While most of the prized free agents have been scooped up and signed to their new teams, there are still several key players looking for work in the National Football League. A rundown of some of the best ones left:
After spending 13 seasons as Peyton Manning’s to-go receiver in Indianapolis, the eight-time Pro Bowler was cut loose following injury-plagued 2007 and 2008 campaigns. At 36, Harrison isn’t the player he once was but could still be a valuable target for teams looking for a sure-handed receiver. Early indications have him on the Minnesota Viking’s radar, which could make for an intriguing combination should the Vikes confirm rumours and sign QB Brett Favre.
Legal issues have hounded Burress over the last year, which is why nobody has picked up on the 31-year-old star who was an All-Pro in 2007. The sticking point with Plax is that he still faces trial ramifications after shooting himself in a New York nightclub in November of last year – unable to reach a sentencing agreement, Burress’ lawyer had the trial adjourned until September. That means any team looking to sign Burress (who has four 1000-yard receiving seasons to his credit) faces the prospect of losing him to jail time and, inevitably, a suspension from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Despite this, as many as five teams (including Tampa Bay and Chicago) have expressed an interest in his services. Should be interesting to see how this one plays out.
Not long ago, McAlister was viewed as one of the top cornerbacks in football. But in February, he was left without work. A three-time Pro Bowl selection and prominent feature in the Baltimore Ravens secondary, McAlister was a surprise cut having played in Baltimore for 10 seasons, but should catch on with a team prior to the start of the season. When healthy, he is a dominant cover guy with a knack for big plays – in 2006, he had six interceptions, returning two for touchdowns.
One of the most shocking cuts this offseason came in the form of linebacker Derrick Brooks, who was handed his walking papers by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There might not have been a more identifiable player in franchise history; Brooks played 15 seasons in Tampa, was a nine-time All Pro, named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2002 and earned a Super Bowl ring with the Bucs that same season. Brooks is a gifted tackler who – at age 36 – can still get it done; last year he recorded 73 tackles while playing in a limited role.