NFL free agency ought to be underway. Unfortunately, all 1,500-plus NFL players are, in a manner of speaking, free agents right now. The owners have locked them out and the NFL Players Association has lawyered them up.
But that will all pass. There will be a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and when that happens, the players not currently under contract can go about selling their talents to the highest bidder.
While they are doing that, they should offer a thank-you to the late, great Reggie White, whose lawsuit against the NFL paved the way for today's free agents.
White proved himself worth every penny of the big contract the Green Bay Packers gave him to entice him away from the Philadelphia Eagles. In 1997, he teamed up with a young Brett Favre and led the Pack to their first Super Bowl win since Super Bowl II.
Later, Favre himself would become the NFL's highest-profile free agent and would lead his former nemesis, the Minnesota Vikings, to within one bad pass of their first Super Bowl trip in 33 years.
Between White and Favre, however, there has been a long list of free agents that did not work out so supremely. Players signed big contracts, generated a ton of excitement for fans of their new team and then either became completely disastrous or simply a bust.
The free agent ought to be a better bet than the rookie. He has a body of work to examine. However, there is no accounting for the influences of scheme, personnel and coaching on one's personal success.
Following is a list of the worst free agent each NFL team has signed since Reggie White's fateful day in court. We will address the teams division by division, beginning with the AFC North.