Commentary

Colvin, Culpepper among notables still available

Despite a flurry of signings, the free-agent market isn't completely tapped. John Clayton looks at the five best players still available.

Originally Published: March 17, 2008
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

As free agency moves into its third week, 91 players have switched teams and 54 re-signed with their 2007 clubs. That leaves a thin list of 166 players, including more than a half-dozen who are expected to retire.

The hardest thing to find is young players. A little less than half of the players on the unrestricted list -- 78 to be exact -- are in their 30s. Who are the best of the remaining players?

Brandon Chillar

Chillar

Linebacker
St. Louis Rams

Profile

2007 Season Stats
Tot Solo Ast FF Sack Int
67 54 13 3 3 0

1. Brandon Chillar, LB, St. Louis Rams
At 25, Chillar has all the right numbers to help out as a strongside linebacker. He's 242 pounds. He's young. He has 41 starts in four seasons. Though he's not a spectacular player, he does everything well.

The Cardinals and Packers are among the teams interested in Chillar. He's among a handful of linebackers who still have a chance to get a nice multiyear contract (Ian Gold is another). Chillar is big enough and strong enough to thrive in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.

2. Rosevelt Colvin, LB, New England Patriots
Cut by the Patriots, Colvin is having a difficult time generating interest. That's a surprise. He's only 30 and could play outside linebacker or defensive end. During his final four years with the Patriots, he averaged six sacks a season and still has the potential for 10.

The market for 3-4 outside linebackers has slowed since the signings of Calvin Pace (Jets), Travis LaBoy (Arizona) and Antwan Odom (Cincinnati). Colvin is slightly more attractive than Clark Haggans (Pittsburgh), who is expected to visit the Browns this week.

3. Grady Jackson, DT, Jacksonville Jaguars
Run-stopping defensive tackles are hard to find, which maintains Jackson's market value. He's 35, but he's still good enough to start. Not only is Jackson immovable on running downs, he can push the pocket on passing downs. He got out of Atlanta early last season and ended up playing well for the Jaguars down the stretch.

Teams had to give up multiple draft choices for Marcus Stroud, Kris Jenkins and Shaun Rogers. Jackson is available for a phone call and the right money.

[+] EnlargeDaunte Culpepper
Tim Umphrey/Getty Images If healthy, Daunte Culpepper could end up being a steal for a team looking for a backup quarterback.

4. Daunte Culpepper, QB, Oakland Raiders
His knee is healthy and he still has the strong arm. Culpepper started six games for the Raiders last season, posting a strong 7.2 yards per attempt and completing 58.1 percent of his passes. Culpepper and Byron Leftwich are the best quarterbacks available in a market in which teams are looking for more backups than starters.

It's not out of the question for Culpepper to go back to the Raiders. The backup quarterback market is closing quickly. The Rams, Saints, Falcons and Giants made deals with backups last week. The Packers and a few other teams are still looking.

5. Kris Wilson, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs loved the versatility of Wilson, a former second-round choice. Drafted as a tight end, he's helped out as an H-back, a fullback and a blocking tight end. What's valuable for interested teams is his ability to catch passes. He caught 15 passes in 10 starts in 2006 and had 24 catches last season. A team needing a tight end can use him exclusively as a pass-catcher, but he's also valuable as a blocker. Plus, at 26, he's just entering his prime.

Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer