As NFL Training Camps open up and fans get excited for the likes of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and the return of Peyton Manning, let's not forget that there are veterans that have remained unsigned this summer. Here are my top available NFL free agents that can help a team right now.
Running Back Cedric Benson
2011 team: Cincinnati Bengals
Benson is still out there and waiting for a call from an NFL team. The former Bengals and Bears running back is coming off a solid 2011 campaign in which he had 1,067 rush yards and six touchdowns for a young Bengals team that went to the playoffs.
Benson is a workhorse and a veteran back that can be an impact player in 2012. In his last 3 seasons he's eclipsed 1,050 rush yards and has scored at least six touchdowns. Benson's best fit to be signed would be in Baltimore as a back up to star Ray Rice. The Ravens lost Ricky Williams to retirement at the end of another deep playoff run and Benson could be a nice 3rd down running back who could start if necessary.
Wide Receiver Plaxico Burress
2011 team: New York Jets
The embattled wide receiver Burress is on the market and with his height, Super Bowl experience and raw ability, a team has to be enticed to bring him into camp. Coming off a decent season in the Big Apple with Mark Sanchez as his QB, Burress still has something left in the tank. Burress like Benson is coming off a solid 2011 season. He had 45 receptions, 612 yards and eight touchdowns for a Jets team that missed the playoffs.
Burress' best fit in 2012 might be here in Houston with the surging Texans. Andre Johnson continues to be injury prone having missed parts of the last two seasons and again getting hurt (groin) in the early parts of this 2012 training camp. The Texans are thin at WR and have a few rookies on the roster. A potential Burress add to the team would put fans in the seats and give Matt Schaub another redzone target.
Running Back Ryan Grant
2011 team: Green Bay Packers
A year removed from a Super Bowl Championship and Grant is without a team. Despite only 559 rush yards and two touchdowns last season while splitting time with James Starks, Grant still has something left in the tank for another season. After missing all of 2010 with injury and playing part time in 2011, Grant has less wear and tear on his body then other NFL running backs. He's still just 29, but his 2008 and 2009 seasons had him combined for over 2,400 yards and 15 touchdowns. If a team gets the old Grant as opposed to the current Grant, he can make an huge impact.
A fit in my mind for Grant in 2012 would be in Oakland where he could backup Darren McFadden. The Raiders have Taiwan Jones and Mike Goodson on the roster at RB, but I'd feel more comfortable as a Raiders fans if Grant was signed as the backup to take over for the departed Michael Bush (Bears).