NFL Free Agency 2013: Riskiest Players on Market

Max MeyerCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2013

Joe Flacco is now a Super Bowl MVP, but is he worth $20 million annually?
Joe Flacco is now a Super Bowl MVP, but is he worth $20 million annually?Jamie Squire/Getty Images

In every NFL Free Agency period, teams are lining up to pay players that they think will help them improve. However, there are always a couple risky guys that teams have to decide whether or not they are worth the contract. Here are five of them in this offseason:


Joe Flacco

Here’s a guy whose stock rose dramatically, thanks to his outstanding performance in the NFL playoffs. Flacco is a clutch quarterback, as he’s won at least one playoff game in each of his five seasons. Flacco has not missed a single game either in that five-year span either.

However, should an NFL team dish out elite-quarterback money to Flacco? The last two seasons he’s completed fewer than 60 percent of his throws. He’s also never had more than 25 touchdown passes in a season. Especially with their salary cap issues, the Baltimore Ravens have a big decision to make whether or not to re-sign Flacco for around $20 million a season.


Wes Welker

Welker has had more than 100 receptions and 1,000 yards in five of the last six seasons. However, is this a system-guy that will be asking for top-tier wide receiver money?

For a sure-handed receiver, it’s quite surprising that Welker had an NFL-high 15 drops in the 2012 regular season. Also, Welker’s market value has increased because he’s had Tom Brady as his quarterback, in the New England Patriots’ pass-happy system.

If Welker joins another team, he may find it more difficult to get open because he’ll be treated as the top guy from most defenses. Whereas on the Patriots, Welker has had Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Lloyd to help defenses shift their attention away from him. Also, Welker-clone Danny Amendola is a younger and cheaper option on the market.

Ryan Clady

Clady allowed just one sack in the regular season after rejecting a five-year, $50 million contract extension this past offseason. However, is this guy really an All-Pro left tackle like his numbers this season suggested?

Before Peyton Manning came to town, Clady had allowed 24.5 sacks over the previous three seasons. Manning’s quick release definitely will help his offensive linemen’s sack totals. Additionally, the injury question marks have to arise. After suffering a torn patellar tendon, Clady will need offseason shoulder surgery. There are too many red flags for a team to feel comfortable giving this guy a high-level contract. 


Aqib Talib

After acquiring Talib from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Patriots finally had their shutdown cornerback. Talib improved their secondary, and it showed once Flacco tore apart the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game after Talib left with an injury. The problem with Talib though is his off-the-field troubles.

Talib served a four-game suspension this season for his use of performance-enhancing drugs. He’s also been involved in a couple of altercations and has even been arrested. The next time Talib has trouble with the law, the NFL could deal out a very lengthy suspension.  That’s why NFL teams should give a second thought before giving him that contract.


Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Rodgers-Cromartie has always had the talent, but it’s been his inconsistency that has frustrated teams. The Philadelphia Eagles probably don’t want to spend a lot of money on two cornerbacks that have been underachieving for them.

Rodgers-Cromartie will have to compete with other cornerbacks such as Brent Grimes, Sean Smith and Cary Williams on the market. However, it’ll be hard to justify paying him so much after being a part of the Eagles abominable secondary this past season.