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Richie Incognito Will Struggle to Find New Team According to GM Survey

MIAMI, FL - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images
Tim KeeneyContributor IFebruary 18, 2014

Richie Incognito's future in the NFL is very bleak. 

At least that's what a recent USA Today survey of six NFL teams—four general managers and two personnel executives—would suggest. 

Of the six individuals who responded to the survey, five said they wouldn't sign the 30-year-old offensive tackle. Two general managers were adamant—saying they cast Incognito aside because of character concerns when he was a draft prospect—while a third was a little less stubborn but still said no:

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 11: A Miami Dolphins fan holds a sign for Richie Incognito during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 11, 2013 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

"You always consider a guy with all that starting experience, (who) plays with that aggressive edge," he said. "But at the same time, he's no spring chicken, and you have to factor in all the personality and off-field stuff."

The only response of the six that didn't warrant a direct "no" came from the last GM, who said he was unlikely to sign Incognito but wouldn't rule it out:

"I sure wouldn't want to, but when it's the middle of the season and half of your O-line is on (injured reserve), he might look very attractive. Never say never in personnel."

Still, not exactly a ringing endorsement. 

On the field, Incognito is a tremendous player. He has started 102 games throughout his eight-year career, and as Pro Football Focus' Eli Nachmany recently noted, he can still "flat out play":

But judging by the responses of these general managers and executives, baggage may not be "overstated" for everyone.

Not only does Incognito present significant character concerns—the recent Ted Wells report found that he verbally abused Jonathan Martin and an assistant trainer, using racial insults and homophobic language—but if a team signed him, it could look like it condones that kind of behavior, as one GM suggested. 

Nevertheless, the NFL is an ultra-competitive league where talent typically trumps everything else, and Incognito is a player who would instantly make a lot of teams better on the gridiron. 

Some organizations may say they aren't willing to sign him now, but when push comes to shove, that could change if they deem his talent to outweigh his baggage.

Free agency begins on March 11. Incognito's future may currently be dreary at best, but there's plenty of time for that to potentially change. 

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