NFL Free Agency: The 10 Worst Free Agent Signings Ever
While the 2010 free agency spectacle winds down, players pack their bags and head out to their new cities around the country. On the other side, fans wait and wonder if the new high-profile signings will help take them to a championship.
Chicago fans right now may wonder if Julius Peppers will restore their "Monsters of the Midway" to their former glory, while Miami fans wonder if Karlos Dansby will help them knock off Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, on their way to capturing a division title.
Some teams sit idley by, choosing not to take part in the NFL swap meet, and invest their resources into the NFL draft. For those that do however, the gamble and risks are great, and there's no telling if the new acquisition will perform as well on their new team.
A few free agents do work out and lead their team to a championship, but for those that don't, they've earned their place on the list of "The 10 Worst Free Agent Signings Ever".
10. Neil O'Donnell - 1996 - Jets
Following a poor performance with Pittsburgh in Superbowl XXX, O'Donnell signed on with the New York Jets the following season. Rewarding him with a five-year deal worth $25 million, he failed to reach the goals laid out ahead of him. In year one with New York, he separated his shoulder and started only six games in 1996. The next year, he was benched by head coach Bill Parcells countless times for his below average play, before finally being released during the off-season.
09. Adam Archuleta - 2005 - Redskins
When the 2005 season ended, Adam Archuleta became the highest paid safety in NFL history. The Redskins signed Archuleta to a six-year deal worth $30 million dollars, $10 million guaranteed. Archuleta started in seven out of 16 games played with Washington, before falling out of favor with the Redskins and they benched him halfway through the season. In limited play he notched one sack and added just 50 tackles, before being traded to Chicago the next year.
08. Larry Brown - 1996 - Raiders
The Superbowl XXX MVP corner-back of the Dallas Cowboys, Brown became a free agent immediately afterwards. The Raiders rewarded him with a five year, $12.5 million dollar contract during the off-season. In two years with the Raiders, Brown wasn't much of a factor and played in just 12 games. He was released shortly afterwards.
07. LeCharles Bentley - 2006 - Browns
ESPN considered Bentley, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, the top rated free agent on the market in the 2006 off-season. Cleveland signed him to a six-year deal worth a maximum value of $36 million dollars. Expected to lock down Cleveland's offensive line for six years, Bentley suffered a serious knee injury in training camp and missed the entire 2006 season. A staph infection developed, at one point almost forcing doctors to amputate his leg, and forced him out yet another season. The doctor finally gave medical clearance, with Bentley stating the leg was about 70%. He never made it onto the field though, being released at the end of the year.
06. Dana Stubblefield - 1998 - Redskins
The Redskins thought they had hit the jackpot when they landed Stubblefield. Fresh off of a 15-sack season with the San Francisco 49ers, Washington locked him up with a six-year, $36 million dollar deal, including an $8 million dollar signing bonus. After a seven game losing streak, Stubblefield was hit with a knee injury, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. In three seasons with the Redskins, he failed to ever get back to his original form, notching just seven sacks.
05. Dale Carter - 1999 - Broncos
With Kansas City, Carter was a four-time Pro Bowl selection, with Denver however it was a very different story. Denver offered the talented yet troubled corner-back a four-year deal worth $22.8 million, making him the most highly paid at his position in the league. In his first season, Carter was a bust against his expectations, and was then suspended the entire next season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy again. The next season he was released halfway through the year, ending his chapter in the Mile High City.
04. Chuck Smith - 2000 - Panthers
Smith was an All-Pro defensive end with the Atlanta Falcons, leading them to Super Bowl XXXIII and finishing his career with the team as their all-time sack leader. Hoping to add to their pass rush, the Carolina Panthers added Smith to their ranks with a five-year deal worth $21 million dollars. In just two games with the Panthers, Smith hurt his knee and was forced to retire at the end of the season.
03. Andre Rison - 1995 - Browns
In 1995, Andre Rison signed a lucrative five-year, $17 million dollar contract with the Cleveland Browns, the highest for a receiver at the time. Coming off four straight Pro Bowl seasons, Rison was expected to be the Browns' leading receiver threat. Never living up to that expectation, Rison put up career lows in almost every category, failing to even average three catches a game. The following season, the Browns moved to Baltimore, with the team declining to take him along.
02. Nate Odomes - 1994 - Seahawks
A two-time Pro Bowler defensive back, Odomes was part of the great AFC Championship dynasty of the Buffalo Bills in the early '90's. In 1994 when his contract was up, Odomes was signed in free agency by the Seattle Seahawks. Before the beginning of the season he suffered a knee injury that forced him to sit out both seasons he was a part of the organization, and the following year gave in to retirement.
01. Javon Walker - 2008 - Raiders
Despite being released by Denver the year before due to multiple injuries, Raiders' owner Al Davis decided to hand Walker a six year deal worth a ridiculous $55 million dollars hoping for a comeback. In his first season he caught a mere 15 passes through seven games, before being beaten and robbed in Vegas, forcing him onto the injured reserve list. Last season, he dressed for three games before having out of country surgery without the Raiders permission. Walker was released in the off-season a few days ago, ending the Walker experiment.
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