Randy Moss and the Most Overrated Free Agents on the 2011 Market
Every year there are free agents that shake up the market thanks to their name recognition, and only their name recognition.
These players receive love and attention from the fans and the media, but the truth is that some of these players just won't produce what their agents are trying to sell to teams.
Some of them are over-the-hill, yet teams will still make them offers based on their impressive careers that have already peaked in hopes of recapturing some of that magic.
But some of the overrated free agents aren't old. Some of them carry name recognition from maybe one good season, or perhaps they are overvalued due to the popularity of their former team.
So when free agency opens, and you hear that your team signed a player with a big and shiny name, don't get overly excited. Make sure your team signed the player for the right reasons before you celebrate.
Randy Moss (Wide Receiver, Tennessee Titans)
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After an overall weak showing with the Oakland Raiders in 2005 and 2006, wide receiver Randy Moss was able to make a spectacular comeback with the New England Patriots.
During his first year with New England in 2007, Moss accumulated 1,493 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns.
So clearly he had a lot to offer, even when he was with the Raiders. So what does that tell us?
It tells us that Moss is a quitter.
If he lands himself into a situation he likes, then he will play to win. But if he finds himself in a scenario he's apathetic about, then he plays dead.
Last season, when the Patriots traded Moss, he found himself playing for the Minnesota Vikings and the Tennessee Titans. Given his stats for those two teams (a combined 254 yards and two touchdowns in eight starts), it's pretty clear that he quit on them.
But maybe not.
Maybe he quit, but maybe he also lost his ability to turn it on.
Regardless, some team will give him a shot given his remarkable career, as well as his impressive physical talents.
His name recognition will garner lots of attention, but in reality he is done.
Chad (Johnson) Ochocinco (Wide Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals)
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Yet both Torry Holt and Steve Smith were done producing by the time they turned 32.
What's the difference between these guys? What was able to give Moss and Owens those extra years?
The answer is size.
Receivers that rely on size, as oppose to speed, are generally able to remain productive at an older age.
If a big receiver loses a step or two, it doesn't make much of a difference, because their speed wasn't their strong suit to begin with.
However, when a speedster like Chad Ochocinco loses a step, it means the world. Their speed is what made them great, and they can't produce without it.
Some team will give Ochocinco, who is expected to be cut when the lockout ends, a chance to step in and lead their receivers, especially since he's been very good in the past. But the smart teams will realize that speedy receivers die young.
Logan Mankins (Offensive Guard, New England Patriots)
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Logan Mankins has been keeping Tom Brady upright ever since joined the team in 2005.
He has been a valuable piece to the New England Patriots' offensive line, and he was even able to make the Pro Bowl in 2010 despite playing only nine games.
There is no doubt that he has something to offer, especially since he is still in his prime at the tender age of 29.
But he's an offensive guard.
He's not a left-tackle that's protecting the quarterback's blindside, and he doesn't even snap the quarterback the ball as a center.
He's an offensive guard, and no offensive guard is worth whatever disgustingly large contract Mankins will command this off-season.
If a team has solid bookend tackles, then they can compensate with mediocre guards. But a team can't get by with superstar guards and worthless tackles.
Though Mankins is great at what he does, his value is overrated.
Antonio Cromartie (Cornerback, New York Jets)
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Antonio Cromartie entered the league in 2006 as a first round draft pick for the San Diego Chargers.
He had a remarkable 2007 season where he had 10 interceptions. That, combined with his return abilities made him a sure thing as the next shutdown corner in the NFL.
However, even though he has breathtaking speed, combined with size (6'2", 210 pounds), he just can't handle agile wide receivers that are capable of running precise routes.
The league has figured him out, and he's certainly not a shutdown corner.
Based on his 2007 season, there might be some General Manager out there that still thinks that Cromartie is gold, but that's just not the case.
Terrell Owens (Wide Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals)
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In 2010 he came 17 yards short of his 10th career 1,000 yard season, and he was also able to score nine touchdowns. So he is still relatively productive in his twilight years.
Surely he is not ageless, and something has to give. But for now, there is no reason to think he could not have another solid season in 2011.
Having said that, his production is dependent on a solid supporting cast, and even if he has that his contributions will still be minor.
He may get the stats, but that doesn't mean he will enthusiastically contribute to team goals, which is apparent if you've noticed that he hasn't been to the playoffs since 2007.
Either way, his antics and fame will draw a lot of attention. He's a popular guy, so fans from every team will follow his decisions.
He might be popular and well known, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll produce the same stats that bought him his fame in the first place.
Sidney Rice (Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings)
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Sidney Rice had a phenomenal 2009 campaign with the Minnesota Vikings.
He had 1,312 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, and he was part of a team that barely lost the NFC Championship game.
He is also young, as he's only 24 years old, which means he's a particularly intriguing potential free agent since he's just entering his prime and has his best years still ahead of him.
However, given his history with injuries, it wouldn't be surprising if he was forced into early retirement at some point in his career.
For starters, he has only played in only 26 of his 48 career games, and his latest hip injury has clearly debilitated him.
If he's actually healthy, then he has the potential to be among the best receivers in the league, but that's just not likely.
He's been treated as a hot commodity for the free agency market, but a lot of that hype is riding on his 2009 performance.