As the NFL prepares to begin training camps across the country, some franchises are tinkering with their rosters and looking at available free agents. On Wednesday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to a deal with veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph, who had been available in free agency for most of the offseason. Rudolph will come in and essentially replace Rob Gronkowski on the Bucs’ tight end depth chart this season.
While Rudolph’s signing might not move the needle in the NFC South, his signing was a nice July addition for a potential Super Bowl contender. There are still several veterans who could follow suit as camps get under way.
Top 10 available free agents entering training camp
The list of notable names on the open market has dwindled over the summer, but there are still some solid contributors available. While none of these players will be expected to push their team over the threshold between pretenders and contenders, they could be important pieces for teams looking to compete for a playoff spot.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Still just 29, Odell Beckham Jr. has plenty of big plays left in him, even after undergoing ACL surgery this offseason. While the Los Angeles Rams still seem interested in a possible reunion with Beckham, both sides have been smart about taking their time with negotiations. If a notable wideout goes down in the first few weeks of camp, OBJ could look to get a bigger payday elsewhere.
Beckham clearly wasn’t the issue in Cleveland, and he was a big part of the Rams’ Super Bowl run. That said, he’s probably best fit as a No. 2 wideout at this point in his career.
DE Trey Flowers
Trey Flowers is a versatile pass rusher, who can fit odd and even fronts. He’s not known for being a consistent performer in the sack department, but he can set the edge and stop the run as a rotational presence. Raised in the Patriot Way, perhaps a late-summer return to New England makes sense. Flowers is only 28 and can clearly still perform as a rotational contributor.
WR T.Y. Hilton
T.Y. Hilton’s trademark deep speed isn’t what it used to be. That said, he’s still a sharp route runner and an impressive leader. It’s possible Hilton returns to Indianapolis over the next few weeks, but he could also look to latch onto a contender like the Rams or Kansas City Chiefs, just to chase a ring at this point in his career. He caught 23 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns last season.
DT Ndamukong Suh
Ndamukong Suh’s ship has sailed in Tampa Bay, and he reportedly won’t be heading to Cleveland, either. While his dominance has waned over the years, Suh’s still a starting-caliber nose tackle with the ability to play in odd and even fronts. Suh isn’t going to be an every-down player in most defenses, but he can certainly help in a rotational role.
CB Joe Haden
Joe Haden has spent his entire career in the AFC North, and he’d logically fit in with a team like the Baltimore Ravens or Cincinnati Bengals as a strong depth presence. Like most of the veteran NFL free agents on this list, his performance has waned over the past couple of years. Nevertheless, Haden can still step in and play well as an outside cornerback. He should be the first call if a starting cornerback goes down in a camp.
C JC Tretter
Easily the best center on the market, JC Tretter should be on a roster at this point. Teams like the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers would make sense for the former Browns lineman. Tretter is a sharp football mind and should be able to pick up an offense relatively quickly. He’d be an upgrade for about a dozen teams at his position.
TE Eric Ebron
While Eric Ebron certainly has his quirks, he’s still a talented playmaker. He’s bounced around as an NFL nomad over the past few years, but he could serve as a depth piece who pushes a starting tight end in camp. The 29-year-old is coming off a down year with the Steelers, as he only caught 12 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown.
RB Devontae Booker
Devontae Booker is probably the best backfield player on the open market. While filling in for oft-injured Saquon Barkley with the Giants last year, Booker produced 593 rushing yards, 268 receiving yards, and three total touchdowns. He’s a powerful runner who could complement a finesse playmaker at the position in a rotation.
DT Sheldon Richardson
Sheldon Richardson is well-traveled. He’s been part of rotations on multiple teams and still can get the job done. The former Defensive Rookie of the Year still can rush the passer on obvious passing downs and has produced 10 sacks over the past three seasons. Again, Richardson’s a rotational player, but sometimes that’s all a pass rush needs to produce big numbers.
WR Julio Jones
Julio Jones didn’t look like himself in Tennessee last year. While that’s a large reason why the Titans moved on, that doesn’t mean the former All-Pro can’t contribute to an offense. Jones is particularly effective in the red zone, and he could be a veteran presence for a wideout depth chart that features a couple of young, quick, ascending playmakers. While most have speculated that he could join Matt Ryan in Indy, Jones might be better suited playing with a team like the Patriots or Chiefs.