The top 9 NFL free agents still available to sign

Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets calls out the play in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants on December 6, 2015 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets calls out the play in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants on December 6, 2015 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The early stages of free agency were filled with big-money contracts dished out by teams around the NFL. The Houston Texans and New York Giants were among the spenders back in March, bringing in names like Brock Osweiler, Lamar Miller, Janoris Jenkins and Olivier Vernon.

Those contract feel like they were signed ages ago as we're now in the thick of the offseason with the draft completed and OTAs kicking off. That's not to say there aren't still free agents on the open market that can help teams across the NFL.

From quarterback to safety, there are several veterans waiting to be signed, some of which could start right away in 2016. Here are the best players still available.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB

The saga between the New York Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick are well documented. Fitzpatrick wants to be paid more than the Jets are willing to pay him, and he would reportedly rather retire than play under the contract that New York offered. The Jets remain the best landing spot for Fitzpatrick given the success he had in his first season in New York in 2015 and the team's need for a quarterback, and a deal should ultimately get done. The market for veteran quarterbacks has dried up substantially with teams like the Broncos and Eagles out of the market following the draft. The 49ers and Cleveland Browns are two teams who could use a quarterback with experience, but neither have showed much interest in Fitzpatrick.

Still, the 33-year-old quarterback is worth signing. He threw 31 touchdowns to just 15 interceptions in 2015 and had great chemistry with the likes of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker -- two towering wideouts who consistently win 50-50 balls. Whether it's the Jets or another team that signs Fitzpatrick, he's going to land somewhere and probably start in 2016.

Arian Foster, RB

With the way the NFL chews up and spits out running backs at such an alarming rate, veteran backs aren't as sought after as they once were. Arian Foster is 29 years old and has a long history of injuries, most recently a torn Achilles in October 2015. A combination of the two is leading to a quiet market for Foster, but he was once arguably the best running back in the NFL, and it wasn't long ago that he was considered that. Just two years ago, he rushed for 1,246 yards in 13 games with 13 total touchdowns.

He may not have the durability or capability to be an every-down back anymore given the wear and tear he's experienced, but he can make for a great one-two punch in a team's backfield. The Dolphins could use a veteran back after missing out on several in the first round of free agency, leading to Jay Ajayi taking the starting job. The Patriots are another team with a need at running back, and they've never been shy about signing a veteran. They did so last season with Steven Jackson. Foster is worth taking a shot on despite his age and injury history.

Brandon Boykin, CB

A new addition to the free agency market, Boykin hasn't been able to stick with one team throughout his career. After spending three years with the Eagles, Boykin spent 2015 with the Steelers, playing all 16 games. He then signed with the Panthers in March, but was surprisingly released last week after just two months with the team. Some ask why a cornerback-needy team would release a player of Boykin's caliber, which raises several questions. There's no doubting his talent on the field, though. Primarily a nickelback, Boykin is a great cover guy in the slot. He has the quickness to match up with smaller receivers and the ball skills to create turnovers. In four years, he's forced five fumbles and picked off eight passes, six of which came in 2013. And as they say in the NFL, you can never have too many cornerbacks.

Anquan Boldin, WR

The NFL's ageless receiver, Anquan Boldin is now 35 years old and still playing at a high level. Last season with the quarterback-deprived 49ers, Boldin played 14 games, catching 69 passes for 789 yards and four touchdowns. He's one of the most durable receivers in the NFL despite being a 13-year veteran, which bodes well for his chances of signing somewhere. Teams like the Bengals and Colts could use additional depth at wide receiver, both of which have top-tier quarterbacks, too. Boldin has never possessed top-end speed, but his size and reliable hands are something quarterbacks love. He's also the type of player that doesn't need a full offseason of OTAs and training camp to get acclimated to a team thanks to his experience.

Leon Hall, CB

Former Bengals cornerback Leon Hall is entering his 10th season in the NFL but he still has the talent to come in and contribute in the secondary for a team thin at corner. Last season, he played 14 games and picked off two passes while knocking down nine others. He isn't the ball hawk he once was when he had 18 interceptions from 2007 to 2010, but having too many corners is never a bad thing. The Cowboys showed some interest in Hall a few months ago when free agency kicked off, but have since remained quiet on that front. The Dolphins need help at cornerback despite trading for Byron Maxwell and could kick the tires on Hall down the line.

Walter Thurmond, DB

In his first season with the Eagles, Thurmond made a smooth transition from cornerback to safety. After playing just 22 games from 2011 to 2014, Thurmond started all 16 games, recording 71 tackles, seven passes defensed and a career-high three interceptions. Additionally, he forced two fumbles, which was also a career-high. Reports surfaced early in free agency that Thurmond turned down multiple offers and mulled retirement, but it's hard to imagine a 28-year-old defensive back retiring after a career-best year. Position flexibility is a huge plus for defensive backs, which Thurmond certainly possesses. If he's completely committed to continuing his NFL career, Thurmond can start from Day 1 for a team once he's signed.

Will Beatty, OT

Top-tier offensive tackles almost never hit the open market, given their importance to the offense. Beatty isn't a Pro Bowl-caliber lineman at this point in his career, but a team with a need at tackle could use a veteran with his ability. Beatty was released by the Giants and underwent shoulder surgery, but he's generated some interest this offseason. The Raiders and Broncos hosted him for visits but passed on signing him at the time. As a left tackle, Beatty may not be what teams are looking for to protect their quarterbacks' blind side, but he can add much-needed depth for teams thin at the position. The Giants trusted him to play left tackle and protect Eli Manning, so clearly he has enough pass-blocking talent to start in the NFL.

Chris Culliver, CB

The 2015 season was a terrible one for Chris Culliver. After starting 14 games for the 49ers in 2014, Culliver joined the Redskins, only lasting six games before tearing his ACL and MCL in practice in November. He has since been released by the Redskins and is uncertain to be ready for the start of the 2016 season. He has vowed to be ready for the start of the regular season, but that will require a very fast recovery timetable. While with the 49ers, Culliver showed decent ball skills, picking off seven passes in four season. His market hinges on the health of his knee, though: If it's good to go by Week 1, he'll land somewhere before training camp. If not, it could take some time for Culliver to sign.

Louis Vasquez, OG

Since 2012, Louis Vasquez hasn't missed a single game. He was a consistent starter at both guard and right tackle for the Broncos for the past three seasons but was ultimately released back in March. He generated interest shortly thereafter with the Titans bringing him in for a visit, though he wasn't signed. He still sits on the open market more than two months after being released and serves better as a pass blocker than a run blocker, which hurts his value somewhat at right guard. His flexibility should help his cause, as well, potentially serving as a swing tackle and guard.