3. Role Players
OT Tyson Clabo
Clabo was the Atlanta Falcons’ top offensive lineman last season, but the team decided to release him even though he had a reasonable contract. Perhaps his age was a concern, but some lucky team can scoop him up and reap the benefits of signing him on the cheap.
OT Max Starks
Starks has been Ben Roethlisberger’s anchor on the left side of the line for years now. He’s not going to earn any trips to the Pro Bowl, but he can be an adequate tackle for a team in need of a starter and a strong backup for one that doesn’t.
RB Michael Turner
Michael Turner’s time as a starting running back may be over, but he can still be a fairly effective contributor coming off the bench. He has been the Atlanta Falcons’ workhorse back over the past five seasons, but all those carries have taken a toll on his body. Even though his production has slipped, he still had 803 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns last year. However, he’ll likely be limited to goal-line duties and the occasional third-and-short play wherever he lands.
RB Felix Jones
Jones never really caught on as a full-time starting tailback with the Dallas Cowboys. He certainly had the skillset to thrive in the role, but not only was his body unable to stand up to the rigors of a full workload, he disappointed when given the opportunity.
Even so, Jones is only 26, and he’s still effective in the passing game. Not to mention, outside of last season’s disappointing 3.6 YPC average, he has averaged nearly 4.8 YPC over his career.
RB Peyton Hillis
After breaking out in 2010 with the Cleveland Browns, Hillis’ career has been a disaster ever since. His follow up campaign was disappointing even before it was cut short due to injury (the Madden curse strikes again), and his time backing up Jamaal Charles in Kansas City last season was completely forgettable.
Hillis has clearly lost a step, but he could still potentially be useful as a short-yardage back. Some teams may even decide to use him as a fullback on occasion.
RB Beanie Wells
Wells has been a huge bust thus far, but he’s only 25, so there are still some teams that may be willing to roll the dice on him. However, he gets dinged up pretty easily, and there are serious concerns over his knee.
To compound things for an already bleak market for Wells, he only offers marginal returns as a two-down back. He may end up being relegated to short-yardage situations.
WR Brandon Lloyd
Lloyd is far and away the best wide receiver left in free agency. While he didn’t exactly work out in New England, he still had a good year with 74 receptions, 911 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
There are concerns that he’s bi-polar after reports of odd behavior while with New England, but he could be a strong No. 3 option or even a serviceable No. 2 for a number of teams.
WR Laurent Robinson
Robinson broke out with the Dallas Cowboys two seasons ago with 54 receptions, 858 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. However, after signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, his numbers dropped to 24 receptions and 252 yards with no touchdowns after being limited to seven games due to concussions.
If he chooses to continue playing in the NFL, teams need to be wary after he suffered four concussions last season alone. He has been medically cleared, but he’s one head injury from hanging up his threads.
KR/PR Josh Cribbs
Cribbs won’t do a whole lot for you outside of being a return specialist, but it’s hard to argue against his contributions on special teams. Even at the age of 30, he’s still a dangerous playmaker in the return game, and he’s more than capable of taking it to the house on any given play.