7 2012 Free Agents Not Living Up to the Hype in Training Camp
When you're a high-profile free agent in the NFL and you sign with a new team in the offseason, you're expected to come in and make an instant impact. While some players like Peyton Manning, Vincent Jackson or Mario Williams will have no trouble doing this, some free agents are having difficulty living up to the hype in training camp.
Whether it is from off-field issues or too-high expectations, these seven 2012 NFL free agents are struggling through the first weeks of training camp.
Chad Johnson, WR, Miami Dolphins
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It's hard to really pinpoint what was expected and what the hype surrounding Chad Johnson signing with the Miami Dolphins was. Whether or not you felt that Johnson was going to produce in Miami, he certainly felt that he was capable of a monster season.
However, after being arrested over the weekend for domestic abuse, Johnson was released by the Dolphins before even playing a single regular-season game. I guess he won't be having a monster season for Miami after all.
Lee Evans, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
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Much like Chad Johnson, it is hard to pinpoint the exact hype that surrounded Lee Evans when he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, considering the complete lack of talent that the Jaguars had at receiver last year, many expected Evans to at least have a solid season for Jacksonville.
Evans was never able to get into a groove in Jacksonville and was released by the team on Sunday. Considering that Evans turned out to not even be talented enough to play for the Jaguars, it's unlikely that he'll find a team to play with this year.
Matt Flynn, QB, Seattle Seahawks
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Despite currently being the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart for the Seattle Seahawks, Matt Flynn has still failed to live up to the hype during the offseason. After one of the greatest statistical games in recent memory in Week 17 last year, Flynn was expected to be the next great franchise quarterback in this league.
The Seahawks signed him to a modest three-year, $19.5 million contact with initial hopes that Flynn would become Matt Hasselbeck 2.0. While Flynn hasn't necessarily struggled, he certainly hasn't separated himself from the other quarterbacks on the roster.
Rookie Russell Wilson continues to impress on a daily basis, and even Tarvaris Jackson still has a legitimate shot at winning the starting job this year. The fact that the last half of that previous sentence is true proves that Flynn is far from living up to his offseason hype.
While Flynn will likely enter the year as the starting quarterback for the Seahawks, he'll be walking on egg shells. The first sign of trouble will result in the team going young with Wilson and looking to trade or cut their losses with Flynn.
Laurent Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
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The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Laurent Robinson in the offseason with hopes that he would become their No. 1 receiver this year. As Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union states, Robinson is quite a ways from even looking close to that.
The problem for Jacksonville is that they don't have anyone else on the roster to replace Robinson atop the depth chart. Lee Evans was released, as we previously discussed. Justin Blackmon is nowhere near mature enough to have that responsibility.
Other than those players, the Jaguars lack much talent at all in their receiving corps. That only applies more pressure to Robinson to carry a larger load, which he is incapable of carrying.
It is only a matter of time until the Jaguars realize they paid a premium price for a player with the ceiling of a No. 3 receiver.
Brandon Meriweather, S, Washington Redskins
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With the Washington Redskins losing LaRon Landry to free agency, they needed to find a replacement, and quick. That turned the team to Brandon Meriweather, who was coming off a one-year stint with the Chicago Bears.
While no one expected him to be an elite player, he was expected to come in and start from Day 1 for the Redskins. However, a little over a month after signing with the Redskins, Meriweather found himself arrested on DUI charges. On July 25, Meriweather's case was resolved, according to ESPN 980 in Washington.
Despite not being suspended by the NFL and Roger Goodell, there are still major questions about what Meriweather is going to bring to the team this year. Not only is he not guaranteed to start from Day 1 for Washington, the race for starting safety is completely wide open.
If Meriweather fails to lock down a starting job soon, it's likely he'll find himself as a backup for the Redskins this year.
Demetress Bell, OT, Philadelphia Eagles
After Jason Peters ruptured his Achilles tendon in the offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles were in desperate need of finding a replacement left tackle. They eventually signed Demetress Bell with hopes that he'd be a capable replacement for Peters until he returned from injury.
While Bell never played at an All-Pro level, he had been a solid left tackle for the Buffalo Bills for the past two seasons. The hype surrounding Bell before training camp was that he'd be a serviceable left tackle that would keep Michael Vick safe.
However, now that training camp is underway, the tide has completely turned on Bell. He was recently demoted to a backup role and replaced by King Dunlap.
Now he'll have an uphill battle just to get back to practicing with the first-team unit in training camp. As of now, it appears that Bell is going to be a major disappointment for the Eagles and nothing more than a backup tackle.
Vince Young, QB, Buffalo Bills
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When the Buffalo Bills signed Vince Young in the offseason, people instantly saw him revitalizing his career in Chan Gailey's offense. He was expected to push Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting job, and at the first sign of trouble, Young would swoop in and be the savior of the city.
That scenario isn't even close to happening through the first weeks of training camp. Not only is Young nowhere near battling Fitzpatrick for the starting job, but his difficulty in picking up Buffalo's offense has him fighting to remain the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart.
If Young loses the backup job to Tyler Thigpen in Buffalo, it's likely that his NFL career will be over.