Here are thirteen of the most underrated free agent signings of the NFL 2016 offseason. These are players that did not receive much attention from their fans last season or had success at a high level at one point in their career. These players can make an immediate impact for their teams. Who is your favorite free agent signing this offseason?
1: Tashaun Gipson, Safety, 25, Jacksonville Jaguars
Contract: 5 Year - $36 Million with $12 Million guaranteed.
In 2014, Gipson was a pro bowler player who had six interceptions and was considered an uprising star for the Cleveland Browns. Then injury struck and Gipson was considered expendable. In 2015, Gipson had 60 tackles, 4 passes defended, and 2 interceptions. Gipson could be the Earl Thomas type of defender for the Jacksonville Jaguars that they need in the secondary.
2: Damon “Snacks" Harrison, Defensive Tackle, 27, New York Giants
Contract: 5 Year - $46.25 Million with $24 Million guaranteed.
Harrison had 72 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and 3 force fumbles in 2015. As a 3-4 nose tackle, Harrison had superstar production and was named an All-Pro in 2015. The New York Jets could not afford to keep him since the need to resign their entire defensive line within three years. The New York Giants finally get their interior defender that they need. Harrison is also only 27, so expect long term production from him.
3: Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton, Defensive Tackle, 29, New England Patriots
Contract: 1 Year - $1.75 Million with $250K guaranteed.
In 2015, Knighton had 29 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Knighton isn’t a player that has high stats, but be is a highly capable rotational defensive lineman. I expect him to make an impact on the defensive line at New England.
4: Prince Amukamara, Cornerback, 26, Jacksonville Jaguars
Contract: 1 Year - $5.5 Million with $3 Million guaranteed.
In 2015, Amukamara had 63 tackles, 11 passes defended, one interception, and a forced fumble. Having spent his entire career on the Giants, which aren’t known for their amazing cornerback coaching, Amukamara finally gets a coach that really understands the cornerback position. Gus Bradley being a defensive coordinator for Seattle (the first of two to become a head coach) will
revitalize Amukamara's career with the Jaguars.
5: Travis Benjamin, Wide Receiver/Return-man, 26, San Diego Chargers
Contract: 4 Year - $24 Million with $13 Million guaranteed.
Benjamin is a nifty small wide-out that can contribute on special teams as well with his elite speed. This will help Rivers immensely and diversify the Chargers offensive capabilities. Benjamin had 68 receptions for 966 yards 14.2 yards per reception average 5 TD 12 receptions of over 20+ yards and 6 for 40+ yards with a generic QB for the Cleveland Browns last season.
6: Tyvon Branch, Safety, 29, Arizona Cardinals
Contract: 2 Year - $8.0 Million with $5 Million guaranteed.
A highly athletic and aggressive defender, Branch fits perfectly as a secondary member for the Arizona Cardinals. In 2015, Branch had 43 tackles, 35 solo one sacks, 6 passes defended, 1 defensive TD, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. He may not start, but he surely will be a contributor for the Arizona Cardinals.
7: Ladarius Green, Tight End, 25, Pittsburgh Steelers
Contract: 4 Year - $20 Million with $4.75 Million guaranteed.
Started 11 games, had 37 receptions for 429 yards, and had 4 touchdowns in 2015. The biggest issue for Green is his durability. Green brings an elite physicality for the Steelers offense in the seam. Imagine how he will turn out if he learns from Heath Miller for a couple of seasons.
8: Alex Mack, Center, 30, Atlanta Falcons
Contract: 5 Year - $45 Million with $28.5 Million guaranteed.
Mack has been an All-Pro for multiple years. Mack was sidelined by a broken fibula in 2015. Mack is one of the best centers in the NFL. Bringing Mack into the NFC South gives the Falcons the ability to take the reins from the Carolina Panthers.
9: Alfred Morris, Halfback, 27, Dallas Cowboys
Contract: 2 Year - $3.5 Million with $1.8 Million guaranteed.
Certainly hit a regression year, Morris had 3.7 yards per carry average for 751 yards. With one touchdown the entire season. He’s young, though, it's nothing to sweat. Having a horrible season with the Redskins was not entirely Morris’ fault. He was not a scheme fit for Jay Gruden’s offense. I expect Morris to return to Pro Bowl form with the Dallas Cowboys.
10: Andre Smith, Right Tackle, 29, Minnesota Vikings
Contract: 1 Year - $3.5 million with $500K guaranteed.
An All-Pro in 2012, Smith has been a great offensive lineman but couldn't keep it together. He is a great pass protector which has been an issue for a long time for the Minnesota Vikings.
11: Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, 29, Oakland Raiders
Contract: 4 Year - $37 Million with $19 Million guaranteed.
Bruce Irvin is an amazing player that excelled during his tenure with the Seattle Seahawks. Although his stats aren’t that sexy, Irvin had 38 tackles 5.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 2015. He brings elite speed and the ability as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end for Coach Jack Del Rio. I cannot wait to see Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, Mario Edwards, Jr., and Bruce Irvin to take over the AFC West.
12: Reggie Nelson, Safety, 32, Oakland Raiders
Contract: 2 Year - $8.5 Million with $4 Million guaranteed.
In 2015, Nelson had 52 tackles, 22 passes defended, eight interceptions, 115 interception return yards, and two fumble recoveries. In 2015, Nelson lead the league in interceptions. The only reason why he wasn’t resigned by the Bengals was concerns with his age. After Charles Woodson retired, there is a big hole in Free Safety and Reggie Nelson will help the Raiders with experience.
13: Michael Griffin, Safety, 31, Minnesota Vikings
Contract: 1 Year - $2.5 Million with $750K guaranteed.
In 2014, Griffin had 101 tackles, 4 passes defended, and one interception. Griffin was a pro-bowl safety for the Titans in 2008 and 2010. Griffin has been a good player during his tenure with the Tennessee Titans. He brings the experience that is necessary to have in Mike Zimmer’s defense. He will be a great teammate to Harrison “the Hitman” Smith.