With this being the holiday season, it’s also a time for gift returns and many NFL teams wish they wish they can re-gift some bad acquisitions too. Between negligent free-agent signings and some sketchy draft selections, each NFL team wishes they had a do-over when it comes to these acquisitions.
So, in the spirit of the holidays, here is each of the 32 NFL team’s exchange wish list. This article is mostly from a fantasy perspective. So in this slideshow you’ll see more offensive busts than defensive busts. Also, this list also uses the great power of hindsight. While some of these acquisitions were popular at the time, most teams wish they can do it over.
In the offseason the Bills made Williams the highest paid defensive player when they signed him to a six-year, $100 million contract. The Bills signed Williams along with Mark Anderson to give some life to a non-existent pass-rush. The results, though, have not been worth the paycheck as the Bills only rank No. 15 in the NFL in sacks. The Bills’ defensive unit as a whole is second to last in total team defense.
Remember Chad Ochocinco? Um, I mean Chad Johnson, or wait, what?
What an awful decision it was for the Dolphins to bring in the enigmatic Johnson. The Dolphins gave Johnson a chance to revive his career. Johnson messed up and again. He made more headlines off the field than on the field and was subsequently cut prior to the season.
Going into the season, the Patriots knew they had to upgrade their defensive unit as a whole.
When the Patriots signed Jonathan Fanene to a three-year deal worth approximately $9.8 million that also included $2.2 million in incentives plus a $3.85 million signing bonus. They thought they would get a player that would make an impact on the field. However, the Patriots waived him prior to the season with an undisclosed physical condition. Fanene is still without a team.
Here’s the no-brainer for re-gift of the year.
The polarizing Tebow brought more negative attention to the Jets while also sabotaging the confidence of Mark Sanchez in the process. Just exactly what were the Jets thinking? Was this move simply made to make headlines?
The trade for Tebow was a disaster from day one and a massive failure on all levels.
To be fair, Pierce could still be a useful NFL player. It just may not happen with the Ravens, though.
Drafted in the third-round of last year’s draft, Pierce has not seen a lot of the field to justify his high-draft selection (only 86 carries for 443 yards and a touchdown) as the backup to Ray Rice.
With Rice nowhere near slowing down, it may be a while before Pierce makes an impact on the field. With the way the Ravens’ defense has broken down this year, that third-round pick could have been put to good use on a linebacker or lineman.
With a half a sack and four tackles to date, Still is definitely not living up to his high-draft stock. Drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft, Still was to supply the Bengals with a stout run-stopper, but he has not made a contribution since Week 9.
Browns did well in the draft with the selections of Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden, while also snatching up Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft. The Browns made little noise in the free-agent market this year. When the Browns tugged away Rucker from the Bengals, they thought they would get a little more than what they signed up for. To date, Rucker has only four sacks and 27 tackles.
In a desperate attempt to give life to a slumping offense, the late signing of the mercurial Burress never materialized. The Steelers did not have enough offense to make the playoffs and Burress was simply not the answer, making only one catch for 18 yards in three games.
The Texans used a third-round pick on Posey and the high-draft status certainly has not matched the numbers Posey put up this year. Posey has only been good for five catches for 71 receiving yards. Posey has the talent to contribute down the line, but the pick could have been spent better elsewhere for the Texans.
To be fair, Fleener is mostly on this list because of his injury problems.
With the power of hindsight, the Colts did well by nabbing another solid tight end in Dwayne Allen later in the draft. If the Colts used their second-round pick (which they used on Fleener) on a different player (say a difference maker on defense) then their fortunes could have been a bit better. All that said, the Colts did make the playoffs and Fleener should still have a solid career going forward.
After a resurgent campaign with the Cowboys in 2011, the Jaguars were convinced that Robinson would carry over that momentum and jump-start the Jaguars’ offense in 2012. Between inconsistencies, bad quarterback play and concussion issues, the signing of Robinson went belly up.
Robinson's season ended with just 24 receptions for 252 receiving yards and no touchdowns.
Wright has had a solid, but not sensational season (62 receptions for 586 receiving yards and four touchdowns) for the Titans this year. The Titans would have been better off using this pick on a difference-maker on defense, considering all the woes the Titans have had on defense. Wright does possess a ton of talent, though, but if the Titans were to the draft over, they probably would have looked elsewhere.
The signing of Caldwell proved to be unnecessary, as Peyton Manning had plenty of options to connect with in Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker plus tight ends in Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen. In fact, even veteran journeyman Brandon Stokley passed Caldwell on the depth chart, as Caldwell has been riddled with the injury bug all season. To date, Caldwell has only contributed one reception for 18 yards.
Hillis was signed in the offseason as insurance for the Chiefs, as Jamaal Charles was coming off a season-ending ACL injury in 2011.
As you all probably know, Charles has been healthy all year and spectacular to boot. Hillis has had his own injury issues this year and he never could provide Kansas City with the one-two punch (along with Charles) that the Chiefs were looking for when they signed him.
Hillis has only been good for 305 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown so far this year.
Goodson was also traded to bring insurance to the Raiders’ backfield, as Oakland had previous issues with lead-running back Darren McFadden battling injury problems.
So imagine the surprise when McFadden went down with a high-ankle sprain at the same time Goodson did. Goodson has been sparingly used and has been overshadowed by Marcel Reece on the Raiders’ running back depth chart.
When the Chargers signed Meachem in the offseason, they thought they were getting a useful deep threat to replace the departed Vincent Jackson.
