2013 NFL Free Agents: Aging Stars That Should Be Avoided This Offseason

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 23: Defensive tackle Richard Seymour #92 of the Oakland Raiders enlists the crowd in making noise against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won 28-0. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Although fans get excited about free agents joining their favorite teams, front offices have to be much more cautious.

Every so often, an impact player like Peyton Manning or Drew Brees can become available in free agency and make a huge difference. However, most times it should only be used to fill specific needs.

With this in mind, organizations might look to veteran players who have been productive over the course of their career. This is not always a good strategy, especially if the potential free agent is getting older and on the decline.

These players were once among the best at their position, but they should not be heavily pursued this month. 


Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Some running backs can play into their 30s, but Michael Turner is not one of them.

After rushing for 1,340 yards in 2011, the Falcons' lead back stumbled to only 800 yards on a career-low 3.6 yards per carry. He was simply unable to get to the hole quickly and often struggled to break any tackles.

It is easy to imagine a team talking itself into Turner this offseason, though. He finished eighth in the NFL with 10 touchdowns in 2012-13, the fifth straight year he finished in double digits.

In addition, one might think that the down year was a fluke after Turner was among the best in football the season before.

However, he has lost a step or two (or four) in the past year and simply was not a starting-quality running back last season. Anyone who picks him up would be bringing along a bunch of risk.


Richard Seymour, DT, Oakland Raiders

Throughout his career, Richard Seymour has been productive as a player who can play in multiple spots along the defensive line.

In 2012, he was unable to keep up this reputation and struggled to make plays on the field. He also missed half of the season with a hamstring injury. Even when he played, running backs were often able to completely torch the Oakland run defense.

Although statistics do not tell the whole story for defensive tackles, the veteran has usually been able to get to the quarterback and rack up decent sack totals.

This didn't happen last season, as he compiled only 15 tackles on the season, barely getting to the ball-carrier with any consistency.

At 33 years old, Seymour simply cannot get it done anymore.


Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers

Although Greg Jennings will not turn 30 until about a month into next season, he already comes with plenty of concerns.

The receiver has missed 11 games over the past two years due to various injuries and his production has suffered because of it. While he was once considered a top deep threat, his yards per catch has dropped in each of the past three seasons. His average of 10.2 per reception last season ranked 103rd in the NFL.

In addition, the efforts of Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb should cause teams to question whether Jennings' production was simply due to the system in Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball.

Some team is going to pay Jennings like he is one of the best receivers in the NFL. Unfortunately, that simply is no longer the case.