2012 NFL Free Agency: Ranking the Players by Bust Potential
Yes, the NFL free agency game can be every bit the risk of the NFL Draft. Here are 10 big-name free agents to avoid in 2012.
10. Tony Gonzalez
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Tony Gonzalez is the best tight end in the history of the game. He is also 35 years old. Eventually, father time will catch up to him, and it will likely be in the span of his new contract. Signing Gonzalez to anything more than a two-year deal would be a mistake.
9. Kyle Orton
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Kyle Orton is about as middle-of-the road as they come, but someone could make the mistake of overpaying him.
He has been a 4,000-yard passer and took the Chicago Bears to the playoffs in 20?? There could be a general manager out there that thinks his team is solid but just needs a decent quarterback to contend. Paying big bucks to Orton would be a desperation move, as he needs an excellent line and a lot of friends on offense to be successful. If his suitor does not have all of those elements, he will lead his new team to a disappointing finish.
8. Matt Flynn
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Matt Flynn has been a solid backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. A general manager out there may think he is capable of something more.
7. Ryan Grant
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Ryan Grant came out of nowhere to be a 1,200-yard back in 2008 and 2009. Since then he has struggled with injuries and inconsistency. Now he is 29 years old and was nearly gut by the Green Bay Packers before the season.
Grant is one of the biggest names available in a thin crop of running backs. Free agency was not kind to better backs like Edgerrin James, and there is no reason to think Grant will rekindle his old magic with his new team.
6. Fred Davis
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Fred Davis was having an excellent season with the Washington Redskins. Then the league caught wind of his marijuana-smoking ways and suspended him for the final four games of the season.
Davis will likely not disappoint on the field, but now he is on the NFL’s list. In today’s league, anymore wrongdoing from Davis on or off the field can be considered an automatic suspension from Chairman Goodell.
5. Carlos Rogers
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Carlos Rogers has been a playmaker for the San Francisco 49ers, but he spent the majority of his career dropping interceptions for the Washington Redskins.
Rogers has six interceptions on the year, just two fewer than he had in six seasons in Washington. Has this season been a fluke or a revelation for Rogers? Remember, Deltha O’Neal led the NFL in interceptions one year, just three seasons before playing his way out of the league.
4. Marques Colston
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Marques Colston is one of the most difficult covers in the NFL. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the field for eight games in four seasons.
His lanky frame and willingness to stretch out to make a play makes him a prime target for hard-hitting safeties, so it is unlikely the injuries will just go away. Any optimistic general manager can go ahead and pencil Colston’s name in the injury report before he even plays a game.
3. Steve Johnson
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When I think of Stevie Johnson I think of two plays: Dropping a game-winning touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and dropping another late touchdown against the New York Jets.
That may not stop a general manager from shelling out big money for Johnson, who has twice passed the 1000-yard plateau. The Buffalo Bills have never really been in contention, so Johnson’s drops have not received as much scrutiny as they would on a bigger stage. If Johnson chokes in relatively meaningless regular season games, what will he do if and when the moment comes in the playoffs?
2. Brandon Lloyd
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To paraphrase the best kick returner in football history, ”Brandon Lloyd is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Lloyd led the NFL in receiving in 2010. Before that he was a huge free agent bust with the Washington Redskins, when he was statistically the worst starting wide receiver in the history of the league. This year Lloyd was having an underwhelming season with the Denver Broncos before being released and picked up by the St. Louis Rams.
I would not invest big money in a player so wildly inconsistent.
1. Peyton Hillis
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Peyton Hillis has been looking for his new contract all season, and will soon get it. Will he be worth the price?
Hillis has proven this year he will let a contract affect his play. He was expected to be the focal point of a resurgent Cleveland Browns’ offense, but bailed on his team. He was mediocre at best when he did play, and spent the majority of the year out with mysterious illnesses and injuries. Will he get rich and lazy with a fat new deal? On top of his mental makeup, running backs have a short shelf life anyway, and Hillis’ bruising style makes him a health risk with his new team.
A player with durability and attitude issues does not have room on my roster.