2012 NFL Free Agency: Best and Worst Signings Thus Far

Wes StueveContributor IIIMay 13, 2012

2012 NFL Free Agency: Best and Worst Signings Thus Far

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    The 2012 NFL offseason brought many new acquisitions—some good, some bad.

    Which category does your team fall into?

    Whether it was Peyton Manning or Peyton Hillis, plenty of guys switched teams in the offseason. In fact, many teams are going to look completely different than they did in 2011.

    Some moves were great, and others, well...weren't.

Eric Wright

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    I have no idea what Eric Wright has done to deserve $37.5 million over five years. He was awful in his last year with the Browns and wasn't great in his one year with the Lions.

    Wright is inconsistent at best and awful at worst.

    The former second-round draft pick is talented, but he's burned far too often by his receivers and can be picked on for games at a time.

    Grade: D-

Eric Winston

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    Unless Eric Winston has some serious medical issues we don't know about, he was an absolute steal for the Chiefs.

    Winston is arguably the game's best right tackle and is signed for just four years and $22 million. 

    Kansas City transformed what may have been the NFL's worst right tackle position into what may be the NFL's best. And the Chiefs didn't overpay.

    In fact, they underpaid.

    Grade: A+

Laurent Robinson

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    Laurent Robinson has caught more than 37 passes once in his entire career. He has missed 27 games in his last four seasons.

    Why is Robinson worth $32.5 million?

    Sure, Jacksonville had a desperate need at wide receiver. However, Robinson is not the answer, and in a few years, he will not be a Jaguar.

    Grade: F

Stevie Johnson

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    For five years and $36.25 million, the Bills re-signed their No. 1 wide receiver for less money than other teams signed much lesser receivers.

    Stevie Johnson isn't an elite No. 1 wideout, but he is more than capable of filling the role for Buffalo.

    Johnson doesn't break the bank, making him a great player for the money.

    Grade: A-

Robert Mathis

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    I'm not saying Robert Mathis isn't worth four years and $36 million, but he isn't worth it from the Colts.

    Indianapolis is rebuilding.

    The team just lost the man who starred at quarterback for more than a decade, and don't forget, the Colts went 2-14 in 2011. 

    Mathis is 31 years old. He doesn't fit in Indianapolis's long-term plans, so he shouldn't be on the roster at this price.

    Grade: D

Chris Myers

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    After releasing Eric Winston, the Texans could not afford to lose Chris Myers.

    Myers may be limited to a zone-blocking scheme, but in that scheme, Myers is as good as any center in the NFL.

    Houston locked Myers up for $25 million over four years. For someone who will clear lanes for Arian Foster and keep Matt Schaub's jersey clean, that is a steal.

    Grade: A

Frostee Rucker

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    Nothing about Frostee Rucker's play is worthy of $20 million. Rucker is solid against the run, but he's terrible as a pass-rusher, and Cleveland intends to play him at right end.

    One-dimensional, run-stopping defensive ends don't get this type of money. Rucker won't be a good starter for the Browns, as he's nothing more than a rotational player. 

    Grade: D

Brandon Lloyd

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    The last time Brandon Lloyd played under Josh McDaniels, he caught 77 passes for 1,448 yards. If the Patriots get anything close to that out of Lloyd, his yearly salary of $4 million will be a steal.

    Lloyd is a legitimate starting wideout with excellent potential catching passes from Tom Brady. The upside here is enormous, and there isn't much downside either.

    Lloyd is consistently solid.

    Grade: A+

John Carlson

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    John Carlson never developed into much of a receiving tight end, and he missed the entire 2011 season with a shoulder injury.

    Yet Minnesota gave Carlson $25 million and $11 million guaranteed over five years. The Vikings already have Kyle Rudolph.

    They don't need Carlson to start, and the Vikings drastically overpaid him.

    Grade: F

Peyton Manning

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    This is the one signing on here where, regardless of how well the player performs, I won't think I was wrong.

    The Broncos had to take a chance on Peyton Manning. No, Manning isn't healthy, and he absolutely is a risk.

    That's not what's important. What is important is Denver has a chance at one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

    If he's able to play, Manning will give Denver elite quarterback play.

    It's that simple.

    With an elite QB, the Broncos can go far into the playoffs, and who knows where the ceiling lies?

    Grade: A+++++

Pierre Garcon

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    Though he has terrific potential, Pierre Garcon has yet to perform like a $42.5 million player. The Redskins' desire to add targets for Robert Griffin III is understandable, but the team shouldn't have overpaid like this.

    Contracts like this are the reason Washington is where it is.

    The team has overpaid for far too many marginal players, and Garcon is a blast from the past.

    Grade: D+

Jeremy Mincey

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    For whatever reason, Jeremy Mincey is continually overlooked. Mincey had eight sacks in 2011 and is a terrific run-defender.

    The Jaguars have a complete defensive end here.

    Jacksonville signed Mincey for just four years and $27.2 million. This signing didn't get a ton of attention, but it should have.

    The Jaguars signed Mincey for far less than he should have gotten.

    Grade: A