In the NFL, timing is everything. Whether it's a quarterback's chemistry with a wide receiver, a defensive lineman's attempt to jump the snap count or even an offensive coordinator's decision to throw the deep ball, the ability to time one's decision at the exact right moment can determine the victor of any given matchup.
The same goes for free agency, as the timing of a player's opportunities on the free-agent market can either result in a long-term mega-contract or become a frustrating endeavor ending in disappointment.
Every offseason, there are big-money contracts given out on the free-agent market to players who under-produce the next season. Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Mario Williams and Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha are just two recent examples. More often than not, teams that attempt to fill major voids on their roster with free-agent acquisitions end up with underperforming rosters and serious salary-cap issues.
Around the league, general managers are becoming more privy with their blueprints on how to build a Super Bowl-caliber roster. Find key pieces in the draft, fill minor holes with moderately priced free agents and don't overpay for big names. In the NFL, scheme is just as important as talent. It's hard to accurately evaluate how a player will perform after moving teams, which makes giving out big contracts incredibly risky.
Many NFL players are going to find this out the hard way during the 2013 offseason. Every one of the following players will find a team to play on next season. However, don't count on them receiving the gargantuan contracts they will undoubtedly be seeking.