2012 NFL Free Agency: 11 Teams That Have Made the Biggest Mistakes so Far
The NFL free-agency period has been a wild and crazy carousel of ever changing players in the past two offseasons and this season has been no exception. The problem is that several players made drastic mistakes in choosing their new teams.
NFL free agency has hit its peak by this point in time. Big names like Mario Williams, DeSean Jackson and others have made their decisions. Williams decided to move as far north as possible and Jackson made a smart move by staying in Philadelphia.
Several players presumably had the option to upgrade from one organization to another. Some clearly took the chance to earn a payday and others gambled on what they hope will become a contender in years to come.
Who didn't make the right choice?
Broderick Bunkley to New Orleans Saints
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Broderick Bunkley must not like the mountains of Colorado. He willingly took a contract agreement from the New Orleans Saints despite all the uncovered facts of the club's "Bountygate."
Not to mention signing a contract before the NFL laid down its punishments to the team.
Needless to say, Bunkley's agent should give up part of his paycheck or be fired. He clearly did not have his client's best interest in mind nor any common sense.
Oh, there's also some guy who came to town by the name of Peyton Manning that made the Denver Broncos instant Super Bowl contenders. Too bad there's not an undo button for Mr. Bunkley and his agent.
Cortland Finnegan to St. Louis Rams
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Arguably the best cornerback on the market, Cortland Finnegan made a predictable decision by choosing to sign with the St. Louis Rams. It was a logical move for Finnegan to rejoin his old coach in St. Louis as he rebuilds the Rams.
However, that's also the problem. Jeff Fisher had an established program in Nashville. He must now revamp a struggling organization that looks to continue building around their quarterback of the future in Sam Bradford.
Finnegan had to have more options than simply just St. Louis.
The defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants are thin at the position after losing Aaron Ross to free agency and would've been an ideal landing spot. San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Kansas City would have all been interesting destinations as well.
Richard Marshall to Miami Dolphins
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Richard Marshall chose to leave the desert for South Beach. That's the only thing you can think of to rationalize a move from the Arizona Cardinals.
Certainly the Cardinals were nowhere near a playoff-caliber team last season, but they're realistically a quarterback away. The Miami Dolphins did perform well in the second half of the season under former head coach Tony Sparano.
Miami hasn't been able to land Jim Harbaugh, Jeff Fisher, Peyton Manning or even Matt Flynn, but they've quietly signed second or third-tier free agents.
Marshall will make $16 million over the course of three years. Hopefully it's worth putting up with television blackouts and an already solid division that keeps getting stronger.
Paul Soliai to Miami Dolphins
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If someone were to offer you a chance to choose what direction your career path would go, you'd take that option. Paul Soliai on the other hand, decided that the Miami Dolphins were an adequate employer worth sticking around for.
Soliai's new two-year $12 million contract keeps the long-haired run stopper in South Florida.
Soliai could have left what is quickly becoming the NFL's most dysfunctional franchise for greener pastures, but decided to stay.
Mario Williams to Buffalo Bills
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Mario Williams left the Houston Texans for Tom Brady's AFC East.
Yes, I said that correctly. Brady has owned the AFC East since taking over the New England Patriots in 2002.
New England has won nine of 11 division titles and neither of the two he didn't win went to the Buffalo Bills. In fact, the last time the Bills won a division title Bill Clinton was in his first term.
Williams left an organization that made unprecedented strides and seemed to be a healthy quarterback away from being a legitimate title contender. Instead he opted to move as far away from Texas as possible and into another division that has been dominated by one quarterback over the past decade.
For all the years he has had to put up with Peyton Manning, the Texans would be the favorites going into 2012 to win the AFC South. Now, he's with a team that may be the favorite to clinch second in the AFC East.
Aaron Ross to Jacksonville Jaguars
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Aaron Ross won his second Super Bowl this past season and decided it was time to cash in. So naturally, a move to the Jacksonville Jaguars was the next logical step.
Ross traded the Big Apple for the beaches of Jacksonville and $15.3 million over the next three years.
You can't fault the man for getting paid after a second championship, but the Jacksonville Jaguars pale in comparison as a whole to the New York Giants.
Dwight Lowery to Jacksonville Jaguars
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This selection makes a little more sense than some of the others. Dwight Lowery's career took off after his move to Jacksonville and it looks like he wanted to pay homage to the organization.
The Jacksonville Jaguars as a whole are in a stage that consists mainly of finding itself.
They have a new owner, a new head coach and a young quarterback they're hoping will come around. Lowery may not be a household name, but he could have upgraded teams by leaving in free agency.
However, he has signed a four-year extension. Maybe the franchise will be in Los Angeles before that time is up.
William Gay to Arizona Cardinals
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The Arizona Cardinals made a great move by replacing the departed Richard Marshall for William Gay. Except Gay left the most successful and model franchise of the NFL in the process.
Although the Cardinals are not a poorly run organization, Pittsburgh are prepared and built to win now.
It's an interesting move that allows Ken Whisenhunt to line up Gay across from Patrick Peterson. That one-two combination at cornerback may have been enough to convince Gay to move out to the desert.
Josh Morgan to Washington Redskins
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Josh Morgan joins a handful of wide receivers embarking on the nation's capital. Morgan trades the west coast for the east coast hoping that Robert Griffin III is the real deal.
He's taking a chance by getting sucked into the hype that RG3 will live up to the potential. The San Francisco 49ers may have chose to let Morgan walk after breaking his leg.
Early reports out of the Bay Area were Morgan's intent to stay in San Fran. Morgan commented on the possibilities of free agency stating, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, "What better place to be than stay here?"
Clearly something did not go as planned during negotiations, and Morgan chose to leave the NFC West for the worst team in the cutthroat NFC East.
For his sake, hopefully Mike Shanahan can get the most out of RG3.
David Garrard to Miami Dolphins
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It wasn't too long ago that David Garrard decided to walk away from football. He even declined a pass by the Miami Dolphins to continue playing football in the middle of last season.
A year later of sitting at home and watching football on television coupled with minimal action from the phone lines and Garrard accepted a one-year deal with Miami.
Smells like desperation on both sides.
Eric Wright to Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Maybe this is just me, but after watching Drew Brees disperse the ball across the field like a sprinkler, you'd think Eric Wright wouldn't voluntarily choose to play him twice a year. Then again, it's a tradeoff to playing Aaron Rodgers twice in the same season.
Wright signed a $37.5 million five-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay simply outbid the Detroit Lions for Wright's services and landed the talented cornerback.
It's a big loss for Detroit and an indicative move by Wright. The Lions are clearly a team on the rise while Tampa Bay is transitioning between regimes and looking to find its identity in the process.
Justin Sparks is an NFL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter for up-to-date NFL news and opinions.