The whirlwind of the first few days of free agency has come and gone and the NFL draft is now a few weeks old. Teams are now signing their new rookies and getting them into camp to see how they will shape up. But, many have forgotten some veterans who have been cut over the past few months — for some of those players it may even be the end of the line. Let’s take a look at a few of the available free agents that still have enough in the tank to make a fantasy impact in their new landing spot.
Dez Bryant — Wide Receiver
After being cut from the Dallas Cowboys right before the draft, Dez will now take his career 531 catches, 7,459 yards, and 73 TDs to another team. Believe that Bryant can still bring it come Sunday afternoons. Yes, he will turn 30 in November, but he still has enough in the tank to get a multi-year contract. The Baltimore Ravens offered him a great deal, however he turned it down and who would blame him? Joe Flacco isn’t the best QB out there (although the selection of Lamar Jackson late in the first round is intriguing). I would like to see him land with one of the following three teams: The Houston Texans. Can you imagine him lining up with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller? Hopkins goes deep, Fuller across the middle, and Dez works the Red Zone, while DeShaun Watson throws to all three. The Seattle Seahawks need another WR as they let Paul Richardson go in free agency. Russell Wilson would enjoy throwing to both Dez and Doug Baldwin. That would definitely help Wilson in fantasy leagues too. And finally, I think another great landing spot for Dez would be the Miami Dolphins. They need that big body WR now that Jarvis Landry is in Cleveland. Most of Miami’s wideouts have smaller statures with good possession skill sets. Bryant would give Ryan Tannehill a real WR1 target on the outside.
Other possible options: New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots
DeMarco Murray — Running Back
Another former Cowboy, Murray still has some tread left on those tires. How much, I’m not really sure? He just completed his seventh season in the league and now has 1,604 total carries (he racked up a career-high 392 in 2014 with Dallas). But, I think he still has the skills and wherewithal to play another year or two. I would put him on one of two teams, starting with the Indianapolis Colts. After releasing Frank Gore, they need another running back. Yes, Marlon Mack is the lead back right now. However, he isn’t really capable of carrying 200 plus times this season.
If the Colts were to bring in Murray as a starter, then Mack could relieve Murray as he did for Gore. If Andrew Luck comes back and plays this year, the one thing that would be holding them back is a running back. Another team I think Murray would fit well with is the Houston Texans. The Lamar Miller experiment in Houston is about to run out. I’m not saying Murray is the answer to replace Miller, but he could be a bridge back or a change of pace back until D’onta Foreman comes back from his Achilles injury. The Texans may not be a practical landing spot, however, it does make senses for the Texans to kick the tires on him.
Other possible options: Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks
Coby Fleener and Julius Thomas — Tight Ends
Both have been cut by their teams (Saints and Dolphins) and are in search of a new team. In my opinion, both players would fit well with the New England Patriots. I know they have both Gronk and Dwayne Allen, but for starters, Gronk isn’t going anywhere unless he retires and Allen, well, he’s Dwayne Allen. The Patriots like to use two tight end sets and both Fleener and Thomas could come in and fill that position better than Allen. Both are bigger targets for Brady and the passing game. Adding one of these tight ends will help the Patriots in the passing game and get them back to the Super Bowl.
Another possible landing spot for both would be the Houston Texans. With no true starting tight end on the roster, both Fleener or Thomas could come in and fill that void in Week 1. Either one would be an upgrade and a great weapon in the passing game for Watson. Both would bring a veteran presence and experience to the table around a young QB.
*Update – With the devastating loss of Hunter Henry for the season with an ACL tear, the Los Angeles Chargers are going to need to find a replacement. Currently Virgil Green is the only recognized tight end on the roster and he does not possess the skills to bring Henry’s production level into that offense. Fleener, Thomas and the familiar Antonio Gates will top the list as favorites to be picked up by the Bolts. I think with his previous history of being a red-zone threat in Denver, Julius Thomas may be the guy they target, especially after bridges were seemingly burnt when the team cut ties with Gates at the end of last season.
Other possible options: Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets
Other available free agents and possible landing spots:
RB Adrian Peterson — Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts
RB Paul Perkins — Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys
WR- Jeremy Maclin — Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals
By Tyler Belawske – @TylerBelawske