Who is the best available NFL free agent?
1:44 | NFL
Who is the best available NFL free agent?
Friday February 27th, 2015

NFL free agency arrives on March 10, so now is the time for teams to free up money and roster spots. Keep track below of all the players who have been released this offseason: 

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Josh McCown, Buccaneers: How does a 35-year-old journeyman become the prize of the free-agent QB class? It helps when the competition for that title is made up mainly of career backups. McCown fell under the same umbrella until subbing in for Jay Cutler in 2013. Now, he at least has 16 starts and 4,000 yards to show for his past two seasons. (UPDATE: Signed deal with Browns.)

Running backs

• Reggie Bush, LionsBush actually posted a career-high 1,512 yards from scrimmage in his first Detroit season (2013). He was too often out of the lineup last year, though, finishing with just 297 yards rushing and two TDs. In spurts, Bush still can help a team with his signature explosiveness. Could a reunion with New Orleans be forthcoming?

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• Peyton Hillis, GiantsLong gone are the days of Peyton Hillis, "Madden" cover boy. The 29-year-old back (feels like he's older, right?) has 671 yards rushing combined over the past three seasons, just 115 of those coming in 2014.

Steven Jackson, FalconsOnce one of the league's great power backs, Jackson is now but a plodding version of his former self. He hit 707 yards rushing nonetheless last season and might be able to challenge that number behind a better line.

Pierre Thomas, Saints: Saddled by the league's worst cap situation, the Saints face some tough decisions this offseason. Losing Thomas after eight seasons qualifies. An outstanding pass-catching back, Thomas ends his New Orleans career with 327 receptions and nearly 3,800 yards rushing. Could he replace Bush in Detroit? Former Saints assistant Joe Lombardi now calls the plays there. 

Wide receivers

• Harry Douglas, Falcons: Valuable as Atlanta's slot receiver, Douglas's unwieldy contract made him expendable—the Falcons saved $3.5 million by cutting him. Connect the dots on Douglas to Tampa Bay, what with ex-Falcons coordinator Dirk Koetter now calling plays for the Bucs.

• Brandon GibsonDolphinsDepending on what happens with Mike Wallace this offseason, the Dolphins could feature Jarvis Landry and a completely remade WR corps in 2015. Gibson caught 29 passes for 295 yards last season, hardly worth his $4.26 million cap hit.

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• Ted Ginn, CardinalsGinn's 2013 performance for Carolina (36 catches for 556 yards and five TDs, 911 returns yards) probably is the high end for his expectations moving forward. As a Cardinal in 2014, Ginn averaged a career-low 19.0 yards on kick returns.

• Brian Hartline, DolphinsA 39-catch, 474-yard season, like the one Hartline had in 2014, does not befit a player carrying a $7.35 million cap hit. The veteran will have to take far less than that, ideally on a team with at least one or two proven options.

• Jacoby Jones, RavensConsidering how few dangerous return men there are in the NFL, Jones should find work. But his future role may be limited to special teams; he was of little help as a receiver last season. (UPDATE: Signed deal with Chargers.)

• Greg Little, BengalsCleveland and now Cincinnati have given up on Little (six catches in '14), so he may have to sit around until camps open before he gets an offer.

Lance Moore, Steelers: A member of the Saints' receiving corps from 2006-13, Moore struggled to make an impact after transitioning to Pittsburgh, making just 14 catches last season. There won't be much out there for him in free agency beyond a shot as a team's No. 4 or 5 receiver.

Tight ends

Anthony Fasano, ChiefsA nearly $2 million cap hit, a disappointing 2014 showing (225 yards receiving and myriad injury woes) and the emergence of Travis Kelce pushed Fasano out the door. He'll have to work to earn a spot elsewhere.

Offensive linemen

 Justin Blalock, Falcons: The arrival of Kyle Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme was a bad omen for Blalock, who also had a $7.9 million cap hit next season. On the other hand, he's missed just three starts since 2007, so someone will come calling.

• Todd Herremans, EaglesHerremans had been with Philadelphia since being drafted in 2005, but he's struggled to stay healthy of late (16 combined missed games in 2012 and '14). Enough teams need veteran guard help to make even a declining Herremans a viable option this offseason.

• Charlie Johnson, VikingsA 14-game starter last season, Johnson has experience at guard and both tackle spots. Versatility like that is always in demand.

• Mike Pollak, BengalsTruth be told, a team could do worse than having Pollak as a swing interior lineman. He has 52 career starts under his belt.

JD Walton, Giants: Walton started all last season for the Giants, but his $2.5 million cap hit and the presence of Weston Richburg led to an easy decision. There won't be a line of GMs waiting to add Walton. He'll have to win a job in camp.

