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Best remaining NFL free agents: Defense

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With training camp less than two weeks away, we're closer than ever to real football.

Not everyone has a part in the action, however, with a laundry list of veteran defensive free agents still pounding the pavement for work.

After examining the league's top remaining offensive free agents on Saturday, it's time to look at some of the more well-known defensive names. Who can clubs turn to when injuries mount and choas sets in?

Let's take a look:

Da'Quan Bowers, end/tackle: The former Bucs mega-bust tried out for the Saints in May but left without a deal. Injuries, poor conditioning and mediocrity discolored his four seasons in Tampa, with the former second-round pick tallying just seven sacks. Around The NFL's Gregg Rosenthal arguably offers more to an NFL defense than Bowers, unless the 25-year-old shows a fire we've never seen during his 10 league starts.

Red Bryant, end: A respected veteran leader, Bryant remains a reliable run-stopper who started all but one game over the past four seasons in stints with Seattle and Jacksonville. Only Michael Bennett and Derek Wolfe graded higher against the run in 2014, per Pro Football Focus, so Bryant is a candidate to find work if he still wants to play.

Osi Umenyiora, end: Once a prized pass-rusher, Umenyiora was an underwhelming presence along Atlanta's defensive front in 2014. Despite just 2.5 sacks last year, the 34-year-old said in February that he doesn't plan to retire. A candidate for media work, Umenyiora is staring at a one-year deal at best if anyone comes calling.

Dwight Freeney, end/linebacker: The Colts have shown no interest in re-signing their former star, but Freeney could still help a team looking for a spot pass-rusher. At 35, he's netted little attention on the open market, but his 40 quarterback hurries last season with the Chargers ranked third behind only Justin Houston and Ryan Kerrigan.

Barry Cofield, tackle: After undergoing winter surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, Cofield has been working out in hopes of another opportunity. He struggled last fall but started all but two games for the Giants and Redskins between 2006 and 2013. Teams looking for interior line help could do worse if Cofield's body cooperates.

Shaun Phillips, linebacker: After flaming out with the Titans and Colts last season, Phillips might be nearing the end. Still, he's just two seasons removed from a 10-sack campaign for the Broncos. He isn't about to post those numbers again, but the former Chargers standout could hear the phone ring at some point this season.

Brandon Spikes, linebacker: A run-stuffer without much else to offer, Spikes blew a second chance with the Patriots after being charged in a June hit-and-run case, an incident he pleaded guilty to. That was enough for New England to hit the ejector seat and it's fair to wonder if another team will come calling. We could see it happening in a pinch, largely because Spikes is only 27.

Thomas DeCoud, safety: At 30, it won't be easy for DeCoud to find another job after an uninspiring 11-start run with the Panthers last autumn. Cut by two teams in as many years, he's a stopgap veteran who can be had on the cheap if a club falls into trouble in the secondary.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses recent news from around the league, including the new contracts for Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas.

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