The Biggest Mistakes of the 2013 NFL Offseason so Far
While it might be presumptuous to say something is a mistake when we're still in the NFL's offseason, some moves have been head-scratching.
From questionable trades to odd position changes, this offseason has had a number of "interesting" turns so far.
Let's take a look at the biggest mistakes.
Letting Wes Welker Head to Mile High
You couldn't have predicted the cavalcade of ridiculousness that has been the Patriots offseason, but there were enough concerns even before that.
For example, Danny Amendola is an exciting player when he's on the field, but he has missed 20 out of 32 games the last two seasons. He's had only one season where he has played a full 16, having missed a pair of games in his rookie season as well.
Behind Amendola are rookies, inconsistent veterans and Julian Edelman. Edelman will need to fill Welker's role, something he only did sparingly in the past, and he may not have much support on offense.
This could all work out. After all, Tom Brady has done plenty with less. On the other hand, when he was throwing to the likes of Reche Caldwell in 2006, he was a much younger player.
Baltimore Ravens Trading Anquan Boldin
At 32 years old, Anquan Boldin put up his best numbers since 2009. He was an ideal "sell-high" candidate.
Still, as 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick told ESPN, San Francisco was not about to find a player of Boldin's caliber in the sixth round, which is the pick the team ended up sending to Baltimore.
Over his time in Baltimore, Boldin has topped 800 yards all three years, and in two of his three years, he totaled more than 60 catches. It's not 1,000-plus yards and high touchdown totals like he had in Arizona, but his numbers were consistent.
With Boldin gone, the spot across from Torrey Smith—who was hot and cold himself last season—will be filled by either Jacoby Jones or Tandon Doss.
Jones has only caught more than 30 passes once (back in 2010) and has never topped 600 yards for a season. Doss is very raw and inexperienced.
Those two (as well as Smith) face a huge task in replacing Boldin's production. Perhaps they will get some help from tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, but Boldin would have made life easier for Joe Flacco.
Indianapolis Colts Signing Former Green Bay Packer Erik Walden
People are still trying to figure out what the Indianapolis Colts were thinking signing linebacker Erik Walden to a four-year, $16 million contract. Four million is guaranteed, and the contract has an awful lot of dead money in the first two seasons.
All that for a player who—while he did see an increase in sacks and assists—had his solo tackles drop by nearly half and looked horrible against the San Francisco 49ers in the 2012 playoffs.
The Colts had issues at outside linebacker. Dwight Freeney (now with the Chargers) had a down season, while 32-year-old Robert Mathis was banged up last year.
Still, Walden was ranked last by Pro Football Focus (subscription required) in their ranking of 3-4 base outside linebackers. The Colts did a very good job overall in free agency, but this was a confusing signing.
Dallas Cowboys Relying on a Rookie Center
There are issues on the offensive line in Dallas, but is center really one of them?
Jerry Jones isn't just the owner, he's the general manager, Grand Poobah and final word on everything. That can be good and bad.
Jones clearly wanted center Travis Frederick out of Wisconsin, who was projected by many to be a second- or third-round selection. Not only did Jones reach for Frederick with the 31st pick in Round 1, but the 49ers, who the Cowboys traded down with, only had to give up an additional third-rounder (No. 74).
Not exactly a king's ransom.
Ryan Cook has battled injuries the last two seasons, but he's much more useful than a player like Doug Free. Center is one of the most vital spots on the line, and it will be interesting to see if a rookie will be much of an upgrade.
Miami Dolphins Letting Jake Long Walk
Four-time Pro Bowler Jake Long may have taken a step back in 2012, but is Jonathan Martin the right guy to take over at left tackle in front of second-year signal-caller Ryan Tannehill?
According to Pro Football Focus, Martin allowed six sacks, four quarterback hits and a stunning 47 quarterback "hurry-ups" in 2012 for the Dolphins.
Most of last year saw Martin on the right side, but he did replace Long (who was hurt) at left tackle, where he struggled almost as much.
Tannehill had an up-and-down rookie year, and the team expects big things from him in 2013. Signing Mike Wallace won't mean much if Tannehill is laying on his back counting clouds.
Long may have regressed, but he's still better than Martin. Letting him head to St. Louis was a mistake.
New York Jets Moving Quinton Coples to Outside Linebacker
Quinton Coples seems to be having a grand old time transitioning from defensive end to outside linebacker, but many fans and analysts are still looking at the change with trepidation.
As Conor Orr of the The Star-Ledger points out: "Coples was not asked to lose a significant amount of weight in the offseason and envisioning a linebacker near 290 pounds covering a running back out of the backfield was tough, especially with a stable of elusive position players within the division."
Orr does note that in a Rex Ryan defense, position titles aren't all they're cracked up to be, and Coples will still play significant snaps at defensive end.
Still, Coples doesn't appear to have the athleticism and agility to make plays in the passing game.
I love the pick of Sheldon Richardson, and it is one that I know the Jets are excited for. However, the team is making a mistake trying to force Coples into a role he is just not suited for.
New York Jets Handling of the Quarterback Position
The current status of the quarterback situation is not looking good for the Jets.
The Jets are stuck with Sanchez, a guy who is not the future for the position.
Put together with David Garrard's retirement and Geno Smith's underwhelming start, things are looking dire at the most important position on the field.
The Jets are going into the season with Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback again. This is not what fans wanted to see following 2012.
Washington Redskins' Lack of Receiving Weapons for Robert Griffin III
By all accounts, Robert Griffin III is doing very well in his rehab efforts. As of this past week, he was cutting and running with no setbacks.
He could be back for Week 1, but it would have been nice if he had some solid options to throw to.
Pierre Garcon has talent, but he is coming off surgery for a torn labrum. He has also been dealing with a torn ligament on the bottom of his foot. Beyond Garcon, there is 34-year-old Santana Moss, an underwhelming Leonard Hankerson and a collection of journeymen.
Washington didn't really add much in the way of offensive talent for Griffin, and in a division that is likely to be very tightly contested, Washington needs to score. Last season, the Redskins muddled through on the strength of Griffin and rookie running back sensation Alfred Morris.
The Redskins look to have a daunting schedule outside of the NFC East, including the Packers, Lions, Bears, Broncos, Vikings, 49ers and Falcons. They need more weapons for RG3.
What blunders did you see teams make this offseason? Let us know down below in the comments.
Andrew Garda is the former NFC North Lead Writer and a current NFL analyst and video personality for Bleacher Report. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys and the NFL writer at CheeseheadTV.com. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.