News  

 

Trash into treasure: Fits for five released players

Tim Heitman/US Presswire
Vince Young left Tennessee on a sour note, but the embattled QB could be a sweet steal for the right team.


If it's true that one man's trash is another man's treasure, then there are plenty of gems suddenly available on the free-agent market.

Teams have started shedding veterans due to the salary cap considerations and declining performance, but that doesn't mean those graybeards can't provide a new team with a surprising boost.

Let's take a look at a handful of discarded veterans with the ability to make an impact in new locations:

Marion Barber, RB

Why didn't it work out in Dallas? Barber's significant drop in production last season led the Cowboys to look elsewhere for a No. 1 runner. He finished 2010 with only 374 rushing yards and averaged a paltry 3.3 yards per carry. He only scored four touchdowns after averaging eight scores a year for the first five seasons of his career.

Where will he land next? Reuniting with ex-Cowboys assistant Tony Sparano in Miami would be an ideal fit for the seventh-year pro. He is a versatile player capable of grinding between the tackles, while also serving as a viable option in the passing game. He also excels in pass protection, which would allow rookie Daniel Thomas to focus on early-down responsibilities. This would be an invaluable asset for an offense looking to bounce back from a dismal performance a year ago.

Roy Williams, WR

Why didn't it work out in Dallas? The cost for acquiring Williams set the bar so high that he could never meet expectations with his performance. He averaged over 14 yards per catch and scored 13 touchdowns in his 40-game tenure in Dallas and never performed like a true No. 1 receiver.

Where will he land next? Williams would be a terrific fit for a team looking for a solid No. 2. Teams like the St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings would be great fits for his skill set. Although he lacks the speed to be a blazer, Williams is a big target with a penchant for finding the end zone. He would be an ideal target for a young quarterback to rely on.

Todd Heap, TE

Why didn't it work out in Baltimore? Heap was a cap casualty in Baltimore, which is hoping to bring him back at a lower cost. Heap played 10 seasons for the Ravens, the last being one of the most productive of his career. He averaged a career-best 15.0 yards per catch and continued to make big plays down the field. Injuries have always been an issue, but he might find better opportunities than Baltimore on the open market.

Where will he land next? The Arizona Cardinals would be a great fit due to their lack of a middle-of-the-field presence. Heap would alleviate some of the pressure on Larry Fitzgerald and provide a young quarterback -- Kevin Kolb, most likely -- with a big target to find on third-down and in red-zone situations. Throw in his ties with the Arizona community (Heap was a local star at Arizona State), and it could be a perfect match in the desert.


The NFL free agency cycle is in full effect, with teams and players agreeing to terms fast as training camps open. Get the latest on all the news right here.

Nick Barnett, LB

Why didn't it work out in Green Bay? Barnett's injury history and outspoken nature led the Packers to hand over the reins to Desmond Bishop. While the ninth-year pro still has the skills to play at a high level, the abundance of athleticism and talent at linebacker allowed Green Bay to jettison the veteran on the eve of training camp.

Where will he land next? Barnett would fill a void in Buffalo. He would give Chan Gailey a proven winner on the field to provide guidance to a young squad, and his active run-stopping skills would help shore up the defense's biggest weakness. Although the team is toying with the idea of using a hybrid 4-3, Barnett's versatile skills are still an ideal fit -- if he can pass all of the medical evaluations.

Vince Young, QB

Why didn't it work out in Tennessee? Young's immaturity and questionable work ethic prompted the Titans to release him despite his successful record. He simply failed in the leadership department, and several members of the team's front office staff were uncomfortable continuing with Young as the face of the franchise.

Where will he land next? With most of the starting opportunities seemingly locked up, Young should go to a place that will foster the development of his skills. Philadelphia would appear to be the right place based on Andy Reid's terrific track record with quarterbacks. From Donovan McNabb to Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb, he has routinely shown the ability to maximize the talents of his signal-callers. Young would not only benefit from learning how to become more effective from the pocket but rehabilitate his image by developing a stronger work ethic off the field.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15