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Ten best free agents available

June 1 used to be a big date in the NFL. For salary cap reasons, teams would often hold on to costly veterans until June 1 before cutting them and spreading out a cap hit over two years. That's no longer necessary.


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There will be no secondary wave of free agency created this week, but the date still holds some meaning. Teams can sign players without having it affect their compensatory picks; that's why New Orleans waited until Monday to pick up center Jonathan Goodwin.

The start of June got us thinking, however, about what notable players still remain available on the free-agent market. Here are 10 notable players still available:

1. Jermichael Finley, tight end: He would have been a top-five player on our Top 101 free agents list back in February if he was fully healthy. There simply isn't another young, above-average starter still on the market.

Finley's injury, however, is career-threatening. Finley's doctor has medically cleared him to play, but it appears that teams don't agree. At least not yet. According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, Finley has drawn the interest of the Raiders and Steelers, and the Seahawks have ruled out signing Finley. He recently worked out for the Patriots, but there's a chance that the tight end will be forced to accept an insurance settlement that ends his career. If he's cleared to play again, he could make a difference in a playoff push. He stands apart on this list.

2. Kevin Williams, defensive tackle: Like Richard Seymour a year ago, Williams might not be eager to take a huge pay cut in order to be a part-time player. The six-time Pro Bowl player could still help a team as a rotation player. According to Rapoport, the 11-year veteran already has visited with the Patriots. Williams also left reported visits with the Seahawks and Giants without a contract. It wouldn't be a shock if Williams signed after training camps were underway.

3. Santonio Holmes, wide receiver: The talent should still be there at age 30. Motivation is a big reason why teams have not called Holmes up this offseason. Word travels fast around the NFL.

4. Asante Samuel, cornerback: He's past his prime as a cornerback, but Samuel still gave league-average snaps in coverage last year. That should be worth a roster spot somewhere.

5. Dustin Keller, tight end: He's the poor man's Finley in this market. He has big injury risk coming off torn knee ligaments, but he doesn't have quite as much upside as Finley.

6. Travelle Wharton, guard: He was re-born in Carolina as a quality starter. All signs point to him retiring despite job offers out there.

7. James Harrison, linebacker: The one-time Defensive Player of the Year is looking for work as a role player. He fit in as a run-stopper last year in Cincinnati.

8. Paris Lenon, linebacker: He was one of our favorite stories from Super Bowl week last year, the ultimate journeyman who wound up starting the big game. He should still be able to handle a team.

9. Josh Freeman, quarterback: How has he fallen so far, so fast? The Giants chose to keep Curtis Painter over him. Freeman's career seemingly can't end here, and we haven't given up hope on a successful reboot elsewhere.

10. Ed Reed, safety: It's not a good sign when Rex Ryan doesn't particularly want him back. Reed's Hall of Fame career might just fade away from lack of interest.

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