However, what the Chargers got was a useless receiver, who was most likely a byproduct of the Saints’ high-octane offense. Meachem has been a colossal bust this year. He’s only notched 14 receptions for 207 receiving yards and two touchdowns this year.
Claiborne should be a fine pro one day, but he seems a little too overhyped at the moment.
The Cowboys traded up in last April's draft to nab Claiborne with the sixth overall pick and the results have not matched the hype. Claiborne has just one interception, 39 tackles (with nine coming last Sunday vs. the Saints) and seven pass deflections. Claiborne has been playing better of late, but his better days are ahead of him.
For whatever reason, the Giants have suffered from a Super Bowl hangover this year.
If there was one thing the Giants did not need, it was another offensive playmaker in Randle. Granted the Giants did lose Mario Manningham in the offseason, but the Giants would have been better served in upgrading the linebacking corps or secondary instead of using their second-round pick on Randle.
Although Randle has upside, this year he has only made 15 catches for 240 yards and one touchdown.
Collectively, the whole Eagles organization would like to re-gift the whole year.
The Eagles problem was never at quarterback and with Michael Vick practically out the door, the Eagles thought they had something in Nick Foles. While his career is terribly young, Foles (who was drafted in the third round) has only passed for six touchdowns while throwing five interceptions. Through seven games, Foles is not looking like the answer.
The arrival of Robert Griffin III has seemingly made everyone in Washington better, but not even RGIII’s magic has worked on Morgan. After 16 games, Morgan has only 510 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Simply put, the Bears did not need another running back in Bush.
Matt Forte has demonstrated throughout the years that he can be the lead horse. Sure, Forte will miss a game or two here and there, but for the most part, Forte is as reliable a back as there is in the league.
The Bears should have used their money in the offseason by upgrading the offensive line. Bush has battled his own injury problems this year and has only ran for 411 yards and four touchdowns.
Spending a second-round pick on a player coming off an ACL injury just five months prior to the draft could be a recipe for disaster.
And, as fate would have it, Broyles suffered another torn ACL this year. While Broyles definitely showed potential in the 10 games he played in, the Lions wish they could have this pick back.
Granted, a lot of these selections are made with the power of hindsight, but the Packers really did themselves no favors by not feeling the need to upgrade their stagnant running game until the last minute with the signing of Benson.
Benson was useful in his time with the Packers, but he suffered a foot injury in Week 5 and has not made it back to the field and will miss the remainder of the season. If the Packers were more committed in upgrading the running game in the offseason, they could have drafted a difference-maker at running back (say Doug Martin?) in last April’s draft.
Signed in the offseason to give the Vikings another vertical, deep threat, Simpson has been an unmitigated disaster since day one.
First, Simpson was suspended three games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse program. After returning from suspension, Simpson simply never got into a groove and has yet to record a receiving touchdown on the year.
To put his terrible season in perspective, the most receiving yards Simpson has had in a game this year is the 50 yards he registered in in his first game back against the Lions in Week 4.
Viewed as one of the most polished offensive lineman coming into the NFL last April, the Falcons used a second-round pick on Konz.
The results have been spotty so far. Konz, though, has not been needed and he has only started in eight games while playing limited snaps all season.
Did the Panthers really need another running back?
Between DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton always a threat to run with the ball, did the Panthers really need to spend $10 million (over four years) on Tolbert? If given adequate playing time, Tolbert can be effective. However, to date Tolbert has only received 44 carries for a meager 158 rushing yards.
The Saints have been one hot mess all season and the additions of Bunkley and Lofton have made no difference to a defense in shambles amidst the “bounty gate” scandal.
It’s hard to say what the Saints could have done better to prepare for the season amongst all the chaos “bounty gate” brought upon them, but the additions of Bunkley and Lofton clearly did not help.
Signed with the intention of upgrading the Bucs’ return team and giving the team another deep threat in the passing game, Parrish has done nothing of relevance all year.
The Bucs are still terrible in kick returns, ranking No. 30 in the league. Parrish has also yet to receive a single target on offense all year.
Although it's not all Floyd’s fault, Floyd is providing no bang for the buck this year.
Drafted with the 13th overall pick, Floyd has not justified his high-draft status, as he’s only recorded 396 receiving yards and one touchdown. Granted, the Cardinals are terrible at quarterback and Floyd is not fully to blame, perhaps the Cardinals should have selected a quarterback with that pick in the first place.
At the very least, the Cardinals should have looked to upgrade the offensive line before selecting Floyd.
You can name a number of players here as Jacobs, Randy Moss and Mario Manningham have turned out to be busts. Jacobs takes the cake here, though.
Battling both injuries and the coaching staff, Jacobs proved to be a major headache. He was not worth the contract the 49ers gave him, considering the 49ers already had Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter at running back.
Jacobs’s season unceremoniously ended with him being suspended for the rest of the season for making controversial statements about management on Twitter. Jacobs’ awful season ended with five carries for seven yards.
Take your pick here between Owens and Edwards.
Neither player fit in with the Seahawks’ plans and were out the door before you knew it. Owens was cut prior to the regular season, as he simply looked like he had no game left in his body. Meanwhile, Edwards was released on December 4, after only accumulating 74 receiving yards on the year.
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are doing just fine without them.
Considering that Daryl Richardson, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL draft, is the Rams’ main backup to Steven Jackson and his heir apparent at running back, the drafting of Isaiah Pead in the second round of last year’s NFL draft now seems rather perplexing.
Pead has been mostly used on special teams and has done nothing to warrant his high-draft status (Pead only has five carries for 33 yards on the year). With what the Rams got out of Richardson, they surely could have used that second-round selection better elsewhere.
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