The NFL is a different kind of animal than any other sport when it comes to free agency. Teams make the same mistakes that you see in, say, baseball. But because the nature of non-guaranteed contracts, makes it easier to cut your losses.
Overpaying a free agent in the NFL will cause salary cap issues, but it is hardly a problem teams have to wait out in order to justify making the signing. While I don't think the players on this list are in danger of falling off a cliff, there are reasons to be skeptical about them in a long-term deal.
When free agency hits after the Super Bowl, here are the free agents likely to command a lot of money who will not be worth their asking price.
Quarterback Joe Flacco
First, it must be said that the odds of the Baltimore Ravens actually letting Flacco go are slim to none, and none likely went out the window the second that 70-yard pass to Jacoby Jones was caught for a touchdown in the AFC Divisional Round.
That said, it will be interesting to see just how much the Ravens pony up for Flacco. On the one hand, he does have the resume with the wins, losses and some numbers working in his favor.
He has thrown for more than 3,600 yards and at least 20 touchdowns in the last four seasons. His interceptions stay at a reasonable rate every season, as he averages just over 11.
However, the completion percentage and overall accuracy leave a lot to be desired. He hasn't finished with a percentage better than 60 since 2010, and the inconsistent play you get from Flacco week to week is troubling.
The Ravens know what Flacco brings to the table, he is still young enough to get better in the future, and there aren't exactly a lot of great options for the team to look at this offseason, so he will be the man once again.
But it has to be on their terms, not his.
Wide Receiver Dwayne Bowe
Bowe has more raw talent than 95 percent of the receivers in the NFL. At just 28 years old, he still has plenty of big years ahead of him. He could make a team in desperate need of a big playmaker on the outside very happy.
However, Bowe will want to go to a place with an established quarterback already in place, or the spot that will pay him the most money. If the former happens, he should have no problems fitting right in. He had 15 touchdown catches and 1,162 yards in 2010 with Matt Cassel as his quarterback.
If the latter scenario happens, and the team doesn't have an established quarterback, Bowe will try to burn bridges there like he did at the end of his tenure with Kansas City (via Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports).
I can report this: Bowe wants out of KC very badly. Not exactly a revelation, but true.— Jason Cole (@JasonColeYahoo) October 17, 2012
It will be interesting to see just how many suitors there are for Bowe this offseason, assuming he isn't able to get something worked out with the Chiefs.
Running Back Steven Jackson
Jackson will be the litmus test that all running backs this offseason use to measure how much they should get paid. He is the best running back on the market, coming off a solid season with over 1,000 yards and four touchdowns.
As the NFL has changed, so has the position of the running back. More and more players are running out of steam as they head into their late-20s/early-30s. Jackson, who turns 30 in July, has a lot of wear and tear on his body.
Since coming into the league in 2004, Jackson has already amassed 2,395 carries. He also has 407 receptions. That amount of punishment on the body is likely to make the drop-off in production happen sooner rather than later.
Another factor to consider is durability. Jackson has only missed two games the last four seasons, but prior to that eight games in 2007 and 2008, combined. He is so big and physical that he runs into tacklers, making it easier for him to get injured.
One dominant running back, aside from Adrian Peterson, is not the luxury it used to be. Teams would be wise to try and fill an opening at the position through the draft, or looking at a cheaper option.
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