10 NFL Free Agents Destined for Disaster in 2012

Matt Gray@mattkgrayContributor IFebruary 13, 2012

10 NFL Free Agents Destined for Disaster in 2012

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    With a lot of teams in desperate need of a quick fix this offseason, free agency is sure to be as frenzied and unpredictable as ever.

    There are a number of names entering the open market with proven talent, but as is often the case, alongside them are a slew of high-risk gambles, each with their own pros and cons.

    While there are sure to be some strong and savvy moves in the coming months, there's no doubt that on the other side of that coin, someone has to be this year's Kevin Kolb or Chad Ochocinco.

    So let's take a look at those free agents who are destined for disaster in 2012.

Donovan McNabb

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    The question for Donovan might best be phrased: Will Donovan have an even bigger disaster in 2012 than his last two years?

    After escaping a horrible situation in Washington, there was hope that McNabb could revive his career in Minnesota.

    However, with Christian Ponder waiting in the wings and McNabb's failure to get things going fast enough, the plug was pulled in favor of the rookie from FSU.

    So where does McNabb go in 2012? More importantly, does anyone even want him?

    After declaring himself worthy of the Hall of Fame during Super bowl week in Indianapolis, Donovan will have left a lot of teams questioning whether there is any point in hiring a QB who is happy to put a bow on his past achievements whilst stinking up his way to pay cheques in the present day.

    With such little competitive drive left in the tank, McNabb will lumber into whichever city is foolish enough to pick him up and yawn his way to the bench, the bank and hopefully, retirement shortly after. 

Cedric Benson

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    After a 2011 season marred by off-the-field issues resulting in a short jail term, Cedric Benson enters 2012 as a free agent.

    The consensus would suggest that Ced has played his last game in Cincinnati after struggling to recapture his 2009 form, and his inability to provide the versatility Jay Gruden's West Coast offense needs.

    With the combination of league-wide interest last year and his off-the-field issues this year, Benson could come fairly cheap in 2012.

    An incentive-based contract could see a team take a punt on Benson in the hope that he can regain his bruising form from two years ago.

    With a track record of repeat offences, Benson will remain a gamble for any team, and with many teams utilising multiple backs, Ced will likely struggle, having been used to taking the vast majority of snaps in Cincinnati.

    Benson has failed to adapt to a changing position and shows no signs of doing so. Buyer beware!

Matt Flynn

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    The alarmingly untested Matt Flynn of the Green Bay Packers will be one of the biggest gambles this offseason.

    With the Packers unlikely to franchise Flynn, he will almost certainly take his two-and-a-half games worth of experience elsewhere in 2012, with Miami, Seattle and Washington top candidates to land him.

    After a monster six-touchdown, 480-yard mauling of the Detroit Lions this past year, Flynn guaranteed himself a starting job somewhere, but do we really know enough about him yet?

    How much experience is enough to justify making this guy your franchise QB? 

    Well, two-and-a-half games will be enough for somebody out there, particularly those head coaches who aren't in the race for RGIII. 

    Unfortunately for Flynn, he won't have the advantage that his mentor, Aaron Rodgers, had in staying in a system with which he was familiar. Instead, Flynn will be jettisoned to a desperate franchise with a new head coach and be expected to carry the load from the off.

    Not only that, but Flynn will surely head to a team that can't come close to providing him with the multitude of receiving weapons that he had in Green Bay.

    It ain't gonna be pretty.

Mario Manningham

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    Super Mario himself, the man who caught Super Bowl XLVI's decisive pass, could well be headed for disaster in 2012.

    While he has declared a desire to stay in New York, there will be teams willing and wanting to promote him to their starting line-ups, something he doesn't have with Big Blue. 

    So how will Mario fare with a nice new contract in a new and exciting city?

    You have to think that with a Super Bowl ring, a game-defining catch and a fat contract, Manningham could enter 2012 with a fair bit of complacency, and who can blame him?

    With money in his pocket, a starting job and a championship, Mario will spend most of 2012 enjoying what he has accomplished. 

    Let's not put it completely down to complacency, though. If you take the No. 3 guy in New York and make him the go-to guy somewhere else, with a new QB, it may take him some time to acclimate, and understandably so.

    Expect a disappointing slump from the Super Bowl star in 2012, and expect him to start earning those dollars in 2013.

Kyle Orton

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    Kyle "The Streak Killer" Orton could well be on his way to a starting job in 2012, following a decent stint in Kansas City after losing his gig to "He who shall not be named."

    With a victory over Green Bay highlighting his resurgence, Orton could be somewhat of a trap for a team desperate enough to pick him up.

    Likely to be employed as a stop-gap, Orton could see himself plucked out of the starting lineup early on, especially if someone like RGIII is waiting to take over.

    Orton's lack of continuous playing time and his journey to what will potentially be his third team in two years will see him produce more of the same.

