For teams looking for an easy addition, is the risk worth the reward?
Usually, the answer is a resounding no.
Take one look at the Dallas Cowboys and what has unfolded during this season and you will most certainly agree. Over the last three years the squad has picked up such saints as Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones, and Tank Johnson, all with either mile-a-minute mouths or mile-long rap sheets.
What has "America's Team" done with all of these so-called play-makers? The team collapsed and ultimately missed the playoffs after many experts had picked the Cowboys to compete for football's ultimate prize.
The team's owner, the eccentric Jerry Jones, has always sought out the spotlight. His glamorous demeanor has often made headlines and might be a main reason why the Dallas Cowboys are the second-most valuable franchise in the world.
Franchise value doesn't correlate to wins or playoff success, though, as the Cowboys have continued to show.
Truth be told, the tumultuous Cow-criminals played like absolute garbage coming down the stretch, and none of the three inaptly titled " play makers" made any plays.
Each player that the infamous owner has brought in came with baggage attached.
Owens was thrown off of two football teams, the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles, after publicly insulting his quarterbacks, insinuating one was a homosexual (Jeff Garcia) and the other was overly-tired in the Super Bowl (Donovan McNabb).
Jones had multiple run-ins with the law, had been suspended for a year, and had a particular tendency to "make it rain".
Johnson has spent more than a month in jail on weapons related charges, and was suspended for half a year after his legal troubles went public.
The owner was completely aware that all of these players were well known in the league for being talented but troubled, and yet all the while he brought them all in with open arms. What is apparent now is that this brand of self promotion completely ruined his team.
These players, whose accomplishments this year included whining about supposed back door meetings in which the quarterback and tight end would conspire not to throw in his direction and another who got caught fighting his body guard, have melted the team down into a soft and easily chewable tablet that other teams feasted upon.
After getting branded by the Philadelphia Eagles in their last game of the season by a score of 44-6 that would have sent them into the playoffs, the whispers in and around the league escalated to an all-out yell that the locker room cancers, particularly Owens and Jones, were the cause or a big part of their demise.
So what can other teams learn from this?
Build around players that are smart, focused, and bring good and positive attitudes to your team. Do not hope that building a hype machine by signing all the cast aways from other teams will get you anywhere when those players act like children time and time again. When something goes wrong, the team gets sent into a tailspin, and those players don't care.
After the release of Pacman Jones and talks of possibly releasing superstar wide receiver Terrell Owens, the Cowboys might have finally realized that the risk was certainly not worth it.