Depending on the exact date to the end of the NFL lockout, free agency and trades could begin 7-10 days later. It will be a very busy time in the league, as deals will be hammered out very quickly. Teams will overspend on athletes that are well past their prime and will have little impact on their success this season.
Let’s take a look at the five least reliable players on the open market:
At 37 years old, Terrell Owens cannot be expected to continue having 1,000-yard seasons much longer. He’s coming off a year that had an abundance of drop balls and appeared to have trouble distancing himself from defenders downfield.
The one positive for him is that Owens has kept himself in terrific shape all throughout his career. TO’s athleticism will attract teams that execute quick-hitting slant routes perfectly in their offense. His wide frame and short burst of speed will make it difficult for DBs in single coverage to tackle Owens in the open field.
Plaxico Burress has been out of football for two years, and no team can expect him to immediately become a full-time starter next season. The best future for Burress is going to a team that can use him as a third or fourth option in their passing game. The ideal fit is a team that has true leader (Tom Brady or Peyton Manning) at the quarterback position, as Burress must show that he’s team-oriented and motivated again to win another Super Bowl.
Michael Jenkins became expendable to the Atlanta Falcons after they selected Julio Jones in the first round of the last spring’s NFL Draft. They wanted another playmaker to complement Roddy White and also have the speed to extend the defense. This will create space for the running game. Jenkins doesn’t fit that profile, as he is a possession receiver who can move the chains.
Matt Hasselbeck is one of the few players to survive Pete Carroll’s purge of the Seattle Seahawks roster. A lack of continuity in the offense has made his job tougher, as Hasselbeck threw more interceptions-to-touchdowns (17-12) last season.
Whispers in Seattle have the team wanting to get younger at the quarterback position, and Hasslebeck might feel it’s the right time to leave for a team that has a more familiar offensive system. This season is critical for him, as he must re-establish himself as a starting quarterback. If he cannot do this, then Hasselbeck will be relegated to a backup role behind a young, talented quarterback.
The first question Eric Weddle must answer is why are you thinking about leaving the San Diego Chargers, a team that is consistently considered a Super Bowl contender. Well, it’s the same reason why any free agent leaves…acquiring a bigger contract.
And that is why he is a risk to sign, as a team is asking too much from a player that only controls a small area of the field. A front-seven defender has more impact on the game than a defensive back. Sometimes, Weddle’s play on the field doesn’t add up to his reputation. He needs to be more aggressive to become a top-flight safety in the NFL.