Likely landing spots for 8 best remaining NFL free agents

By Vincent Frank
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

NFL teams have already pretty much moved on from the offseason and are preparing for training camps to start late next month.

This doesn’t mean teams aren’t doing their due diligence when comes to a watered-down free agent market. Several serviceable veterans remain unsigned.

From a former Pro bowler in Kansas City to a couple well-known pass catchers, here’s a look at the eight-best remaining free agents and their possible landing spots.

Nick Perry, EDGE

Prior to suffering through an injury plagued 2018 campaign that saw him miss all but nine games with the Packers, this former first-round pick was on an upward trajectory. The USC alum recorded 30 quarterback hits and 18 sacks over the previous two years. There’s going to be a late-summer market for his services. Among teams that seem to be a fit, the Oakland Raiders still need pass-rush help. Head coach Jon Gruden has not been afraid to take on injury risks and castoffs. We’re expecting that to ring true with Perry.

Michael Crabtree, wide receiver

Given the Ravens’ lack of proven talent, it was a surprise to see them move on from Crabtree during the spring. Even at 31 years old and boasting a regressing skillset, Crabtree can still be a valuable possession receiver. He recorded 54 receptions for 607 yards in Baltimore last season. Some contending team will surely come calling here soon. We’re going to boldly predict that Crabtree lands on the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers after they traded away malcontent Antonio Brown. He could slot in as the No. 3 behind JuJu Smith-Schuster and Donte Moncrief.

Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive line

Wilkerson’s recent injury history and off-field issues could be forcing teams to ignore the former Pro Bowler. A former first-round pick of the New York Jets back in 2010, Wilkerson missed all but three games with the Packers last season to injury. He was also arrested earlier this offseason on DUI charges. Despite this, there’s going to be a market for a guy that has performed at a Pro bowl level a good five times in his career. Based on Wilkerson playing end in 3-4 defenses throughout his career, his market is going to be limited to teams that run that scheme. It’s in this that a team like the Chicago Bears could make sense. If healthy, Wilkerson would be an upgrade over Bilal Nichols and/or Jonathan Bullard at end.

Morris Claiborne, cornerback

It’s somewhat surprising to see Claiborne still on the market after two relatively healthy seasons with the New York Jets. Sure the former first-round pick has not lived up to that billing. But it had in the past been primarily about injuries. Claiborne started 30 games over the past two seasons, recording 22 passes defended and three interceptions. Some team will come calling. We’re expecting said team to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They need help at cornerback with the likes of Vernon Hargreaves, Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart failing to prove themselves.

Donald Penn, offensive tackle

Even at 36 years old and coming off an injury-plagued 2018 campaign, there should be a late-summer market for this three-time Pro Bowler. Prior to last season, Penn was still playing at a high level into his mid 30s. Some team will look to recapture that flame. We’re expecting it to be the New England Patriots. They whiffed on signing fellow veteran Jared Veldheer after he retired days into his Patriots career. Penn would be an obvious option to start at right tackle or left tackle out of the gate.

Tre Boston, safety

It’s astonishing to realize that a guy who has posted 24 passes defended and 10 interceptions over the past three seasons is still available. Even more ridiculous is that fact that Boston is about to turn just 27. He’s in the prime of his career. Following another injury to Jimmie Ward and with safety now being a major question mark, the San Francisco 49ers seems to make the most sense here. They’ve punted on the idea of adding a veteran safety this offseason. But with the injury to Ward, that must change.

Dez Bryant, wide receiver

There really has not been a market for the 30-year-old Bryant after he fell out of favor in Dallas and suffered a torn Achilles mere days into his Saints tenure last year. With that said, multiple teams are in need of an upgrade wide receiver. Among those, the Washington Redskins make a ton of sense. Bryant has noted in the past that he’d like to sign in the NFC East as a way to exact revenge on the Cowboys. What better way than to sign with their most-hated rival?

Eric Berry, safety

Having played in three games over the past two seasons, it’s not yet known whether Berry has anything left in the tank. He’s visited with multiple teams this offseason, but to no avail. Boasting the best track record of any remaining free agent, this five-time Pro Bowler should be on a team by the time training camp starts. We’re going with a Dallas Cowboys team that flirted with the idea of adding Earl Thomas and has already visited with Berry. They’re obviously desperate for a safety. Berry makes the most sense.