There's a saying: "One man's trash is another man's treasure." And ever since the beginning of Plan A free agency in 1993, many teams have been able to coin that saying.
Drew Brees was once the Chargers' "trash". It was believed after a serious shoulder injury in 2005 that he would never be the same. So only two teams took a shot at him as a free agent in 2006: The Saints and Dolphins.
However, the Dolphins backed out because they thought it was to much of a risk. Boy were they wrong!
After leading the worst franchise in NFL history to a Super Bowl victory, where does the Saints signing of Drew Brees rank among the greatest free agent signings in NFL history?.
Former Team: Kansas City Chiefs
New Team: Oakland Raiders
Deal: Four years, $16 million
Gannon wasn't a Hall of Fame QB. However, in his time in Oakland, he proved that he might have been if he was ever given a chance. Despite leading the Chiefs to the postseason in '97 he was benched in favor of Elvis Grbac in the playoffs.
In his time with the Raiders, he proved that he was a whole lot better then people thought. He made the Pro Bowl in all four seasons that he started all 16 games. He was named the NFL MVP in 2002 and led the Raiders to a Super Bowl.
Former Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
New Team: New York Giants
Deal: Six Years, $25 million
Now this one could be debated for days, but the fact of the matter is that if not for Plaxico Burress, the Giants would not have won Super Bowl XLII.
In fact, without him they wouldn't have even made it.
In the 2007 NFC Championship game he burnt Al Harris, Charles Woodson, and whoever the Packers put on him. If not for his outstanding performance in that game and the Super Bowl, so much would change.
Eli Manning would be regarded to as a huge bust, the Patriots would have changed NFL history by going 19-0, and Tom Brady becomes almost undoubtedly the greatest QB of all time.
Although this Cinderella Story didn't end well, if this free agent signing never happened, the Giants would never win a Super Bowl. And that's a fact.
Former Team: San Francisco 49ers
New Team: Dallas Cowboys
Deal: Seven years, $25 Million
One of the greatest cornerbacks in NFL history, "Primetime" helped bring America's Team one more title in the '90s (as if they didn't have enough). Not only did he lead them to another Super Bowl, but he also took a paycut to sign with them in the first place.
Deion, who also played professional baseball at the time, ended rumors that he would officially retire from football and focus on his baseball career by signing a seven year deal.
He brought a championship, five great years, and even more excitement to Dallas. What more could you ask for?
Former Team: San Diego Chargers
New Team: New Orleans Saints
Deal: Six years, $60 Million
As you can read about in my prior article (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/342023-march-14-2006-the-day-the-saints-got-tired-of-losing), the Saints got tired of losing and needed to gain some excitement in New Orleans again after Hurricane Katrina.
So they decided to take a risk on a former Pro Bowl QB coming off a shoulder injury that nobody else wanted.
I'd say it payed off pretty well.
Now that he's finally given Saints fans a reason to chear just three years after one of the most brutal storms in the history of our nation, he takes his place among the greatest stories ever, greatest free agent signings ever, and maybe one day, one of the greatest QBs ever.
Former Team: Philadelphia Eagles
New Team: Green Bay Packers
Deal: Four years, $17 Million
When you talk about the greatest free agent signings of all time, you usually don't get too far without mentioning the Minister of Defense.
The first big free agent signing of all time was the best free agent signing of all time. In six seasons with the Pack, he picked up 68.5 sacks. But those great sack totals are not at all what he'll be remembered for from his time in Green Bay.
He'll be remembered for bringing Super Bowl glory back to Green Bay for the first time since the days of Lombardi. If not for him, Brett Favre would probably never even be in the conversation for greatest QB of all time.
He was arguably the greatest pass-rusher in NFL history and one of the greatest overall defenders in NFL history.
At the time, it was the richest contract ever awarded to an NFL defensive lineman. And for the Packers, he was worth every cent.