Last week marked the beginning of NFL free agency and included a lot of activity. Most of the big names are off the board, but there are still quality players on the market. Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower is one the top free agent available and he’s still out there weighing his options. All-Pro running backs Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles have yet to sign a new contract. Teams continue to host free agents, with some top targets taking multiple meetings at this point in the process. Below, we check out the best remaining free agents:
Dont’a Hightower, LB, Patriots – He’s reportedly met with the Jets and Titans and has received interest from multiple teams including the Steelers. Arguably one of the most crucial defensive pieces for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, he was the player that strip-sacked Matt Ryan which started the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Hightower ended the season with 65 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, a safety and two pass deflections. Playing in just 13 games last season could be the reason why Hightower remains unsigned second week into free agency. Either way, he’s the top player on the market.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings – AP visited with the Seahawks this week, but left without a deal then they signed Eddie Lacy on Tuesday. Several reports state that Peterson will be taking his time making a decision, especially with the only team truly linked to him signed another back. It’s most likely Peterson returns to Minnesota Vikings if they don’t sign Latavius Murray, who’s scheduled to meet with the team this week. He only averaged 1.9 yards per carry last year and has only played just 20 out of 48 games in the past three seasons due to a suspension in 2014 and a knee injury in 2016.
Morris Claiborne, CB, Cowboys – The Dallas Cowboys would have liked to bring Claiborne back, but the signing of Nolan Carroll may have ended any thought of going back to the Cowboys. Throw in the fact that this year’s defensive back class is pretty deep and Claiborne will most likely have a new team next season. He is coming off the best season of his career, despite playing just seven games. Racking up 24 solo tackles, 5 pass deflections and 1 interception, but he’s injury-prone and that’s the main reason the market for him has been pretty small at this point.
Dontari Poe, DT, Chiefs – The exceptionally physically gifted big man has had interest from multiple teams and reportedly visited with the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, the Atlanta Falcons and is reportedly set to meet with the Miami Dolphins sometime this week. The Kansas City Chiefs have signed defensive tackle Bennie Logan on Monday and didn’t place the franchise tag on Poe, so he likely won’t return to the team that drafted him. In five years with the Chiefs, he totaled 200 combined tackles, 13 sacks, 12 pass deflections, 1 passing touchdown and 1 rushing touchdown.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs – He visited with the Seahawks this week who is talking to all the available running backs in free agency, and since they signed Eddie Lacy earlier this week it leaves Charles scrambling for a new job. The 30-year old back is battling lingering knee problems which have limited him to only eight games the last two seasons due to a torn ACL that required multiple surgeries. Those previous injuries are a concern for a running back at his age. Still, when he’s healthy and has started at least 15 games he’s totaled more than 1,000 yards and five touchdowns in each season with the most being 12 in 2013.
Jared Cook, TE, Packers – The Packers signed former Patriot Martellus Bennett, Cook is out in Green Bay and is looking for a new team. He still can be a valuable piece for any team looking for a tight end after coming off a season where he tallied good numbers in just 10 games with 377 yards receiving and 1 touchdown. Cook had six catches of 20-plus yards down field and 19 first down receptions. It’ll be tough for him in this market as this year’s draft class is loaded at the position, but he’s definitely a player that can help a team that lacks splash plays down field.
Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders – Murray is expected to meet with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings this week and was linked to the Seattle Seahawks before their signing of Eddie Lacy. A power runner who can be a starting every down back at the age of 27 after missing his whole rookie season due to injury. He played just three games in his second year before running for 788 yards on 195 carries and 12 touchdowns in 14 games last season.