The new NFL season is almost upon us, but there is still time for the various franchises to add new faces to their rosters as they eye success in 2022-23.
Perhaps the easiest way to sign new recruits at this time of the year is via free agency, and it’s notable that there are still some quality operators out there that are still without a team.
There are five in particular who, despite injury, advancing years, and a preference for pursuing a career as a rapper, would still add plenty of class and experience to any franchise willing to take a chance on them.
Odell Beckham Jr
Yes, that’s right – a player who scored a touchdown in last season’s Super Bowl game is available to sign right now.
Beckham Jr crossed the line for the Los Angeles Rams in their win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI, but it was a victory that would come at a cost for the 29-year-old – he tore his ACL during the game, and that’s the second time he has suffered the potentially career-ending injury.
The Rams are considered no more than +1000 outsiders in the NFL betting this season, but the addition of Beckham Jr – assuming he has retained his speed and snap – would boost their, or any other franchise’s, hopes of battling it out for the Vince Lombardi trophy.
It would be fair to say that there’s often an element of risk attached to signing a free agent. But Antonio Brown, who ran off the field during a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game last season and simply didn’t return to football, would be a next-level gamble.
He has since released a rap album and performed, to mixed reviews, at a number of festivals, and so it’s doubtful that the 34-year-old’s head is in the game as far as a return to the NFL is concerned.
Most TD since 2014, among WR— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) August 2, 2022
Mike Evans 76 0
Davante Adams 73 2
Antonio Brown 70 4
Tyreek Hill 67 3
DeAndre Hopkins 66 3 pic.twitter.com/xyicfdyAeZ
But never say never… and remember, this is a seven-time Pro Bowl receiver we’re talking about.
By his own high standards, the 2021-22 season was something of a disappointment for Jason Pierre-Paul.
But you only have to roll back to 2020-21 to find a player who delivered 55 combined tackles and 9.5 sacks during the regular season before excelling in the playoffs – terrorizing Patrick Mahomes in the process – to help Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl LV title.
Still only 33, Pierre-Paul could add plenty of quality to the linebacking ranks of a number of NFL franchises.
A Super Bowl champion and five-time Pro Bowl selection, Ndamukong Suh possesses a resumé that is the envy of many of his peers.
At 35, evidently, his career is winding down, but the defensive tackle still featured in 17 games for the Bucs last season – confirming he still has plenty of gas left in the tank.
A former NFL MVP and three-time Pro Bowl pick, Cam Newton has the pedigree to burn.
The problem is that his 2021 season, in which he played sporadically for the Carolina Panthers, was far below-par, and it would be a risk to take the 33-year-old on now.
But Newton, like the other players on this free agency list, does offer plenty of upsides if he can recapture his best form.