When teams are on the verge of greatness, they tend to look for that one piece that can put them over the top. Only one NFL team can win the Super Bowl, but every team will try to improve through the draft and free agency. Oftentimes in free agency, though, things can go awry.
As good as a free agent may look on the surface, it's incredibly important for teams to do their due diligence in order to figure out whether that player belongs on a championship-caliber team. There are certainly free-agent signings that work out, but there are many more that can set teams back as well.
Here are three free agents that Super Bowl-caliber teams must avoid in order to remain on their current track.
WR Randy Moss
After announcing his retirement prior to last season, future Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss has had a change of heart as he has chosen to resume his NFL career. Two seasons ago, Moss played for three teams as the New England Patriots had grown tired of his antics. He was virtually non-existent with the Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans as his prima-donna attitude seemed to prevent him from performing down the stretch.
It appears as though Moss is rededicated, but no contending team should give him the time of day. If the season gets off to a rocky start, who's to say that Moss won't check out mentally? He has done it on multiple occasions during his career and it doesn't seem as though he has matured at all.
On top of that, Moss is now 35 years old and no longer has the game-changing speed he once possessed. When the Patriots give up on a player it is obvious that he is beyond repair, and that is the case with Moss.
RB Peyton Hillis
Just as quickly as Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis came from out of nowhere to rush for nearly 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2010, he faded into oblivion last season. Hillis had the weight of the world on his shoulders in 2011 as he was featured on the cover of Madden NFL 12 and was playing for a new contract. Hillis certainly didn't respond well, though, as he missed a number of games and was largely ineffective when he did play.
There was a lot of talk about Hillis having a bad attitude and perhaps not doing all he could to help the team, especially when he sat a game out with strep throat. That isn't the type of player that a championship team needs. Because of Hillis' break-out 2010 campaign, there may be a good team out there that is willing to give him a chance.
To see him fall off the map so quickly has to be concerning, though, and it should prevent any Super Bowl contenders from pursuing him.
S LaRon Landry
Although he is one of the league's elite safeties when healthy, Washington Redskins defensive back LaRon Landry has a lot of question marks attached to him as he enters free agency. Landry has played just 17 games over the past two seasons and he was limited to eight last year due to an Achilles injury. Rather than undergoing surgery, Landry has decided to let the injury heal on its own, which obviously carries some inherent risks.
Landry can be the best run-stopping safety in football when he stays on the field as evidenced by the fact that he made 85 tackles in just nine games two seasons ago, but there is too much risk. He will likely be looking for a fat, long-term contract and while some team may give it to him, it shouldn't be a Super Bowl contender. A bad signing can really set a team back, so there is no use in taking a chance on him.