20 NFL Free Agents Who Will Flop With New Team
20 NFL Free Agents Who Will Flop With New Team
The NFL signing and trading period has flown by since the frenzy began on March 12.
Team trajectories can change in an instant whether the general public recognizes it or not. In the case of the Denver Broncos landing Peyton Manning last year, both the public and Vegas were quite instantly aware. This batch of free agents didn't possess a prized quarterback or even any you could definitively call "starter quality," yet did feature plenty of big names and good depth options.
Some high-profile vets changed jerseys for the first time in their career while many others are still looking for a job. One of the more important developments of this particular free agency period has been the increasing tendency to overpay young players and low-ball older ones.
This has also proved to be one of the more frugal free agency periods in recent memory. There are Manning or Mario Williams contracts threatening to throw half a team's eggs in one basket. Paul Kruger, regarded by many as the most sought-after pass rusher to hit the market in 2013, came nowhere close to threatening $100 million like Williams the year before. Williams picked up his play down the stretch last year — and many are giving him a pass due to the erstwhile Buffalo Bills coaching staff — but the defensive end is still a long way away from proving his monetary worth.
I am not an oracle and I wish all of the following players the best in 2013, but ahead is a list of 20 free agents joining new teams that cause reason for second-guessing the contract or acquisition.
Ed Reed should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer regardless of what happens with the Houston Texans but his final season on the Baltimore Ravens shows a man with diminished range and extreme tackling concerns. Reed made the Pro Bowl last year, but the Pro Bowl is also a comical idea in both theory and execution.
Kenny Phillips played the free safety position arguably better than anyone in the league when the New York Giants won their last Super Bowl. However, he missed nine games with injury in 2012 and another 14 in 2009, leaving wonder how much the Eagles really have upgraded their secondary.
Greg Jennings was the best receiver on the best offense of the past half-decade, but this isn't a criticism of him. Offering a receiver $47.5 million is squandered money as long as Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder starts and plays like he did down the stretch — minus Week 17 — last season.
Like Antonio Cromartie earlier in his career, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie flashes brilliance bet never has consistently matched the hype he creates with the first round pick to the Arizona Cardinals or major trade to the Eagles. Graded at 98th out of qualifying cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus in 2012, here's hoping DRC gets closer to Antonio's 16th rank next season.
The St. Louis Rams offensive line had quietly improved into a competent unit in 2012. Giving Jake Long $16 million guaranteed and close to $36 million potentially would be a bargain if he returns to his 2010 form, but a painfully sunken cost if he struggles through injuries as he's done the past two seasons.
A San Francisco 49ers defense known for its domineering physicality adds a cornerback who was the antithesis to this while in Philly. Hopefully Vic Fangio can put Nnamdi Asomugha back in his comfort zone for the first time since he worked across the bay.
It's quite possible that the Chicago Bears offensive line as a whole could improve by placing Jermon Bushrod at left tackle and moving J'Marcus Webb to put the grease fire out at right tackle. Though, it's still hard to make the case that the left tackle spot has been dramatically improved. Protecting for Drew Brees and protecting the other 99 percent of NFL quarterbacks — no disrespect to Jay Cutler — are two different animals.
Isaac Sopoaga played a fairly low percentage of snaps and left the field in nickel situations while play nose tackle on the Niners. With a slew of great pieces on the Eagles defensive line already along with new coaching staff, it's hard to tell exactly how he will be used in Philly. However, Sopoaga was considered by many to be a hidden weak link on San Fran's defense.
Sorry, going to rag on the Titans again here. Tennessee serious woes at both guard spots but giving six years, $46.8 million to an above-average guard like Andy Levitre is a bit much when working under cap.
The Arizona Cardinals let go of a perfectly good young corner in Greg Toler (28 years old) and downgraded to a slightly younger one Antoine Cason (26 years old). Perhaps Cason improves dramatically this year and other Cardinal additions enhance this secondary, but was graded the 108th cornerback by PFF in 2012 compared to Toler's 27th-ranked grade.
Classic case of making the Pro Bowl on big name, big hits and the country's biggest media market. LaRon Landryleaves The Big Apple for the Indianapolis Colts provides a terrifying presence in the box but considerable liability in coverage.
There is some speculation that Kevin Walter's signing with the Titans will lead to the release of Nate Washington. While Walter is a good blocker at the receiver position, Washington just offers so much more in the passing game — that is if Jake Locker can even get the ball within three yards of him.
The Niners replace one of the league's better safeties with a player in Craig Dahl who probably couldn't start very many teams in the league, which is a problem with how aggressive Fangio plays his safeties. Disregard this slide of the Niners end up drafting a free safety to pair with Donte Whitner in the starting lineup.
Aaron Ross was absolutely horrendous the last time he donned Giants jersey in 2011. It seems likely he's just additional depth, that is until New York's secondary catches the injury-bug as every year and Ross is forced into action.
Derek Cox is loaded with potential and perhaps that four-year, $20 million deal really helps shore up the San Diego Chargers' cornerback spot. This is is also giving a lot of money to cornerback coming off an injury-marred down year.
There's a reason Bills general manager Buddy Nix was so quick to put down his starting quarterback on that infamous prank phone call: Ryan Fitzpatrick is not a franchise starting quarterback. Maybe Tennessee expects him to start off hot and then turn into a disaster like he does every year, before putting Locker in Week 6.
Philly gave $14.5 million over three years to an average fullback, in a league that has a salary cap. Wow. James Casey certainly brings some unique elements to the position, however, that perhaps Chip Kelly has a great plan for utilizing. We'll see in 2013.
If Andy Reid did make the right move in trading for Alex Smith, then paying Chase Daniel $10 million over three years seems a bit much to sit on the bench, especially for an unproven backup who's never started an NFL regular-season game.
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