    Unlikely to be viewed as anything more than a temporary fix, Orton will treat whoever takes him to more mediocrity before they draft or sign their QB of the future. 

Laurent Robinson

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    Robinson caught 54 balls for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2011, leading the Dallas Cowboys receivers in TD's despite being third on the depth chart behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin.

    He proved to be Tony Romo's most reliable end-zone threat, even with limited playing time, and has likely drawn the interest of plenty of suitors as a result.

    Robinson wants to stay in Dallas, but it will be tough for Jerry Jones to pay him what other teams who intend to have him start will.

    But when Robinson's name starts to flutter around free agency, there's a few factors that need to be remembered.

    This guy has been in the league five years, stinking in Atlanta and St.Louis, respectively, before putting in this one breakout year in Dallas.

    He's also injury prone, ending up on the IR in 2008 and 2009 whilst missing two games in 2010.

    However, there is one stat that will see him picked up, and it's this: tied for fourth in TD receptions in 2011.

    Team's will need to be careful about throwing money at this guy. He may be a nice addition to your WR corps, but don't bet the farm on him just yet.

Ted Ginn, Jr.

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    Ted Ginn, Jr. was the story of opening day in 2011, returning a kickoff and a punt for two touchdowns within 59 seconds, as the 49ers toppled the Seahawks, bagging himself 268 return yards for the day.

    But since then...nothing.

    Ginn is a pretty solid return man, but has proven to be a poor wide receiver. However, he's lightyears from Devin Hester and isn't worthy of his price tag or the No. 9 pick with which he was drafted.

    However, whatever residual playmaking ability he does have will be deemed enough by someone, and Ginn will make his way to his third NFL team, where he will ride the success of the Seattle game until he gets exposed.

    Whether a revival or progression is on the cards remains to be seen, but Ginn has shown little signs of being a consistent football player during his time in San Fran.

    If you're in need of a return guy who could be groomed as a back-up receiver, Ginn could be your guy; just don't expect much bang for your buck.

DeSean Jackson

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    D-Jax makes his way into the free agency pool with a bright red warning label stamped across his head.

    After a tumultuous 2011 season that saw him vocally frustrated and visibly distressed, Jackson has all but worn out his welcome in Philly.

    His attitude seems to be the biggest gamble. Well known for his "diva-ish" tendencies, Jackson could disturb a locker room in much the same way he has for the Eagles.

    Aside from his attitude, Jackson has some physical flaws too. He's a sucker for the long ball and thrives off of being thrown to deep. As a result, he's not so great in short yardage, and his priorities seem to revolve around not getting hit as as opposed to catching the ball.

    News has come through that the Eagles intend to franchise Jackson, a move that could further disgruntle the young receiver. Being forced to add another year to your stay in a place you don't want to be in anymore could get ugly.

LaRon Landry

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    LaRon Landry finds himself entering 2012 with an Achilles injury that still hasn't healed and no contract in sight.

    Landry has chosen not to have surgery on his Achilles after past injuries and seems to be going the same route with his current one, although he has not ruled out surgery altogether.

    Landry has looked like a player with incredible potential when healthy, but the Redskins seem to have had enough of his unwillingness to have the surgery needed and likely wont re-sign him.

    The former top-10 pick has only seen the field 17 times in the past two seasons, which will likely make him a bargain when free agency begins.

    A team with need for depth at safety will jump at the chance to pick him up on a low-risk deal, and in return, they might get half a year out of him.

    If a player isn't willing to go under the knife to get to where he needs to be, you have to question his desire. if Landry doesn't change his mind and get his Achilles surgically restored, he's a safe bet to damage it once more, especially considering that he's going against doctor's orders.

Peyton Manning

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    Disaster may be a strong word when it comes to Peyton Manning, but with a whole host of factors likely to be in play if and when he takes to the field in 2012, there is reason to believe that it won't be quite the triumphant return many are hoping for.

    With a deteriorating situation in Indy, Manning will likely ply his trade elsewhere this year. Whether that be Miami, Seattle, Washington or somewhere else, Manning is going to go into a fairly tough situation.

    Let's not forget that Manning has spent his entire career in Indy, and with that comes a feeling of comfort and familiarity that will be long gone if he takes his talents to South Beach.

    Manning will likely be asked to do it all upon arrival, and it could be a tall order considering just how tough it will be for Manning after so long in the same place.

    There's also the lingering issue of Manning's health. With contrasting reports about his status and throwing ability, does anyone really know if it's safe for 18 to play? Does Peyton even know?

    With the leagues constant pushing of player safety, coupled with Manning's age and injury, there's no doubt that he is going to be conscious of the risks when he feels the blitz coming, and it could see him playing scared.

    Healthy or not, Manning hasn't got long left, and with so much likely to be asked of him in 2012, along with his own health worries, it could be a disappointing end to an illustrious career.