PFT’s 2014 All-Unemployed Team

AP

UPDATED Wednesday, August 6.

The following is a list of the best available veteran players at each position as of early August. Rotoworld’s free agent list and NFLPA records were used in compiling the list of candidates.

A club’s scheme, positional depth and salary cap situation are all factors that must be weighed when considering whether a team would consider any free agent listed below. Similarly, a player’s skill, age, cost, health, injury history are also data to be considered, as are off-field concerns.

The squad will be updated as warranted as the season approaches:

New additions to the team are italicized:

Quarterback: Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn, Josh Freeman, Rex Grossman.

If the 31-year-old Orton still wants to play, he’s the best backup passer available, perhaps the only legitimate plug-and-play short-term starter in free agency. Quinn worked out for the Patriots in late July. Freeman’s offseason stint with the Giants lasted about a month and a half; the question now is whether he can land another job before the start of the season. He’s only 26 years old, but that’s almost said now with a shrug. Grossman (34 in August) started 13 games in 2011 but hasn’t seen regular season action since.

Running back: Felix Jones, Ronnie Brown, Michael Bush, Le’Ron McClain.

Still only 27, Jones could be a viable third or fourth option in a backfield. Brown ranked 16th in blocking among all NFL backs in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus. Bush (6-1, 245) is an inside runner who takes care of the ball (five career fumbles in 913 regular season touches), but he’s gained less than four yards per carry in each of the last three seasons. McClain can also play fullback, has less than 500 regular season career touches and doesn’t turn 30 until December.

Fullback: Vonta Leach, Le’Ron McClain.

Leach could be a fit for a team looking strictly for a blocking back. He turns 33 in November.

Wide receivers: Santonio Holmes, Earl Bennett, Austin Collie, Josh Cribbs.

Holmes has shown playmaking ability throughout his career, gaining 15.7 yards per catch in an eight-season run. However, he has played only 15 combined games in the last two campaigns. The 27-year-old Bennett has been released by Chicago and Cleveland this offseason. At his best, he’s been a solid possession receiver. The 28-year-old Collie has 179 career receptions. Cribbs brings value on special teams.

Tight end: Jermichael Finley, Ben Hartsock, Dustin Keller.

Finley’s NFL future is tied to whether he gains medical clearance after an October 2013 neck injury. Given his talent and relatively young age (27), he’s one of the best free agents available if healthy. Hartsock’s value stems from his blocking; he was the NFL’s best run-blocker at tight end in 2013, per PFF. Keller missed the 2013 regular season after suffering multiple knee injuries in a preseason game. When healthy, he’s a solid pass-catching option. He turns 30 in September.

Offensive tackle: Bryant McKinnie, Jeremy Trueblood, Tony Pashos.

McKinnie (35 in September) is a short-term bridge option at left tackle. The 31-year-old Trueblood (10 starts for Atlanta in 2013) and the 33-year-old Pashos (12 starts for Oakland a season ago) are similar options at right tackle.

Offensive guard: Mike Brisiel, Leroy Harris, Harvey Dahl.

The 31-year-old Brisiel started 15 games in each of the last two seasons for Oakland. Harris, 30, can also play center. The 33-year-old Dahl has ample starting experience but had offseason hip and ankle surgery, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Center: Kyle Cook, Leroy Harris.

Cook (6-3, 310) started 66 games for the Bengals from 2009 through 2013. He was limited to four games in 2012 after ankle surgery.

Defensive end: Jason Hunter, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Brett Keisel.

Hunter and Te’o-Nesheim could appeal to 4-3 clubs, while the 35-year-old Keisel is the best of the 3-4 ends on the market.

Defensive tackle: Isaac Sopoaga, Aubrayo Franklin, Vaughn Martin.

Sopoaga and Franklin are fits at nose guard in 3-4 schemes. The 28-year-old Martin has 27 career starts and can also play end in a “30” front.

Inside linebacker: Desmond Bishop, Kion Wilson, Jonathan Vilma.

Bishop recorded more than 100 tackles playing inside in the Packers’ 3-4 scheme in 2010 and 2011. The 27-year-old Wilson started a pair of games at inside linebacker in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 front a season ago. Vilma, 32, has reportedly drawn looks from Atlanta and Miami this offseason but has yet to sign.

Outside linebacker: Larry English, Brandon Jenkins, Kevin Burnett, Stephen Nicholas, Edgar Jones.

