Training camps have opened around the NFL with the best intentions. Teams have spent months building what they hope are disaster-proof rosters. Should a catastrophe ensue, or an offseason projection simply fall short, a handful of veteran free agents remain available to help.
Let's take a look at the best of them, as of Tuesday morning, and then take a stab at pairing them with a possible destination(s).
1. Colin Kaepernick, quarterback
The verdict has seemed clear for a while now: No team judges Kaepernick's skills highly enough to supplant either its distaste for his 2016 anthem protest or the public attention it would presumably garner in 2017. Fair or otherwise, that's how most teams operate. But Kaepernick is by far the best unsigned option at the position. It might take an injury or depth-chart failure for a team to make the move, however.
Best fit: Seattle Seahawks, who showed interest in June and would be derelict to leave their Super Bowl hopes in the hands of Trevone Boykin or Austin Davis should Russell Wilson be injured. Kaepernick is also a better quarterback than anyone on the New York Jets' roster.
2. Robert Griffin III, quarterback
The Kaepernick drama has overshadowed Griffin's struggle to find a job, five years after he was the draft's No. 2 overall pick. The league's hesitance is understandable; Griffin has encountered injuries throughout his career and has never looked comfortable outside the unsustainable read-option structure. What has he done to suggest he is more than what we've seen? He is only 27, but does any coach have the skill, time and interest necessary to elevate him? The Cleveland Browns' Hue Jackson thought he did last season.
Best fit: The Seahawks make sense. The Los Angeles Chargers also have expressed some interest, which is half the battle.
3. Nick Mangold, center
Both Mangold and potential suitors have taken a patient approach as his rehabilitation from a foot injury has extended into the summer. There is rarely a rush to sign a 33-year-old center, and his market is likely to form after the first wave of training camp injuries. Most league observers believe he has at least another year left in the tank.
Best fit: The Miami Dolphins' interest is understandable given the uncertain status of starter Mike Pouncey. Veterans such as Mangold, especially those who have played in the AFC East, also have a funny way of ending up with the New England Patriots.
4. Gary Barnidge, tight end
The Browns put Barnidge in a tough spot, retaining his rights until after drafting his likely replacement (David Njoku) in late April. Barnidge caught 134 passes over the past two seasons despite playing with eight quarterbacks during that span, but at 31 no team has rushed to sign him. He can still help in the passing game and is a more consistent blocker than you might realize.
Best fit: Barnidge has visited the Buffalo Bills and, more recently, the Jacksonville Jaguars following the trade of Julius Thomas. If Barnidge can produce with the Browns' quarterbacks, he shouldn't have any issue doing so with Blake Bortles.
5. Brandon Flowers, cornerback
It's rare to find a competent cover corner on the market this late, and Flowers represents one of the best hopes for those who want veteran depth. Flowers played only six games for the Chargers last season, in part because of a concussion he suffered in Week 10, and at 31, teams are taking a close look at his medical evaluation. But he has had discussions with the Patriots, and also was invited to visit the Arizona Cardinals.
Best fit: Flowers could probably maximize his opportunity by waiting for the first wave of summer injuries. In Arizona, he would have a chance to compete for the No. 2 cornerback job opposite Patrick Peterson, an enviable spot on paper that in reality means a ton of throws his way as teams avoid Peterson.
6. Darrelle Revis, cornerback
A future Pro Football Hall of Fame player remains at home at the age of 32, even as teams sign inferior players such as Alterraun Verner (Miami Dolphins). The questions about Revis are more complicated. Why did his performance drop in 2016? Have his skills deteriorated that much? Or was it a lack of competitive interest? Regardless, any team with a need at cornerback this summer will have to consider him.
Best fit: Don't overlook the Dolphins, even after their decision to sign Verner this week. And perhaps the Cardinals would consider him if Flowers proves not to be a fit.
7. Orlando Franklin, offensive lineman
The Chargers, a team that seems perennially in need of offensive line depth, released Franklin in May after two years of injuries and uneven play following a five-year contract he signed in 2015. Few would argue that he was among the NFL's most disappointing offensive linemen the past two years, but he is too big (6-foot-7, 330 pounds) and young (29) to fall off the radar entirely.
8. Anquan Boldin, wide receiver
Boldin, 36, had a productive year in Detroit last season and has proved exceptionally durable as his career advanced. He has played in at least 14 games in every season since he turned 30, and there is every reason to believe he can help a team's intermediate passing game.
9. DeAngelo Williams, running back
At 34, Williams is ancient for a running back. His wrestling debut earlier this month suggests he is at least thinking about a post-football career. But it also demonstrated he is still in good shape, and to be fair, he carried the ball nearly 300 times during the past two seasons in Pittsburgh. He still wants to play, except not for a few teams, and some coach is likely to prefer his experience when it comes time to enhance depth.
Best fit: Don't rule out the Steelers, who know how valuable Williams can be in the backfield.
10. Dwight Freeney, defensive end
Freeney has squeezed four post-Colts seasons out of his career, and if anything, we have learned there is always room in the NFL for an effective situational pass-rusher. It's difficult to believe there won't be some team that expresses interest over the course of the summer.
Best fit: The Atlanta Falcons have moved on -- for now. An injury or two along their defensive line could make his phone ring. The Falcons know what kind of impact he can have.