A lot of stars will be changing teams when the NFL free agency signing period begins next week. There also are several players not everyone has heard of who can make an impact with their new teams. Having reliable information on which free-agent players may go to a certain team can be a big help when placing wagers on the upcoming season. After reading through this list, make sure that you click here for William Hill’s “football matches today” page to see what bets you can place to get a leg up on your competition.
Ian Williams, NT, 49ers
It was easy for 49ers players to be overlooked in 2015. Ian Williams was a 16-game starter at nose tackle and according to Pro Football Focus tied with Aaron Donald for third-most run stops with 37. The 49ers allowed a not-too-shabby average of 4.0 yards per carry in 2015 despite being run on more than any other team.
One thing I’m gathering from the comments on my offseason preview: Many don’t appreciate how well Ian Williams played last year.
— David Neumann (@davidneumann_) March 4, 2016
Landing spot: Chargers The 49ers have a lot of cap room and could keep Williams. If they don’t, he could get a call from the Chargers, who allowed 4.8 yards per carry in 2015
Dwayne Allen, TE, Colts
Dwayne Allen caught 45 passes as a rookie in 2012, but since then has had to share snaps with Coby Fleener. The Colts have used him as more of a blocker, but the 26-year-old needs a situation where he also can catch some passes.
Landing spot: Cardinals Darren Fells and Jermaine Gresham combined for 39 receptions in 2016. Bruce Arians is familiar with Allen from his days in Indianapolis. That 45-catch season was the year Arians served as interim head coach.
Casey Hayward, CB, Packers
Casey Hayward was used primarily as a slot corner in 2015 even though he says he can play on the outside, according to ESPN.com. Pro Football Focus ranked him the 32nd overall cornerback, but the Packers drafted Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins in the first two rounds last year, so Hayward has become expendable.
Landing spot: Eagles Byron Maxwell was a huge disappointment after signing a six-year, $63 million contract in 2015. The Eagles gave up the second-most passing touchdowns and fifth-most receiving yards.
Richie Incognito, OG, Bills
Richie Incognito is “underrated” because his baggage will keep a lot of teams away. But the Bills went from 3.7 yards per carry in 2014 to a league-high 4.8 in 2015. A lot of that had to do with Tyrod Taylor’s mobility, but take him out of the equation and the Bills still ran for 4.6 yards per carry.
— Vic Carucci (@viccarucci) March 1, 2016
Landing spot: Jaguars Despite the bullying scandal, the 32-year-old Incognito does provide a locker-room presence that could benefit a young, emerging team.
Derrick Shelby, DE, Dolphins
The Dolphins are trying to keep Olivier Vernon, placing the transition tag on the defensive end. That means that Derrick Shelby, 27, is likely to hit the open market. Shelby had 3.5 sacks after taking over for injured Cameron Wake in Week 9 last season. He also broke up four passes and batted another pass that he caught for a pick-six to help the Dolphins beat the Ravens 15-13 in Week 13.
Underrated contract year: @DerrickShelbyII, Dolphins. Stout vs. run, pocket pusher on 3rd downs, seemed to deflect a pass every game in Dec.
— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) February 15, 2016
Landing spot: Giants
The Giants need help everywhere on defense and have a lot of cap room, according to Spotrac. Like the Dolphins, they’re a 4-3 team. They could be looking for a defensive end to replace 33-year-old Cullen Jenkins.