As the calendar changes to June 1, the NFL is preparing for a second round of free agency. While this signing period will not be as active, nor have as many big names, as the intial start to free agency, this one could be just as critical. The league allows teams who release players with signing bonus money still owed them to spread the salary cap hit over two years, if the player is released on June 1 or later.
Add to the potentially available veteran players that under NFL rules, players signed June 2 or later do not count against a team's compensatory draft pick chances, and teams could actively start signing depth pieces to their team.
Who is currently on the market, prior to the additions of any June 1 cuts? We take a look at the best remaining players.
Holmes is clearly on the downhill side of his career, but he is still a solid route-runner and can become a quarterback's security blanket. He looked better last year as he got healthier, but injury problems and age are a concern, and explains why he is still unsigned at this point. He signed an enormous contract with the Jets in 2010, but should not be expecting anything near that now.
Finley is coming off a major neck injury, one that led to a fusing of vertebrates and put his career in doubt. He has received clearance from his doctor, who is also the neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but will still have to pass a physical from any time that wants to sign him. He's a big name available on the market, though he does have drop issues, and the injury will clearly be a concern.
McKinnie joined the Dolphins mid-season last year, and immediately improved the left tackle position. He is, however, at the end of his career, and may not be in position to be a 16-game starting left tackle anymore. He is 34-years old and may have to settle for either moving to the right side for the first time in his career, or serving as a backup left tackle.
Bush will not be the feature running back in an offense, but he could be the power back a team needs for a short yardage situation. No one is going to break the bank for Bush, but he absolutely has a role in the league and he will find a landing spot this summer.
5. Richie Incognito, G
Former Team: Miami Dolphins
If not for the bullying-saga, Incognito would probably already be signed somewhere in the league. He's a Pro Bowl talent guard, who will come to a team with a lot of baggage. He will wind up somewhere, especially if a starting guard gets injured in the preseason, but he may have to wait a while before that contract offer comes.
The 30-year old Winston started all 16 games last year for Arizona, and still has the talent to find a job as a starting offensive tackle in the league. He is a much-better run-blocker than pass-protector, but should find a team willing to make him a decent offer. His position as the NFLPA President could be hurting his free agency stock, however.
7. Dustin Keller, TE
Former Team: Miami Dolphins
Major injury concerns surround Keller after a preseason hit last year resulted in the tearing of three ligaments in his knee. He will turn 30 during the season this year, and the injury was seen as, potentially, career ending. If he is healthy, he could find a role as a complementary tight end.
The starting free safety for the Broncos last year, Adams is now 33-years-old, which will keep him from landing a long term deal with a new team. Adams is a solid, if unspectacular, safety, who is comfortable in the box and can help in tight end converage.
Injuries have been a concern for Angerer over the past few years, but he has also been playing out of position. Built to be a 4-3 linebacker, he has been playing in a 3-4 for the Colts, and the wear-and-tear has taken its toll. He could revive his career by moving back to a 4-3 team, and at only 27, he should be able to find a team.
The Dolphins’ Wildcat triggerman is on the market after two seasons with the Chargers. He is not the same player that led Miami to select him with the second overall pick in 2005, he has transitioned his game into an effective third-down back, while still having the ability to break off the occasional long run, like his 58-yard touchdown in the playoffs last year.