5 Best Remaining NFL Free Agents as Training Camps Heat Up

RBs on Notice PSeason1

Getty Dexter Williams #22 of the Green Bay Packers works out during training camp at Ray Nitschke Field on July 29, 2021 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin.

NFL training camps are open across the country, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of teams with needs and players still available to fill them.

Whether it is due to injuries suffered during practice, or front offices setting out to improve the depth of their roster as the regular season rapidly approaches, the next few weeks could be jam-packed with moves.

Here’s a look at some of the best remaining NFL free agents, and a couple of best fits for each, as training camps ramp up.

WR – Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham was instrumental in the Los Angeles Rams‘ second-half surge into the Super Bowl, before his Cinderella story was cut short by a torn ACL suffered in the first half.

While Beckham might not be the same player that he was in his prime, he remains productive and is still a matchup nightmare for opposing secondaries. In 14 games last season, Beckham hauled in 44 receptions for 537 yards and 5 touchdowns.

The Rams signed Allen Robinson this offseason, but that move might not preclude Los Angeles from trying to bring Beckham back into quarterback Matthew Stafford’s supporting cast.

Having won his first Super Bowl ring last season, it would seem most likely that a team on the cusp of giving Beckham a chance to play for another might be his most likely destination.

Best fits: Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans

RB – Dexter Williams

Williams, 25, was a focal point of the Philadelphia Stars’ rushing attack during this spring’s USFL season, including accounting for 102 yards from scrimmage in a Championship Game loss to the Birmingham Stallions.

Chosen by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft, Williams logged just 7 carries for 19 yards, in seven games across two seasons in the NFL.

Last season, Williams bounced around a bit, spending time in the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, and Cleveland Browns organizations, but never got on the field.

The Giants have been kicking the tires on adding a veteran back, behind Saquon Barkley, after working out Devontae Booker last week, so Williams could be in the mix for a return to North Jersey. Meanwhile, the Eagles have been in the market all offseason on a veteran running back all offseason, as well.

Because injuries are so frequent in the NFL, and teams seemingly are constantly aiming to bolster depth at the position, it wouldn’t be surprising for Williams to latch on and get another NFL opportunity this summer.

Potential fits: Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers

OT – Duane Brown

Brown might be the most accomplished, and dominant, offensive tackle remaining on the open market.

Last season, Brown garnered a 71.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, but the fact that he also allowed eight sacks, could be a significant reason why he remains available this deep into free agency.

However, teams looking for a swing tackle, or if disaster would strike and a significant injury happens up front, it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if Brown is high up on teams’ emergency lists.

The Jets could wind up being an ideal match for the three-time All-Pro, especially as a veteran mentor along a young offensive line.

Best fits: New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers

LB – Anthony Barr

Steady veteran leadership in the middle of a defense is invaluable, and that is exactly what Barr could provide a team, as a plug-and-play starter.

Injuries limited Barr during his final season with the Minnesota Vikings, but the eight-year veteran still produced 72 total tackles, intercepted 3 passes, recovered 2 fumbles and logged 2.5 sacks in 11 games.

Barr could find a soft landing spot with the Dallas Cowboys, as the organization looks to build out depth behind reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of The Year, Micah Parsons. Likewise, the Washington Commanders could make some sense, as the organization continues to invest heavily in the front seven. But, don’t rule out Barr donning the purple and gold in a reunion, of sorts, either.

Potential fits: Dallas Cowboys, Washington Commanders, Minnesota Vikings

WR/KR – John Franklin

John Franklin is one of the more intriguing names still available, especially for teams looking to jumpstart their return game.

Franklin, 28, was a key piece of the Tampa Bandits’ offense during this spring’s USFL season, and showed a knack both for creating separation and coming down with contested passes. He’s also a potentially electrifying returner, on special teams.

Prior to his USFL season, Franklin was in Buccaneers’ training camp in 2021 and logged a single carry for 11 yards. This spring, Franklin caught 14 passes for 170 yards and 3 touchdowns, putting a strong foot forward to NFL teams scouring the wire for quality depth.

Best fits: Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears

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