As the NFL season is now 17 games and 18 weeks long, it increases the opportunities for injuries to happen. There are teams right now as well who are in prime position for a playoff run and could use a player to get them over the top. From offensive linemen, running backs, or linebackers, some free agents could be of great help to teams.
Here are five current agents that NFL teams should consider signing in November.
5 NFL free agents available for teams in November
#1 Jaylon Smith: Linebacker
Jaylon Smith is just 26 years old and is now looking for a third NFL team in 2021. The Dallas Cowboys drafted Smith in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame. The Cowboys front office did not want to pay the linebacker's injury guarantee for next year. It was reportedly in the area of $10 million. Two days following his release, the Green Bay Packers signed him to give them depth at the position.
But less than a month after the Packers signed Smith, the team decided to part ways with the linebacker before their game against the Chiefs. The two teams over almost a month opted not to have the former Dick Butkus winner (Best Collegiate LB) on their team. In his career, he has played over 3,600 defensive snaps with two interceptions and nine sacks. Several contending teams used his service to add some much-needed LB depth.
One team that comes to mind is the Los Angeles Chargers. Entering the 2021 NFL season, the linebacker core, outside of their 2020 first-round pick Kenneth Murray, was up in the air. The Chargers could have a player like Smith that can play every down. The Cincinnati Bengals could also use him despite the play of linebacker Logan Wilson.
#2 Russell Okung: Offensive Tackle
Russell Okung was a former first-round pick (sixth overall) of the Seattle Seahawks back in 2010. One reason that Okung is unsigned is that he has played in just 13 games because of numerous injuries. Looking at the first six years of his NFL career in Seattle, he started 72 games at left tackle. He earned the first of his two Pro Bowl appearances in 2012 as a member of the Seahawks, with the other one coming in 2017 with the Los Angeles Chargers.
He has also played for the Denver Broncos for a season and seven games for the Carolina Panthers. The former Oklahoma State OT earned $13.5 million last season with the Panthers. If there was a position that teams needed, it would be an offensive lineman. Most of the teams who need an offensive lineman are nowhere in playoff contention. One team that has both playoff and Super Bowl aspirations in need is the Los Angeles Rams.
Despite the need for an interior lineman, the Rams have to protect their quarterback in Matthew Stafford. Okung could play his usual left tackle and move the Rams' current left tackle Andrew Whitworth to guard. Either way, Okung would be a plus at 33-years-old for the offensive line.
#3 Quinton Dunbar: Cornerback
Quinton Dunbar, the former Florida Gator, has had quite the past two years. Dunbar was put on the commissioner’s exempt list after his arrest for armed robbery last year. He was brought back before the start of the 2021 NFL season as armed robbery charges were dismissed. Dunbar played just six games with the Seahawks this season before being out with a knee injury. The only question for some teams is what they will get out of him.
Dunbar played the first years of his NFL career for the Washington Football Team. He had nine interceptions and one sack in his time there. Traded to the Seahawks, he had just one interception in six games. There are a few contending teams that can use the 29-year-old's talent at cornerback.
The Arizona Cardinals could use Dunbar to possibly back up, or even start over, 33-year-old cornerback Robert Alford. Dunbar could be a member of the Cincinnati Bengals to give them another cornerback in a room that includes Chidobe Awuzie, Ricardo Allen, and Eli Apple. Lastly, the Indianapolis Colts could use more depth at the position with the chance of Dunbar starting.
NFL free agents available in November
#4 Todd Gurley: Running Back
Former NFL sensation Todd Gurley plays at one of the positions in which youth is a major asset at running back. The former first-round pick (10th overall) of the then-St. Louis Rams is one of the best running backs available. He is the sixth amongst active players with 67 career rushing TDs and 10th in rushing yards with 6,082 yards.
Gurley is a two-time All-Pro and offensive player of the year who has three seasons of 1,000 yards rushing. He led the NFL in rushing TDs for two straight years (2017 and 2018). By the way, he is 27-years-old and accomplished all of the above.
One team that stands out is the Baltimore Ravens, one of the best running teams in the NFL right now. Despite cutting running back Le’Veon Bell recently, Gurley would be a welcome addition to the Ravens. Either way, Gurley should be the most sought-after running back in the free-agent market.
#5 Olivier Vernon: Defensive End
Seeing defensive end Olivier Vernon available is a bit of a shock but it may be due to him his Achilles last year. The former 30-year-old third-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2012 is still on the free agent market as he continues to heal from his injury. In his four years with the Dolphins, he had 29 sacks and 47 tackles for loss. There are three NFL teams that come to mind that could use the services of the Pro Bowler.
The Baltimore Ravens defense is not the defense that we are used to seeing. One such reason is their defensive line. They do have six-time Pro Bowler Calais Campbell but he is 35-years-old, recording just half a sack in nine games this year. His old team, the Cleveland Browns, could use a player to bookend with the league’s sack leader, DE Myles Garrett. Finally, imagine Vernon playing on the defensive line for the Buffalo Bills with Gregory Rosseau and Mario Addison.