Best of the rest: Top 10 remaining NFL free agents

Anwar S. Richardson
Shutdown Corner
Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 29: Jared Allen #69 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates a sack as Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions looks on during the first quarter of the game on December 29, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The NFL free agency bonanza is beginning to slow down because most of the premier players have been signed. In Rodger Safford’s case, he was signed, had his contract voided after failing a physical, and is expected to re-sign with his former team.

NFL teams have signed the top players on their wish list, but there are still a few hidden gems remaining in free agency. The majority of the remaining players have question marks, however, one team will likely take a risk and hope to catch lightning in a bottle.

Here are the top 10 remaining free agents:

1. Steve Smith, Panthers, WR

Carolina released him on Thursday and believes there are better options available. None of those options are seemingly on Carolina’s current roster. Baltimore, Tampa Bay and New England are Smith’s best options.

2. Ben Tate, Texans, RB

Tate visited the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday, and he fits in well. Cleveland needs an elite running back, especially if the Browns are going to start Brian Hoyer or draft a quarterback. Tate will likely not be on the market for long.

3. Jared Allen, Vikings, DE

He has threatened to retire if interested NFL teams are not willing to give him fair market value. Allen is a tremendous player, but if no team wants to give him a huge pay day, it might be time for him to start life after football.

4. Michael Vick, Eagles, QB

Vick may be forced to wait until after the NFL draft to sign with a team. The market for him has been lukewarm, and it might increase after the draft. Vick wants to start in the NFL, but may have to settle for a roster spot at this rate.

5. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Broncos, CB

He is the best cornerback available right now. Denver's acquisition of Aqib Talib slammed the door on Rodgers-Cromartie’s return. He may not obtain a lucrative long-term deal, but will eventually land in a good spot.

6. James Jones, Packers, WR

The Jets added Eric Decker and are interested in Jones, too. New York is attempting to surround quarterback Geno Smith with plenty of options. Jones is a solid veteran who can help the quarterback develop.

7. Henry Melton, Bears, DT

Melton will visit the Vikings on Thursday. He adds depth to a very strong defensive line. Melton missed 13 games with a knee injury last season. He is a top 10 defensive tackle when healthy.

8. Hakeem Nicks, Giants, WR

Carolina is reportedly the front-runner to land Nicks, who did not catch a touchdown pass in 2013. Nicks has only three touchdowns over the past two seasons. Maybe a change of scenery will help increase his productivity.

9. Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers, WR

Jacksonville and Tampa Bay are actively pursuing Sanders. Tampa Bay is a better fit because it has more offensive weapons, plus a better defense. If Sanders wants a chance to become a No 1 receiver, Jacksonville will give him that opportunity.

10. Julius Peppers, Bears, DE

If Allen is having trouble finding work, Peppers is going to be in for a rude awakening. He is 34-years-old and appears to be declining. NFL teams will likely try to select a defensive end in the draft before offering Peppers a contract.

Best of the rest: Daryl Smith, Ravens, LB;  B.J. Raji, Packers, DE; Justin Tuck, Giants, DE; Julian Edelman, Patriots, WR; Charles Tillman, Bears, CB; Captain Munnerlyn, Panthers, CB; Brandon Pettigrew, Lions, TE; Antonio Cromartie, Jets, CB; Jermichael Finley, Packers, TE; Brandon Browner, Seahawks, CB; Knowshon Moreno, Broncos, RB; Tarrell Brown, 49ers, CB; LeGarrette Blount, Patriots, RB; Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars, RB.


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Anwar S Richardson is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!