Technically speaking, unrestricted free agency is over for the 2015 offseason and has been for more than a week.
On May 12, all free agents became street free agents, compared to previous years when it was June 1. After this date, all free agent signings don’t count against compensatory draft picks in the following draft, hence the reclassification of the players.
With this in mind, there are still some players on the market who could help your favorite team reach the playoffs in the 2015 season. As teams suffer injuries in minicamps and other team activities, expect to see these free agents sign with teams.
Earlier this week, I post looked at the best offensive free agents left.
Defensive End: Dwight Freeney
With 111.5 career sacks, the 35-year old Freeney has been one of the best pass rushers since entering the NFL in 2002. An Indianapolis legend, he has spent the last two seasons in San Diego and has recorded a total of four sacks in 20 games. While he may not be taking down the quarterback as much as he used to, he is still getting pressure. He had 40 quarterback hurries last season, tied for the ninth most in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). Freeney is no longer an every down player, but he can contribute as a pass rushing specialist.
Defensive End: Red Bryant
Bryant is almost the exact opposite of Freeney, offering run stuffing ability, but not much in the way of pass rushing. Playing in Jacksonville, he recorded 23 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble in 2014. The 31-year old did the dirty work for the Jaguars, clogging run lanes and freeing up other defenders. While he was PFF's third worst pass rushing 4-3 defensive end, he was tied for the third best in run defense. Every team needs a player who stops the run on the defensive line.
Defensive Tackle: Barry Cofield
Prior to missing eight games last season due to injury, Cofield, 31 years old, had missed just one game in his first eight seasons. Most nose tackles are run defense specialists, but Cofield made a habit of getting to the quarterback in 2012 and 2013, recording a combined five sacks, 24 quarterback hits and 43 quarterback hurries in these seasons, per PFF. Interior pass rush is the toughest for offenses to stop, so defensive coaches are always on the look out for players with Cofield's ability.
Defensive Tackle: C.J. Mosley
Due to the performance of Mosley's namesake in Baltimore last year, the 31-year old defensive tackle is now the "other" C.J. Mosley. Thrust into the starting lineup last year with Nick Fairley injured, Mosley filled in admirably and the highly regarded Detroit defense didn't appear to miss a beat. He can start if needed, but is best fit as a backup who plays about 20 snaps per game.
Linebacker: Lance Briggs
For the first time in Briggs' career, he won't be playing in Chicago. After 12 seasons and 1,173 tackles, the the Bears decided not to re-sign him. Over the last two seasons, the 34-year old has been limited to a total of 17 games due to injuries. When on the field in 2013 and 2014, he has been productive, averaging just over six tackles per game. Plenty of teams could use help at linebacker and San Francisco has expressed quite a bit of interest. Expect to see Briggs sign with a team soon.
Linebacker: Geno Hayes
After starting 25 games at outside linebacker for the Jaguars the past two years, Hayes is still looking for a job. With Jacksonville, the 27-year old recorded 128 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. PFF graded him as their 12th best 4-3 outside linebacker last season (out of 40 qualifiers). An undersized linebacker (226 lbs), he won't be a fit for most teams, but on the field he has been productive.
Linebacker: Jacquian Williams
The New York Giants have gone through quite a few linebackers in recent years and Williams is one of them. In four seasons at the Meadowlands, he started 22 games and recorded 243 tackles and two sacks from his outside linebacker position. Before ending 2014 on injured reserve, he had 77 tackles in nine games. The 26-year old Williams isn't likely find another starting job, but he can be a solid backup for teams.
Cornerback: Tarell Brown
Brown has spent his entire eight-year career in the Bay Area, spending seven seasons with the 49ers and one season (2014) with the Raiders. He has been a starter since 2011, though he probably won't find a starting job at this point in free agency. With Oakland, he allowed 62.7 percent of passes to be completed against him for a quarterback rating of 91.7, per PFF. There won't be any repeats of 2012 (his best season), but the 30-year old can still be a solid cornerback in the NFL.
Cornerback: Carlos Rogers
A teammate of Brown since 2011, Rogers, 33 years old, has started 123 regular season games in his 1o year career. Playing just seven games last season before a knee injury ended his season, Rogers struggled in coverage, allowing 84.6 percent of passes to be completed against him for a quarterback rating of 116.3. This completion percentage was tied for the worst in the NFL out of qualifying cornerbacks, per PFF. Rogers has lost a step, but if a team loses a cornerback to injury, he will be on the short list for many general managers.
Safety: Dawan Landry
Since 2010 (five seasons), few safeties have been as productive as the 32-year old Landry, who has recorded 515 tackles without missing a game. A veteran of Rex Ryan's blitz happy defenses (Landry has played for Ryan in Baltimore and New York), Landry was PFF's ninth best safety last season. A reunion with Ryan in Buffalo would make sense. Expect Landry to join a new team by training camp.
Safety: Bernard Pollard
Known for hard hits and injuring Patriots' players, the 30-year old Pollard puts the strong in strong safety. A box safety, he is part of a dying breed in the NFL, as teams are looking for versatile safeties who excel in coverage. Coming off a torn Achilles' tendon, he must prove his health to teams before they sign the outspoken safety, who requested his release from Tennessee in order to join a winning team.
Matt Pearce is a graduate of National Football Post's Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_Pearce13