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Making a team out of remaining free-agent options

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The free-agent market has taken on the feel of one of those barren bodegas in New York. The shelves are half empty, dust is collecting on the items and you don't feel totally safe about putting any of what's available into your system.

But it's late, and you're desperate or drunk (or both), so you take a deep breath and make some hard choices.

Here's my hypothetical NFL team comprised of veterans who have yet to sign with a team as of April 5. I've limited it to starting offense, defense, kicker and punter. I will hire Mike Westhoff to fill out the special teams/take me out on his fishing boat/teach me life lessons.

Positional breakdowns

Let's get to it ...


OFFENSE

QB: Michael Vick

RB: Ahmad Bradshaw
RB: Stevan Ridley

WR: Michael Crabtree
WR: Greg Jennings
WR: Wes Welker

TE: Jermaine Gresham

LT: Jake Long
LG: Justin Blalock
C: Stefen Wisniewski
RG: Chris Myers
RT: Joe Barksdale

Thoughts: This unit is a bit on the seasoned side, but not totally awful. Even at his advanced age, Vick has the most upside of other quarterbacks left on the market. I reserve the right to offer Kyle Orton a fancy steak dinner to lure him back out of retirement. My backfield combo of Bradshaw and Ridley is legitimately frisky ... if they can stay on the field. I might have a better wideout group than the Browns. My line has some veteran moxie, though I'm in big trouble if Long can't get right after another knee surgery.


DEFENSE

CB: Ike Taylor
CB: Charles Tillman

S: Stevie Brown
S: Bernard Pollard

LB: Lance Briggs
LB: Brandon Spikes
LB: Joe Mays
LB: Shaun Phillips

DE: Dwight Freeney
DL: Red Bryant
DL: Barry Cofield
DE: Mathias Kiwanuka

Thoughts: I'm not really sure if we're running a 4-3 or a 3-4 yet, so back off. I'm just trying to acquire talent, even if most could be cast in a Thirtysomething reboot at this point. The Taylor/Tillman combo will give my defensive coordinator night terrors when elite QBs come to town. I like the idea that Bernard Pollard will end his career having played briefly for every NFL team, including my fake one. Red Bryant is a solid locker room "glue" guy.


SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Jay Feely
P: Mat McBriar

Thoughts: Feely may not have the leg he once did, but he's a sturdy option who can get the job done at age 38. McBriar, 35, spent time with the Chargers last season and averaged nearly 47 yards per punt. He's Australian, spells his first name with one 't' and looks like this.

Final analysis: Sixteen of the 24 players here will be 30 or older by Week 1. That tells you a lot about how the NFL values veterans once they reach their third decade. It's a tough gig, but all graying sons can find safe haven with my 5-11 outfit.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast plays its newest game, 'What's your Fancy?' and debates if you'd trade Aaron Rodgers for Andrew Luck. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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