Underrated NFL Free Agents Who Could Pay Big Dividends


October 14, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Michael Bennett (71) rushes during the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As expected, the big names in Free Agency have already been signed including Mike Wallace, Reggie Bush, and Paul Kruger. Despite all of the stars that have been signed already in these two days, there are a few underrated players out there that could really pay off for some teams. These players will be relatively inexpensive, which could make these player’s performances even more valuable to whichever team gains their services.

Brandon Myers, TE, Oakland –  Brandon Myers is one of the least known players in the tight end market, and that shouldn’t be the case. Myers quietly lead the Raiders in both receptions and receiving yards. Myers was easily Carson Palmer’s most reliable target throughout the year. In his 2012 campaign Myers hauled in 79 passes for 806 yards, and 4 touchdowns including a remarkable performance in week 13 when he recorded 14 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown. Myers is only 27, and he could have his best years ahead of him.

Michael Bennett, DE, Tampa Bay – With most of the publicity on defensive ends going to players like Cliff Avril, Dwight Freeney, and Osi Umenyiora, Bennett doesn’t get much notice. Bennett recorded 9 sacks, 41 tackles, and 3 forced fumbles. Bennett more than doubled his sack total from last season, and is also 27 years old. Bennett defends the run extremely well, and can get after the quarterback. Bennett is also looking forward to his prime years as a defensive end, he has the potential to blossom into a very talented pass rusher.

Keenan Lewis, CB, Pittsburgh – There is quite a substantial amount of talent at the cornerback position yet, and Lewis part of it. Not many people know about Lewis, and that’s understandable, but it’s time to fill you in. Lewis was arguably Pittsburgh’s best corner, and really did a great job in 2012. Lewis totaled 71 tackles, 23 passes defended, and a forced fumble. Lewis was unable to collect an interception, but only gave up a 52.7 completion percentage, and only surrendered 3 touchdowns all season. Lewis is 26, and just like the others is ready for his prime years. Lewis has a great chance to be a very good corner wherever he may land.

Connor Barwin, DE/OLB, Houston – With a deep defensive end pool in free agency, Barwin finds himself in an awkward position. Barwin was extremely effective in 2011 when he recorded 11.5 sacks, but he only managed 3 in 2012. Some may say the reason for his dropped production from those seasons could be the development from fellow team mate J.J. Watt, and that makes sense. Barwin still has a ton of talent, and potential being only 26 years old. Barwin has a decent amount of talent, and he adds to that with his tremendous work ethic. His dropped production may turn some teams away, but signs point to it just being a bad year for Barwin. If given the proper opportunity, Barwin can be an above average pass rusher, and should be sought after by teams who need help.