• Chris Myers, Texans

Defensive linemen

Darnell Dockett, Cardinals: A three-time Pro Bowler, Dockett missed all of 2014 with a knee injury and had the Cardinals on the hook for a $9.8 million '15 cap hit. His reported release still came as a bit of a surprise because it sounded like he and the Cardinals were headed toward a restructured contract. Dockett should be ready for the start of next season. However, he will turn 34 in May and has not suited up since Dec. 29, 2013. (UPDATE: Signed a two-year deal with the 49ers.)

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• Stephen Bowen, RedskinsA high-priced free-agent signing who failed to meet expectations in Washington ... stop us if you've heard this one before. Axing Bowen saves $5.5 million, and the soon-to-be 31-year-old tackle first has to prove he's healthy (knee) before landing another contract.

• Chris Canty, Ravens: The 32-year-old Canty reportedly has considered retirement, which made Baltimore's decision to recoup $2.66 million by cutting him an easy call.

• Barry Cofield, Redskins: Were it not for $4 million in cap savings, Washington might have held onto the 30-year-old lineman. Cofield can push the pocket, so he'd be a nice fit as a rotational piece.

• Robert Geathers, Bengals: Was 2014 the end of the line for the 11-year vet? Geathers missed 14 games with an elbow ailment the year prior, then came back to notch just one sack in his final Cincinnati go-round.

• Mathias Kiwanuka, Giants: There was no way the Giants could justify passing on a $4.8 million refund to keep Kiwanuka, who's coming off a knee injury and a career-worst 2.5-sack season. A one-year "prove-it" deal might be in order.

• Kendall Langford, RamsAaron Donald squeezed Langford out of the lineup and St. Louis saved $6 million by releasing him. That said, Langford brings more than enough to the table to compete for a starting gig elsewhere, no matter the scheme.

Jonathan Massaquoi, Falcons: How poor was Atlanta's pass rush last season? Massaquoi finished tied for third in sacks with two. He has shown some flashes of legitimate pass-rushing ability at times, albeit far too infrequently. (UPDATE: Claimed off waivers by the Titans.)

Vance Walker, Chiefs

• Vince Wilfork, Patriots: Loyalty only gets you so far in the NFL, so the Patriots cut Wilfork after 11 seasons before a roster bonus kicked in, saving themselves $8.5 million in the process. The 33-year-old Wilfork said in a statement that he plans to keep playing. He should hear from numerous teams before long. Even now, he remains a force up front against the run.

LaMarr Woodley, Raiders: An ill-fated move from Pittsburgh to Oakland put a dent in Woodley's career, as he failed to record a sack and landed on injured reserve after just six games. Whereas the Raiders hoped he could start as a 4-3 DE, Woodley would be better off as an OLB in a 3-4 like he was back in Pittsburgh. He's a rotational guy at best. 


• A.J. Hawk, PackersHawk wore out his welcome in Green Bay, with an ankle injury slowing him late in the year. His 102.3 tackles-per-year average since his 2006 debut will earn him a shot in a different uniform.

• Brad Jones, Packers: Jones started the 2014 season alongside Hawk at ILB and ended it as a complete non-factor on defense. He certainly will not break the bank this offseason. (UPDATE: Signed deal with Eagles.)

• Shaun Phillips, ColtsFollowing an impressive 10-sack 2013 with Denver, Phillips's production fell off a cliff last season -- two sacks for Tennessee and none in five games with the Colts. Phillips will turn 34 in May.

Trent Cole, Eagles: Another victim of Chip Kelly's roster purge, Cole registered a combined 14.5 sacks over the past two seasons. However, he's probably going to make his way back into a 4-3 defense after spending time in Kelly's 3-4 scheme.


• Will Blackmon, JaguarsJacksonville has an estimated $60 million of cap space to spend and saved about $925K releasing Blackmon, so you do the math. Blackmon, 30, has played double-digit games in just two of his eight NFL seasons.

• Cortland Finnegan, Dolphins: Few players appear safe in Miami as the reworked front office tries to cleanse the roster. With a $6.475 million cap hit and just $1 million of it guaranteed, Finnegan was an obvious cut candidate. He's now three years removed from being one of free agency's most coveted CBs and is a borderline starter at this point.

Cary Williams, Eagles: Williams was not as bad (at least late in the year) as Philadelphia fans may have claimed he was, but he also did not warrant the $8.2 million salary he stood to earn in 2015. The Eagles saved $6.5 million by releasing him. A return to Baltimore could be in the cards for Williams, who played there from 2009-12.


• Tyvon Branch, RaidersWhen Branch restructured his contract by way of an extension back in 2013, he looked to be an important cog in Oakland's rebuild. The following two seasons saw him play a mere five games. If he is healthy, though, there won't be many better safety options on the market.

Bernard Pollard, Titans: The 30-year-old Pollard tore his Achilles early last October, which means he comes with a degree of risk for any interested team. Now that he has been granted the release he requested from the Titans, count him among the more proven names in a thin safety class. Pollard still brings it against the run.

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