At this time of year, the NFL free-agent market is largely reserved for contenders. The most notable free agents are looking to join Super Bowl contenders in hopes of winning a ring.

For instance, Akiem Hicks decided this month to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

However, teams with their sights set lower than the Lombardi should still look at the free-agent market. Struggling teams might not attract top talents like Odell Beckham Jr., Duane Brown and Ndamukong Suh, but they have options to explore.

Each of these players either has upside that could increase the overall talent on the roster or brings experience to guide younger players to their full potential.

 

Atlanta Falcons: Edge Chris Odom

The USFL is providing a new vein of talent for the NFL to draw from.

Many in the new spring league have already had a shot at the NFL, but we've seen players earn another chance through alternative leagues and go on to help NFL teams.

Donald Parham Jr. is a recent example. He turned an XFL stint in 2020 into a gig with the Los Angeles Chargers and caught three touchdowns last season.

Chris Odom has been a big beneficiary of the USFL. The pass-rusher last saw NFL action for the Washington Commanders franchise in 2019 but has found new life as a member of the Houston Gamblers.

He has been a level above any other edge-rusher in the USFL. He's racked up 50 pressures while the next-highest player has 38, and he has a pass-rush win rate of 25 percent, per Eric Eager of Pro Football Focus. He leads the league with 11 sacks.

The Falcons were among the worst pass-rushing teams in the league last season. Going into 2022, they still don't have a proven quarterback hunter.

While they signed Lorenzo Carter and drafted Arnold Ebiketie, they just have a collection of young guys and are hoping someone breaks out. It wouldn't hurt to add the 27-year-old Odom to the mix.

 

Chicago Bears: WR Will Fuller V

Will Fuller V has been fool's gold in free agency before, but he's well worth a flier this late in the process.

Last year, the Dolphins were burned on their one-year investment. They handed him a one-year, $10.6 million contract, and he only played in two games.

Injuries have long been an issue for Fuller. He played in 14 games as a rookie in 2016 but hasn't hit that mark since.

His extensive injury history might scare away contenders. They are looking for someone they know will be in the lineup come playoff time.

Meanwhile, the Bears should do everything possible to position Justin Fields to succeed.

If Fields showed one thing in his rookie season, he's a capable deep-ball passer. He led the league in air yards per completion. Darnell Mooney and his 4.38 speed helped Fields get to that number.

Adding another sub-4.4 burner in Fuller to his receiving corps would aid Fields in taking the next step as a passer in 2022.