6 NFL Teams That Swung Hard and Missed in Free Agency

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IJune 10, 2012

6 NFL Teams That Swung Hard and Missed in Free Agency

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    While many teams upgraded their rosters significantly over the free agency period, others failed to improve at all.

    Some of these franchises dished out big money to unproven and injury-prone players, and as a result, their cap room and roster talent dwindled. Other franchises made questionable decisions such as not confronting need positions and pursuing other interests.  

    Here are the six teams that swung hard and missed in free agency. 

Arizona Cardinals

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    The Cardinals' free agency strategy was questionable, to say the least. 

    Arizona spent much of the first two weeks of the free agency period foolishly pursuing legendary quarterback Peyton Manning, despite already having Kevin Kolb locked up to a megadeal.

    The team also failed to improve its horrendous offensive line at all.

    The Cardinals re-signed left tackle Levi Brown with a hefty five-year, $30 million contract. Brown has struggled as a starter in recent years and he allowed a ridiculous 11 sacks last season, third worst in the league.

    Arizona signed Adam Snyder to a five-year contract in hopes that he will improve the offensive line. However, Snyder is just a mediocre role player, at best. 

    The Cardinals did not get worse in free agency, but they certainly didn't get better. 

    The gap in the bridge between the 49ers and the Cardinals is still large.  

Washington Redskins

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    The Redskins are hastily looking to be a factor in a tough NFC East again in a few seasons, and it led them to overpay for unproven players this offseason.

    The team spent big bucks on two young wideouts that still have a lot to prove at the NFL level in Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan. Garcon has struggled mightily with drops the past few seasons and Morgan caught just 15 passes for the 49ers last year.

    Washington also signed safety Brandon Meriweather to a two-year, $8-million contract. Meriweather has struggled with tackling and pass coverage on a consistent basis throughout his career.

    The Redskins significantly overpaid for Garcon, Morgan and Meriweather, and they are likely to remain at the bottom of the NFC East standings for the next few years.  

Minnesota Vikings

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    The Vikings remain one of football's worst teams after a questionable free agency. 

    The franchise failed to spend big dollars to improve their weak secondary, instead signing long-time backup cornerback Chris Carr to a small contract.

    Minnesota spent most of its cap space to acquire tight end John Carlson. Carlson's numbers have continued to decrease since his rookie season and he is certainly not worth an estimated $5 million a season over the span of four years.

    The Vikings also already boast Kyle Rudolph as their starting tight end. Rudolph's game continues to improve and he looks to be on the verge of a breakout season. 

    The decision to spend big money on a position that is not of need is an odd move for the beleaguered franchise. 

Cleveland Browns

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    The Browns continue to astound and confuse everybody out of their training camp headquarters with their offseason moves.

    Cleveland spent big dollars to acquire veteran defensive ends Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker in free agency. Both Rucker and Parker are low-end starters and were almost certainly overpaid for. 

    The Browns also re-signed linebacker D'Qwell Jackson to massive five-year, $42.5 million contract. Jackson is a talented player, but he is not worth such a huge deal.

    Cleveland also opted to ignore offense during the entirety of free agency. That decision is most likely to come back to haunt the Browns in future years.  

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    The Jaguars did make some smart moves, such as re-signing Jeremy Mincey and Dwight Lowery, but some of their additions are too risky to justify.

    Jacksonville gave wide receiver Laurent Robinson a hefty five-year, $32.5 million contract. The Jaguars were in desperate need of a playmaking wideout, but they certainly overpaid for Robinson. 

    Robinson was a non-factor until last season and he most likely benefited from catching balls from star quarterback Tony Romo. In Jacksonville, Robinson will be catching passes from the much-maligned Blaine Gabbert.

    A regression seems to be a certainty.

    The Jaguars also signed backup quarterback Chad Henne to a two-year, $6.75 million contract. This is a questionable move, as even the top backups in the league don't earn more than $3 million a season.

    The acquisition of cornerback Aaron Ross is also a risky move. Ross has been inconsistent throughout his career.

    Jacksonville's three biggest additions are all major risks, and the franchise could end up regretting this free agency period.  

Miami Dolphins

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    The Dolphins once again failed to attract any marquee free agents this offseason. Miami missed out on the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, was rejected by Matt Flynn and was even spurned by Alex Smith. 

    In the end, the Dolphins were forced to settle for 34-year-old David Garrard. Garrard is nothing more than backup these days and he missed all of last season with a back injury. 

    The Dolphins also overpaid for nose tackle Paul Soliai (two-year, $18-million contract) and cornerback Richard Marshall (three-year, $16 million contract). 

    The Dolphins lost Brandon Marshall, Kendall Langford and Yeremiah Bell this offseason and may have regressed more than any other team.