The Chargers’ first-round pick in 2009, the 28-year-old English has recorded 11 total sacks in five seasons. He visited the Cowboys in July, but his health is a near-term concern, as he’s coming off knee surgery, according to the team’s website. When healthy, English could appeal to clubs looking for a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 end. So could the 24-year-old Jenkins, a fifth-round pick of Washington in 2013. Nicholas (ex-Atlanta) and Burnett (ex-Oakland) are fits in 4-3 schemes. Both are 31 years old. Burnett comes off wrist surgery. Jones brings special teams value.

Cornerback: Asante Samuel, Dunta Robinson, Corey Webster, D.J. Moore.

Samuel, 33, has 51 career picks, but he’s entering his 12th NFL season. The 32-year-old Robinson would add experience and physicality to a secondary. Webster (20 career interceptions) is a 10th-year pro. Moore, 27, could help in “sub” packages.

Safety: Michael Huff, Ed Reed, Reed Doughty.

The safety market was thinned late in July with the departures of Steve Gregory (Kansas City) and Jim Leonhard (Cleveland). The 31-year-old Huff had stints with Denver and Baltimore a season ago. He was benched after his first (and only) start with the Ravens, a game in which Peyton Manning threw seven TDs. Reed, 35, is a future Hall of Famer nearing the end of his career. Doughty, 31, has made 54 career starts.

Returner: Josh Cribbs.

A long-time special teams ace who can return kickoffs and punts and cover kicks, Cribbs can also be utilized at receiver and in “Wildcat” packages.

Kicker: Rob Bironas.

Has connected on 85.7 percent of his field goals (239-of-279) in his NFL career. May not have the same punch on kickoffs he had earlier in his career — forced just 32 touchbacks out of 80 attempts last season.

Punter: Mat McBriar.

Posted a 41.3-yard gross average (35.0-yard net) a season ago in nine games with Pittsburgh.

83 responses to “PFT’s 2014 All-Unemployed Team

  1. How about the fact that Adam Podlesh is employed? He’s on the Steelers roster………… I think this team needs a new punter?

  2. There was a suggestion of Michael Bush at RB. He received consideration and could have made it. Certainly one of the better big backs out there. — MW

  3. Julius Peppers should be on this list, but the Packers think a 35 year old man that has significantly got worse since he left Carolina is a “solid pick up.” The past four years packers fans have been calling him washed up and now he is the best player in the NFL….cheese brain logic!

  4. Just shows you how fragile an NFL life is. Some of these guys were college studs and a few highly regarded pros at one time. Sad.

  5. Sopoaga couldn’t cut it with the Pats after Wilfork went down and they traded for him. He played well for a few plays in a couple of games and disappeared other than that.

  6. If someone needs a guy to slam into the line and make a few yards, Bush would be a decent pickup. Ronnie Brown is another crafty older guy.

  7. Vikings will sign Asante. Josh robinson cannot be our #2 corner. Cap will play the slot and i hope Josh only sees the field in dime situations

  8. Nobody thinks Peppers is the best player in the league – they are just laughing at the ridiculous amount of money the Bears threw at him. But he was still the sorry Bears’ only pass-rushing threat last year. And even now he counts more against the Bears salary cap than the Packers. Think about that when he’s tearing Cutandrunler a new one this year.

  9. IF hes healthy and ready to go on the cheap i wouldn’t mind kickin the tires on Holmes in Detroit.

  10. There’s a reason these guys are still out there.Injuries,age and lack of production are all factors.If teams need extra bodies for training camp some of them will get a chance.

  11. James Anderson was good for us in Carolina and he had a decent year last year. Surprised he’s still on the market.

    I don’t care if McKinnie is 135 and has only 1 functioning leg, he’s still better than Byron Bell. Sign him DG!!!!!!

  12. Wasn’t it about this time last year that many teams were wooing the services of one Vonta Leach including my beloved ‘Phins? It’s amazing what a difference a year makes.

  13. I disagree with the comment about Vonta Leach. The ravens never used him strictly as a blocking back. He’s got hands, and made a bunch of catches that he converted to TDs over the few seasons we had him.

  14. Davin Joseph and Dustin Keller or Jermichael Finley(if healthy) are the only ones I’d consider.

  15. Why are two crappy tackles, part of the worst OL in NFL history, let alone Dolphins history–McKinney and especially Clabo, WHO WAS BENCHED FOR PITY SAKES!–on this list…I know, I know…nobody wants Bully Boy Incognito, even though he’s much better than these two…The Dolphins will start Albert, Billy Turner (rookie), Pouncey, Shelly Smith or Dallas Thomas (2nd year), and Jawan James…two rookies, a former backup, and two pro bowlers–gelling as the year goes on, and will be light years better than what they had last year (and Benton is a much better coach than BullyGate Jim Turner).

  16. BRING CRIBBS BACK TO CLEVELAND! If only to make up for all of the jersey’s I’ve had to throw away in the past 10 years. At least I’d be able recycle one!

