It's the second week of the NFL season, and one of the best free agents on the market, safety Kerry Rhodes, remains unsigned. Why? Well, there are a few logical reasons ... and one disturbing possibility.
Rhodes started all 15 games in which he played for Arizona last year, and during that time recorded 58 tackles and nine assists. He also had four interceptions and forced two fumbles. That's not bad. In fact, it's not-bad enough that Pro Football Focus ranked him the fourth-best safety in the NFL in 2012. As Deadspin notes, Rhodes is the only still-unretired player in PFF's top 30 from 2012 who doesn't have a job.
Now, there are legitimate reasons why Rhodes might not be suiting up for any team. Time wears down everyone. Rhodes is on the wrong side of 30, and skills can markedly decline after that point. He's indulged in the kind of celebrity lifestyle — magazine covers, red carpets, television appearances — that makes the no-life-but-football types spit nails.
There's also the fact that Rhodes may well have priced himself out of his market. Rhodes, entering his ninth year, was apparently offered a $3 million guaranteed deal by the Cardinals, and other teams showed interest. But Rhodes didn't bite on any of the offers, and there have been none since March. (Well, until now...see below.)
And yet, and yet ... there's this one other potentially troubling element to this picture. Earlier this year, rumors surfaced about Rhodes' sexual orientation, rumors that Rhodes denied vehemently. But those rumors surfaced in April, and Rhodes has received no interest since then. Regardless of the truth of those rumors, NFL teams are generally loath to associate themselves with anyone with even a remote hint of public controversy. (There are exceptions, of course, but those are generally made for Hall of Fame-level players.)
News is in the air, though. The Giants — who could use all the help they can get — will be working out Rhodes on Tuesday, per Pro Football Talk. If Rhodes makes the team, he'd be entitled to a one-year minimum of $840,000. It's a wee bit different from $3 million he might have otherwise gotten, but it's something.