The biggest 2019 free agents are officially off the market, but there is plenty of talent available as teams search for value late in the offseason.
Here are 10 unsigned veterans who can fill holes remaining on NFL rosters following the draft:
Ezekiel Ansah ?? Seahawks
After trading Frank Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle’s pass rush is projected to suffer in 2019. The team selected L.J. Collier in the first round to fill the Michael Bennett role (‘big’ defensive end), but a speed rusher must be added as well. Ansah played in just seven games (two starts) last season due to a shoulder injury and was never quite himself, but he could be in for a rebound campaign. The two sides reportedly met last week, so it’s possible an agreement is on the horizon.
Ndamukong Suh ?? Patriots
Similar to last offseason, Suh may opt to sign a short-term contract with a contending club. We see no better fit than New England. The Patriots lost Malcom Brown and only addressed the defensive tackle position in the fifth round of the draft. Accomplished as a pass-rusher and in run defense, Suh would add a potentially dominant presence to the heart of Bill Belichick’s defense and could be the missing piece to a championship-repeat campaign.
Jay Ajayi ?? Buccaneers
Tampa Bay failed to address its backfield during the draft, but there are still plenty of free-agent options available. Ajayi is coming off a torn ACL, but is likely still an upgrade over Peyton Barber, who averaged a pedestrian 3.7 yards per carry in 2018. At the very least, Ajayi fits as a rotational piece in Bruce Arians’ offense alongside Barber and Ronald Jones, who the Buccaneers hope can take a substantial leap during his sophomore campaign.
Eric Berry ?? Jaguars
Tom Coughlin and the Jaguars intend to revert to their winning formula from 2017: run the football and play stellar defense. While Jacksonville has talent at every position on its stop unit, they are weakest at safety opposite 2018 third-round pick Ronnie Harrison. Berry isn’t the All-Pro talent he once was, but he would provide experience and leadership to the back end of the Jaguars’ defense. After all he’s been through, we’d be foolish to bet against Berry rebounding this year.
Jamie Collins ?? Lions
Why not add another former New England Patriot to Detroit’s roster? Collins isn’t quite the playmaking defender he once was, but he’s a versatile chess piece. Matt Patricia could use a short-term upgrade at linebacker next to Jarrad Davis while second-round rookie Jahlani Tavai gets up to speed. Whether it’s as a pass-rusher, in coverage, or against the run, Collins is a risky, high-upside target for any team.
Manti Te’o ?? Broncos
Denver was thought to be interested in drafting the 2019 class’ top-tier linebackers, Devin White and Devin Bush. When the Broncos traded down with the Pittsburgh Steelers, they passed on filling a weak spot on Vic Fangio’s defense. With Te’o still on the market, however, John Elway has the option to add a talented player late in the offseason. The linebacker was effective last year in both coverage and run defense, and would round out a strong Broncos group.
Michael Crabtree ?? Giants
If general manager Dave Gettleman insists his team can be competitive in 2019 with Eli Manning as the starter, he needs to find his quarterback another weapon. While Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard are versatile receivers, the Giants’ offense lacks a true red-zone threat at the position. Now on the wrong side of 30, Crabtree’s play has admittedly declined in recent years, but he’s hauled in eight or more touchdowns in three of his last four campaigns. New York likely can’t trust Corey Coleman or Cody Latimer as full-time starters.
Morris Claiborne ?? Panthers
Carolina has little depth at cornerback behind James Bradberry and Donte Jackson and didn’t address the position during the draft. With relative youth and inexperience in the secondary, Claiborne would add a savvy veteran presence to Ron Rivera’s defense. The former Jets and Cowboys cornerback could compete for an outside spot in nickel packages which would shift Jackson, the Panthers’ 2018 second-rounder, to his comfortable slot role.
Tre Boston ?? Cowboys
A free agent in 2018, Boston didn’t sign with the Arizona Cardinals until late July. He may have to wait just as long this year, but he’s a veteran deserving of at a least one-year contract. The 26-year-old is adept in coverage and profiles as a solid starter who can patrol the deep middle of the field. The Cowboys, who didn’t draft a safety until late into Day 3, should give Boston a call to compete with Xavier Woods opposite George Iloka.
Nick Perry ?? Jets
The Jets selected former Florida standout Jachai Polite in the third round, but are still in need of a boost to their pass rush. Perry battled injuries en route to just 1.5 sacks in nine contests last season, but accumulated 18 combined sacks over the previous two campaigns. The former first-round pick, who is still just 29, would add experience and production to a relatively young group.