While the resounding noise of Brinks trucks slowly backing into players’ bank accounts across the NFL often draws all the eyes, attention, and expectations, under-the-radar signings and value additions often go overlooked but often prove to become the staple of a 53-man roster.
With the new league year officially underway and players putting ink to paper, here are a few of my favorite under-the-radar signings that could enjoy an immediate impact in their new homes.
TIM SETTLE, DT, BUFFALO BILLS (2 YEARS, $9M)
Still just 24 years old, if you were to take a peek at Settle’s game logs, you’re probably wondering why he’s on this list. However, as you begin to peel back the layers into his role within Washington’s front four, he found himself as the odd man out behind the likes of first-round talent Jon Allen, Daron Payne, and rotational pocket pusher Matt Ioannidis, who was recently released. A fleet-footed mover of men with fresh tread on the tires, whether Leslie Frazier opts to use him on early downs to plug gaps and allow Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds to eat, or as a passing-down DPR, I expect Settle to outplay his contract within the first few months of the season.
D’ONTA FOREMAN, RB, CAROLINA PANTHERS (1 YEAR, $2M)
One of the best stories in football, if Christian McCaffrey is unable to stay healthy once again, he and Chuba Hubbard could holster the ground game with zero issues. In nine games last fall, Foreman more than proved his worth stepping in for the injured Derrick Henry in Tennessee, amassing 566 yards in three starts with some pop as a pass-catcher as well. Still just 25 years old, he’s RB3 on the depth chart today, but don’t be surprised if he earns himself a nice helping of touches as the Panthers look to lessen the load on McCaffrey’s shoulders.
KALIF RAYMOND, WR, DETROIT LIONS (2-YEAR, $9.5M EXTENSION)
As much a breakout star as Amon-Ra St. Brown was for Detroit last fall, Raymond wasn’t far behind. A do-it-all talent with success shown in the slot or on the perimeter, adding D.J. Chark into the receivers room presents Jared Goff, or whoever aligns under center in Week 1, a nice group of playmakers on the perimeter. He’ll enter camp as WR3, but has the ability to handle the targets and workload of a featured weapon within an NFL offense.
ALEC INGOLD, FB, MIAMI DOLPHINS (2 YEARS, $7.5M)
Head coach Mike McDaniel loves his fullbacks, and Ingold should have a major part in leading the way in the ground game for newly minted ball-carriers Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert. With three seasons of experience as a former UDFA out of Wisconsin, Ingold has worked himself up the depth chart and into snaps. Similar to the success Kyle Jusczcyk has enjoyed in San Francisco, Ingold will look to replicate that in South Beach.
TYROD TAYLOR, QB, NEW YORK GIANTS (2 YEARS, $11M)
Giants fans, don’t be surprised if Taylor suits up for more than just a spot start this fall. Remember when he was supposed to start for the Los Angeles Chargers after drafting Justin Herbert? With 78 starts in his back pocket and dual-threat juice still left in the tank, his veteran leadership will go a long way in pushing Daniel Jones over the hump. But at the end of the day, he’s looking for a starting gig and he’ll do everything in his power to push for snaps come the regular season. Competition breeds success, and amidst a potential make-or-break year for Jones, Taylor will be breathing down his neck if he falters.
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