2012 NFL Free Agency: Teams and Players That Overplayed Their Hand

Chelena GoldmanContributor IMarch 22, 2012

2012 NFL Free Agency: Teams and Players That Overplayed Their Hand

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    It isn’t any secret that the first week of free agency has been eventful.

    Peyton Manning found a new home in the Denver. Mario Williams was won over in Buffalo. Randy Moss came out of retirement and found out he will be sporting Red and Gold in San Francisco.

    And heck, those are just the most notorious moves.

    But in the first week of the open free-agency market, not everyone is emerging victorious.

    There are couple teams—and even some individual players—that haven’t exactly “played their cards right.”

    Here’s a look at some teams and players that overplayed their hand: 

Miami Dolphins

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    Missing out on Manning—who I was personally convinced was going to Miami from the start—isn’t the only spot where GM Jeff Ireland and the Dolphins flubbed this past week.

    While trading Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears for two third-round picks might have been a strategy to “make room for Manning,” all it did was make Miami’s offense even less appealing.

    So unappealing, Miami couldn’t even land the free-agency’s second-most sought-after QB, former-Green Bay Packer Matt Flynn—or the angsty now-SF-bound Alex Smith.

    Now, the Dolphins are stuck with two b-rated quarterbacks—including the fresh-out-of-retirement David Garrard—and an O-line consisting of Reggie Bush and not a whole lot more.

Alex Smith

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    Being a starting quarterback in the NFL, and then hearing that your beloved coach is jetting off the North Carolina to play catch with Peyton Manning, had to be a major ego-deflator for Alex Smith.

    But the moody San Fran QB did himself no favors by playing coy and waiting to sign his contract in the weeks before the free-agent market opened.

    He then had a mini tantrum and flew off to Miami, where he spent five hours in negotiations, only to lose out to Garrard.

    So Smith had to slink back to San Francisco on Monday night and make nice with head coach Jim Harbaugh, before signing a contract for approximately the same amount of money as was guaranteed to him before his visit to the Dolphins.

    If anything, Smith should have just stayed put. Running around and crying over being seconded to Manning was a bigger waste of time than it was worth.

New York Jets

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    With what is considered to be the most dysfunctional locker room in the AFC, the New York Jets needed, more than any other team, to make some game-changing moves in the opening of the market.

    They instead, are digging themselves into an even deeper hole.

    Instead of acquiring offensive players for a line that was ranked 21st in passing and 22nd in rushing for the 2011 season, they signed safety LaRon Landry.

    As nice as it is that Landry wanted to play for Rex Ryan because his older brother previously played for Ryan in Baltimore, acquiring him doesn’t solve any of the Jets’ offensive woes.

    And let’s not even get started on the Jets' inability to read through Tim Tebow’s contract before tweeting that they were prepared to sign him.

    And while we’re ragging on the Jets...

Drew Stanton

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    After not seeing a single snap last season, quarterback Drew Stanton chose to “test the free market” instead of remaining a third string for the Detroit Lions.

    Yet, Stanton chose to go the turmoil-ridden New York Jets as a backup and not for the same amount of money that he was originally seeking.

    And now, not even a full week later, Stanton is probably looking to leave New York because he has, yet again, become a third string.

    A third string who would have to sit back silently while Sanchez and Tebow duke it out for that coveted starting position.

Washington Redskins

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    Washington entered the opening of the market with a slap in the face from the NFL for front-loading contracts during the non-capped year.

    So signing any player to monster deal is probably not the smartest thing to do.

    And while beefing up their passing game in preparation for drafting quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III is crucial, signing receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan to big deals in the first minutes of the open market seems a little too ambitious.

    Garcon might be a talented receiver, but he only showed those talents while playing with Peyton Manning. His stats took a dive last season when he and the rest of the Indianapolis Colts went 2-14.


New Orleans Saints

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    There is already a massive dark cloud hanging over New Orleans.

    And perhaps the news of coach Sean Payton’s suspension for his involvement in the bounty scandal clouds any notion that trades and contract signings are still taking place. But in the face of such a shake up, the Saints' franchise needs to be making smart deals.

    Signing defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley to a five-year, $25 millions deal—with $9 million guaranteed—when focus should be on getting Drew Brees’ contract squared away, isn’t a good use of team finances.