NFL Free Agency: 5 Players Teams Should Avoid

Brandon Alisoglu@@BrandonAlisogluCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2014

NFL Free Agency: 5 Players Teams Should Avoid

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    NFL free agency is a time of optimism and hope. So leave it to me to spread some disdain by naming players who might not be as shiny as the package looks.

    But let's be clear. Not every player here should be avoided because he has no value. In fact, every player on this list has business being on an NFL roster. 

    There are other concerns, though. Is that wide receiver really worth the high-dollar cost? Can an ex-star handle being the presumptive backup on his new team?

    At the very least, all of these guys should be waited out until their price tags drop. It's not always an avoid-at-all-costs situation; these are more of avoid-until-it-doesn't-cost-as-much moves. 

Wide Receiver Eric Decker

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Prepare yourself, trolls. I'm playing for keeps. 

    Eric Decker is a good receiver. He'd be a solid addition to any team.

    So long as that team has a bona fide lead receiver. 

    Decker hasn't proven that he can carry the load or create his own separation. His Super Bowl performance (one catch for six yards) shouldn't be taken as gospel, but three playoff games resulted in eight catches for 111 yards and no scores. That's darn near a pattern.

    You know who made a similar move? The Jacksonville Jaguars when they inked Laurent Robinson to a lucrative contract after a stellar season as a complementary Cowboy.  

    Good teams don't make those types of mistakes. He probably won't end up playing in a Super Bowl with his new franchise once he gets that huge payday.

Quarterback Michael Vick

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Michael Vick believes he's a starting quarterback. He might be, but I doubt it.

    For starters (pun intended), Vick hasn't played an entire season since 2006. That year also doubles as the only time he's played all 16 games in his career. 

    The most likely scenario for Vick is playing mentor and placeholder for a highly prized rookie. His supporting cast will likely be mediocre and his odds of winning even less so.

    A good team with an entrenched starter would also be a great fit for a guy without much playoff success. Quarterbacks go down every year, and he's just the type of guy who could keep a talented team winning for a stretch.

    But would he accept the role?

Tight End Jermichael Finley

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Free-agent contracts are generally based on potential, meaning the new employer predicts the player's future production and compensates him accordingly.

    For Jermichael Finley, that's both a blessing and a curse. 

    He's only 26 years old and has the athleticism that fits the new mold of tight ends. Unfortunately, his past performance has been plagued by inconsistency and injury.

    That last bit is the main reason Finley lands on this list. His latest injury required spinal fusion surgery to repair, leaving his future in doubt. That's the exact type of injury that could scare off suitors. 

Running Back Darren McFadden

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Quit rolling your eyes. Just because you've sworn off taking Darren McFadden in fantasy football (again) doesn't mean none of the 32 actual NFL franchises will kick the tires on the former first-rounder. 

    Somehow, despite logic and seemingly the rules of physics, McFadden is only 26. He's also only racked up 883 carries and could still have something in the tank.

    But this isn't the same situation as the reborn LeGarrette Blount. McFadden's time off (29 games in six seasons) was due to an assortment of injuries. There are way too many other younger and equally explosive options available to bring in McFadden for anything guaranteed. 

Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn

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    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    The cornerback market is pretty loaded. Teams looking to seriously upgrade at the more-important-than-ever position will have plenty of options to do so. 

    Inevitably, one team will be left out. That doesn't mean said team should pay top dollar for Captain Munnerlyn's talents.

    It's understandable to see Munnerlyn as a rising star. This past season he only allowed a single touchdown, and came in as the 11th-best corner with a positive 10.1 PFF grade (subscription required). 

    But he still allowed opposing quarterbacks to post an 85.5 quarterback rating, which is the 50th "best" such mark. It's also difficult to determine how much of his success was due to his development and how much was the product of the Panthers' ferocious front seven.