Free agents like Nnamdi Asomugha could be the missing pieces that propel teams to the Super Bowl.
They could just as easily be enormous wastes of money that hamper franchises for years to come.
When dealing with high-priced free agents, teams need to be careful that they don't accidentally bring in counterproductive players into the locker room.
Here are 10 free agents who should be avoided at all costs this offseason.
It will be tempting to sign the three-time Pro Bowler, but Matt Light is past his prime.
Light will be expensive to acquire, given his credentials on one of the winningest franchises in football history.
But the bearded wonder saw his productivity drop off considerably in 2010, a season in which he allowed double-digit sacks. Of the 25 sacks opponents recorded against the Patriots, Matt Light was responsible for 10 of them.
The three-time Super Bowl champion will likely be more of a liability on the offensive line than an asset, and should be avoided as too costly an option.
The last thing any team needs is a loud-mouthed, egotistical wide receiver way past his prime.
Terrell Owens is only going to be a locker room distraction. He won't work hard and will drop too many balls to be effective.
He will cause more problems than he will solve.
In 2010, Ronnie Brown started all 16 games for the first time in his career.
The last thing Brown should receive is a big payday. He has only one 1,000-yard season in his career, and is one of the more injury-prone backs in the league.
Plus he is already 29 years old—the drop-off is right around the corner.
The Packers will try to re-sign Cullen Jenkins, but will let him walk if his demands are too high, because they already have a strong rotation of defensive linemen.
As a major part of Green Bay's Super Bowl run, Jenkins will be highly sought after if he hits the market this offseason.
At 30 years old, the defensive end isn't young, but he is spry enough to command a multi-year deal.
Still, he has been prone to injury already in his career, which should be a huge red flag.
In addition, defensive players are often a product of their schemes. After signing a five-year contract, Adalius Thomas had one good season in New England in 2007 before tailing off considerably.
Thomas was injured for about half of 2008 and was deactivated for several games in the 2009 season. His tenure in New England ended unceremoniously when he was cut the day before the 2010 draft.
Any team interested in Jenkins should look at what happened to Thomas before inking the Packer to a huge deal.
See Terrell Owens.
Talk about a guy who needs a better attitude.
There's a reason Santonio Holmes didn't stick around in Pittsburgh—he's too much about the show, which is the exact opposite of what's needed to succeed in the Steel City.
It's fitting that he ended up on the New York Jets, who are all about trash talk.
Santonio Holmes, coupled with his big mouth, is a disaster waiting to happen.
I'm cheating a little bit here, since Terrelle Pryor will soon enter the supplemental draft.
But as of now, he is a player without a team who could still theoretically get picked up by any team, and therefore qualifies for this list.
Coming out of Ohio State early, Terrelle Pryor represents an enormous risk with not nearly as much upside as other rookie quarterbacks like Cam Newton.
Pryor never got a chance to fully refine his mechanics in college and relied way too much on his athletic ability to run around notoriously slow Big Ten defenses.
And let's not forget the off-the-field tattoo parlor scandal.
Better to let another team deal with Pryor.
Antonio Cromartie is so overrated.
He contributes in the return game and picked off Peyton Manning three times in one game back in 2007. Other than that, he's pretty worthless.
Cromartie is not even close to being a shutdown corner, makes far too many penalties and talks way too much.
His time under Rex Ryan will have definitely had an inflating effect on his ego, meaning Cromartie will be an even bigger headache for the team that eventually signs him.
Vince Young can definitely be a game-changer when he's on—it's just a question of how much focused effort you can expect from the former Texas Longhorn.
As of now, very little.
Throughout his career, Young has been criticized for having a terrible work ethic. He has been unwilling to improve his sloppy mechanics and remains more or less the same player he was when he was drafted third overall in the 2006 draft.
On top of the mechanical issues you have the off-the-field quagmire, including a myriad of mental health concerns.
Signing Vince Young is just too big of a risk.
Nnamdi Asomugha is going to command a huge amount of money this offseason—you should hope it's not your team that signs him.
The defensive back is arguably the best shutdown corner in the game and will sign a big multi-year deal. But he is already 30 and could easily be on the decline soon.
The last thing any team wants is to be stuck with a huge four-plus-year contract for an underperforming player. It's a huge risk with Asomugha.