Talent still available after active opening weekend of free agency

The opening weekend of free agency saw teams aggressively address defensive needs, avoid offensive skill players and let Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner try to set a market for themselves. There were trades, none bigger than quarterback Matt Cassel being dealt from New England to Kansas City.

The Giants and Jets loaded up on defensive players while the Broncos stockpiled mid-level talent and alienated quarterback Jay Cutler by considering potential trade offers that could have brought them Cassel. Cal Ripken-esque players Derrick Brooks, Brian Dawkins and Keith Brooking were cut loose by the only teams they ever played with, while some younger cornerbacks who've been previously discarded -- DeAngelo Hall and Domonique Foxworth -- cashed in.

The Redskins provided their definition of economic stimulus by doling out more than $175 million in contracts to Albert Haynesworth, Hall and Derrick Dockery, while several teams did their best to try to correct the market by waiting until the frenzy of the weekend settled to go bargain shopping.

The teams that let others create the headlines over the weekend -- Green Bay, Chicago, Atlanta, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Carolina -- will soon begin to delve into the more affordable inventory. Warner, Lewis and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh are the biggest-name unsigned free agents, but that will change soon.

Here's a look at some of the better players still available.


Byron Leftwich: He likely will wait to find a situation where a starter is on shaky ground and he could emerge as a starter.

Chris Simms: Finally healthy, he could get a shot in Chicago to compete with Kyle Orton. Tennessee could make a push to re-sign him, but there could be better options.

**Rex Grossman**: He might not be held in high regard, but he is battle tested and he started in a Super Bowl.

Running backs

Derrick Ward: This 1,000-yard rusher is paying for the success of so many rookies blowing up last season. Teams would rather go young. Ward, who turns 29 this summer, would be a nice acquisition at an affordable price.

Cedric Benson: He's visiting his hometown Texans, which shows he might prefer locale instead of a featured role in Cincy.

J.J. Arrington: Agreement with Broncos isn't solid, but his versatility, youth and return skills could provide a nice change-of-pace player for most teams.


Laveranues Coles: Former Jet walked away from $6 mil in New York. He has narrowed choices to Bills and Dolphins. To be re-united with Dolphins QB Chad Pennington would seem a natural fit.

Devery Henderson: He is inconsistent, but he's also a big-time playmaker who could end up in Tampa, if not back with New Orleans.

Nate Washington:Steelers' deep-ball threat is what several teams need. His big-play ability draws coverage and can open up underneath routes. (Note: Washington reached an agreement with the Titans on Monday, reports NFL Network's Adam Schefter.)

Offensive line

Harvey Dahl:Falcons have placed a second-round tender on this restricted free agent guard/tackle, but he could be worth it. He is a big, nasty player who was very responsible for Michael Turner's big season.

**Tra Thomas**:Eagles left tackle is getting older, but he can still be effective, especially if he returns to Philly, where he knows the system.

John St. Clair: Veteran Bears tackle could re-sign with his old team, but if not, he can hold things down at right tackle or move to guard if needed.

Defensive line

Igor Olshansky:Chargers 3-4 defensive end should find a home soon with so many teams shifting to a 3-4 scheme.

Chauncey Davis: Rotation defensive end has a wealth of starts and 2008 numbers comparable to Antonio Smith, who just signed a five-year, $35 million deal with Houston.

Jovan Haye: Injuries limited him in '08, but he had six sacks in '07 and could be a good rotational pickup as a three-technique defensive tackle, especially in pass-rush situations. (Note: Haye agreed to a deal with the Titans on Monday. Haye received a four-year, $16 million contract, NFL Network's Adam Schefter is reporting.)


**Derrick Brooks**: Likely Hall of Famer isn't what he was, but he could be a solid situational player. His problem, situational linebackers usually play special teams and he doesn't. Hard to believe he won't find work.

Angelo Crowell: Former Bills starter has some injury concerns, but he's still among the best available players at this thin remaining lot.

Freddie Keiaho:Colts didn't tender the restricted free agent and the play-making, but undersized, weak-side player is free to sign anywhere. He is a Tampa 2 fit, so he is pretty scheme-relegated.

Defensive backs

Jim Leonhard: Tough safety could end up with the Jets and re-unite with Rex Ryan.

**Sean Jones**: Former Browns strong safety won't linger for much longer. He adds youth, tenacity and is a good value.

Ronald Bartell:Rams want to keep cornerback, but Saints might get to him first. (Note: Bartell re-signed with the Rams on Monday, receiving a four-year, $28 million deal that includes $13.5 million in guaranteed money, according to NFL Network's Adam Schefter.)

Bryant McFadden:Steelers' third corner is drawing a lot of interest.

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