  17. Greer should have made this list since Finley did . When healthy he would be a better and experienced option at corner for alot of teams

  18. Kevin Williams is 34 is better than most DT’s in the league he would be a great asset as a 3rd DT or first off the bench player. James Anderson not being on a team after recording 102 tackles is puzzling. Both players bring leadership and expierence to the table. I’m surprised Dunta Robinson hasn’t made the move to safety with his physical play the transition should be seamless.

  19. Seneca Wallace has a plus .500 career start record and a career 86 QB rating. Quinn is something like 2-12 as a starter! Willie McGahee, Tashard Choice, Greg Jones. Devonne Bess, Kevin Walter, Travelle Wharton, Jeremy Trueblood, David Stewart, David Diehl. Jason Spitz, Uche Nwaneri, Sean Locklear.Kellen Winslow, Tony Scheffler, Jimmy Grahm, Fred Davis. Le’Ron McClain, Micheal Robinson, Rob Bironis. Brett Keisel, Andre Carter, Adam Carriker, Johnny Jolly, Isaac Sopoaga, Ryan Pickett, Colin Cole. Jonathan Vilma, Paris Lenon, Will Herring, Erin Henderson, Omar Gaither, Will Witherspoon, Ernie Sims. Aaron Ross, Jabbari Greer, Corey Webster

  20. @drs12522:

    David Diehl retired. He actually just accepted a job as a broadcaster with Fox. Was more of a turnstile than a blocker the last 2+ years anyway.

  21. Vonte is still a good player, but the league is changing and no one spends money on a fullback anymore. Can’t blame them better off throwing and hoping for a penalty. It’s the new soft nfl.

  22. Chris Kluwe is currently writing a profanity-ridden 5,000-word essay on a) why he belongs on this list, and b) how it’s all Mike Priefer’s fault.

  23. Julius Peppers should be on this list, but the Packers think a 35 year old man that has significantly got worse since he left Carolina is a “solid pick up.” The past four years packers fans have been calling him washed up and now he is the best player in the NFL….cheese brain logic!
    As a Packers fan I cannot remember any fan calling Peppers washed up,he was and is well respected.the Packers wont have to use him in the same way the Bears did,he wont have to play every down,he will be able to rest,Peppers has most often had to fight through double teams with the Bears,having Matthews on the other side who are they going to double up on? he isnt washed up by any means and with the Packers he just may play like a youngster again which wont be good for the opposition.

  24. Eric Winston could help the Carolina Panthers offensive line woes but they have no money to sign anyone and want to go at LT with Byron “Turnstile” Bell. Gettleman has a plan.

  25. How is G Travelle Wharton, a TOP 5 rated guard per PFF in 2013, NOT on this list. That’s a heck of an oversight. And TE Dustin Keller’s omission isn’t far behind.

  26. Orton isn’t really unemployed.

    If he WANTED to be on a team, he’d be on the Cowboys.

    It isn’t like the league is pushing him away becaue they don’t think he can cut it anymore.

    So, yeah he’s not playing but it’s his choice.

  27. No love for Dallas Clark?

    ==========================

    I spent last year watching passes from Flacco clank off his hands like they were hitting a fire hydrant. He couldn’t block an elderly Sunday school teacher! I can answer that…nope, no love!

  28. Chris Kluwe is currently writing a profanity-ridden 5,000-word essay on a) why he belongs on this list, and b) how it’s all Mike Priefer’s fault.

    ===============================
    …and he’s suing for unfair labor practices because no one has picked him up…

  29. Most of the names from the top are from the Cowboys and the ones that weren’t will probably be added to the Cowboys. Jones is a master at running or ruining a team. LOL

  30. Dallas Clark signed a one day contract with the Colts and officially retired a Colt. Could be why he isn’t on the list.
    Ed Reed should have retired with Lewis after the Super Bowl it seems. Sad to see him be forced out instead of on his terms.
    Surprised Cribbs is not on a roster.

  31. With the Bears losing their likely would-be 3rd WR (Wilson, due to the broken clavicle), I think they should seriously check out Josh Cribbs – not only could he be a viable stopgap #3 WR, but he could also help fill the hole left in the return game by the departure of Devin Hester.

    From what I’ve read, none of the returners currently in camp are wowing anybody, and the Bears special teams have ALWAYS been a big impact group. If they don’t want to experience such a massive drop-off from Hester, Cribbs would be great option.

  32. Austin Collie ‘ s 179 career receptions are greater than the amount of neurons he’s got left in his brain after all the concussions. Unemployed for his own health. This team is terrible.

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