Vaccaro – Another safety similar to Reid, Vaccaro was a highly sought after player in his draft. I think he is a better cover safety though, and has much more value to teams, as well as having a higher potential to be reached. The Cowboys have had a generally weak secondary over the past couple years, and Vaccaro could add a little swagger back and be their anchor. If the 49ers want a replacement for Eric Reid without the baggage, he would be the perfect fit for them too,
Navorrow Bowman – Bowman has kind of been forgotten about because of his horrific knee injury a few years ago. He racked up 89 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a pick in his 10 games with Oakland last season. He could be a very serviceable run stuffer still, and add some veteran savvy to a young linebacking corp. The Patriots would be a good fit for him. They still haven’t really done much to sure up their run stopping ability, and he might be the next best option. He could also take a load off of Dont’a Hightower. The Lions have not really been able to replace DeAndre Levy after his injury, and could find a home there too.
Connor Barwin – Barwin has been an underrated 3-4 pass rusher for most of his career. He played in at least 14 games every season since becoming a starter. He stays healthy so even at 31 he is a reliable option. The 49ers have a lot of young pass rushers, and they could use him for some depth, and for reliability. The Cardinals could also use a solid option across from Chandler Jones, and he could definitely be that guy.