Vince Wilfork, Ridley lead remaining free agents

The frenzy has slowed to a trickle this weekend. After a dizzying week of blockbuster trades and high-octane signings, the free agent market has nearly been picked clean.

Keep in mind, though, that key Super Bowl contributors such as Malcolm Butler, LeGarrette Blount, Akeem Ayers and Alan Branch weren't even on the Patriots roster after last year's draft.

There are plenty of attractive options available. Here's a look at nine veterans we like entering the second week of free agency.

Vince Wilfork, defensive tackle: Although Wilfork only has another year or two left, he led the Patriots defensive linemen in snaps last season, carving out space as a run plugger. He has connections to Texans coaches Bill O'Brien, Romeo Crennel and Mike Vrabel from their time together in New England. 

Tramon Williams and Charles Tillman, cornerbacks: The cornerback market is wacky. Flash-in-the-pan Perrish Cox got $15 million from the Titans. One-year wonder Chris Culliver pulled in $32 million from the Redskins. And solid veterans like Williams and Tillman can't find work? Tillman has injury and age concerns, but was playing at a high level before tearing his triceps in late September.

Stevan Ridley and Pierre Thomas, running backs: Ridley could be a bargain signing as a between-the-tackles grinder coming off a torn ACL. Thomas is just a year removed from leading all running backs in receptions. He can help a team like the Patriots in the passing-down specialist role.

Brandon Spikes, linebacker: A condensed version of Wilfork, Spikes has value as a two-down, run-stuffing linebacker. Just don't ask him to cover any running backs or tight ends.

Cecil Shorts, wide receiver: At his best, Shorts is a Victor Cruz-like talent in the slot, specializing in making plays after the catch. Soft-tissue injuries have prevented him from reaching peak form over the past two years.

Rob Housler, tight end: Reminiscent of former Cowboys star Jay Novacek, Housler is a freakishly athletic tight end underutilized in Arizona. Bruce Arians asks his tight ends to block first and foremost, which left "move" tight end Housler without a role. He could break out for 50 catches and 700 yards in the right offense, like Atlanta's.

Stefen Wisniewski, center: Still just 25 years old, the versatile Wisniewski has started 61 of 64 games since entering the league as second-round draft pick. So why were the Raiders so quick to move on from him this offseason? It's a good sign that a smart team like the Seahawks is interested in signing him to replace Max Unger.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down DeMarco Murray's move to the Eagles and breaks down which teams have been wise in free agency. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content