In past years, the month of May gave every team a chance to celebrate its offseason achievements, with most organizations being overly optimistic that their work would result in a Super Bowl contender. However, this year, things are different. Way different. Now, with the lockout still in effect and the uncertainty regarding which rules will eventually be in place once football returns, teams still have needs to fill.
Yet, based on Jason La Canfora's potential free-agent list, the pickings will be slim to fill needs. Still, since we have time on our hands, I thought it might be fun to put five off-the-beaten-track free agents with teams that have a large need for their particular skill set.
QB Matt Hasselbeck -- Seahawks to Titans
With the Titans already saying that Jake Locker is not going to play right away, the best option for them to bring in and tutor the rookie would be Matt Hasselbeck. Even though Hasselbeck is getting older and is less durable than ever, he can still be effective, especially when given protection, something the Titans do well. He would fit well with Tennessee, giving the team a veteran presence to then allow Locker to grow and learn all while the Titans can still compete at the highest level. The money spent on Hasselbeck would be the best investment the Titans can make this offseason.
RB Darren Sproles -- Bolts to Rams
Sproles would be to the Rams what Danny Woodhead has been to the Patriots. He would allow Sam Bradford to have an effective check-down option, is a great screen runner, and his talents would force teams to defend the middle of the field, thus taking pressure off the outside receivers. Think of St. Louis being like the 2010 New England offense. With new Rams tight end Lance Kendricks being like Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, Danny Amendola being similar and as effective as Wes Welker, and Sproles being Woodhead, the Rams would be explosive. One third-down back, and the Rams are on their way to being a top-five scoring offense.
MLB Barrett Ruud -- Bucs to Giants
Ruud fits the profile of what the Giants want in their middle backer. Someone with size, speed and the ability to make plays in the passing game. Last year, the G-Men hoped Keith Bulluck could give them one more good season. However, his age and injuries impacted his performance. Adding Ruud would give the Giants a solid player inside, a tackling machine and someone who understands how to play in their scheme.
Unofficial list of free agents
OLB Matt Roth -- Browns to Patriots
The Patriots are most effective on defense when they can set the edge with big outside backers who have the ability to rush the passer in a physical style. Roth has been a good addition for the Browns since he left Miami and has been able to accumulate 7.5 sacks in the last 22 games and over 100 tackles. Roth is not an ideal coverage outside backer, but his size, toughness and power would fit in perfectly with the Patriots.
G Robert Gallery -- Raiders to Ravens
Gallery was supposed to be the left tackle of the future for the Raiders but was moved all over the line, finally settling in at left guard. He would be effective in the Ravens' scheme and would give them a potential starting right tackle or guard -- he played right tackle effectively his first two years in the league. His style is also a fit with the team thanks to his work habits and toughness. Above all, Gallery needs to go to a team that will provide some stability in terms of coaching and what position he plays.
As a former second-overall pick, Gallery has made his share of money. Now he must find a winning team that can utilize his skill set and validate his talents.