The NFL playoffs are still a few months out, but it's already becoming clear which potential participants are flawed.

Some teams appear poised for a postseason run but are still one or two pieces short of becoming a high-end Super Bowl contender. Others are going to have a tough time winning enough games to punch a playoff ticket unless they shore up some major areas of concern.

Fortunately for these squads, there are still notable free agents available who can help plug some of their most glaring holes.

With that in mind, here are some of the best unsigned talents who can come in, make an impact in the back half of the campaign and assist during a playoff run.


QB Cam Newton

There are teams out there that feature a strong enough defense to make a serious playoff run but are being held back by their quarterback situations.

Cam Newton offers hope for one of these slumping offenses. The 2015 league MVP is currently the top available signal-caller after his release by the Patriots.

Newton was a high-end starter as recently as 2018, when he completed 67.9 percent of his passing attempts for nearly 3,395 yards and 24 touchdowns. He dealt with injuries in 2019—his final season with the Panthers—and didn't fare well in his lone campaign with New England, but the 32-year-old could still produce in the right system.

The Browns and their run-heavy offense are a viable landing spot for Newton. The team leads the league in rushing offense and could become even more dangerous by deploying a quarterback who has 5,398 career rushing yards and 70 rushing touchdowns.

Browns starter Baker Mayfield missed Thursday's matchup with the Broncos because of a torn labrum and tuberosity fracture in his left shoulder.

Mayfield is targeting an Oct. 31 return to face the rival Steelers, per ESPN's Jake Trotter, but may not be at full strength in time for the Week 8 contest:

"If I am not able to ... be 100 percent, that is where I would be out. I have to make that decision. Only I know how my body feels. If anyone questions whether I'm hindering the team and going out there injured, that's just not right. It's my decision. I get to say whether I am able to play or not, and that's just how it is."

Cleveland was already one of this season's most disappointing franchises even before Mayfield's injury, ranking near the bottom of the league in passing offense while getting off to a tepid 4-3 start.

The team still has postseason aspirations but may find it difficult with its No. 1 quarterback performing poorly prior to getting hurt. The Browns beat a sputtering Denver squad with Case Keenum, but the backup was hardly impressive in his first start, going 21-of-33 for 199 yards and a touchdown.

If Cleveland secures a higher-end backup like Newton, it could feel more comfortable giving Mayfield extra time to recover. Newton also makes for a strong insurance policy in case Mayfield misses a significant chunk of time with future injuries.


OT Russell Okung

Russell Okung may be on the wrong side of 30 and hasn't been a regular starter since 2018, but the offensive tackle still has what it takes to make an impact in the NFL.

He proved that last year during his seven-game stint with the Panthers, earning a commendable 73.0 Pro Football Focus grade across 406 snaps.