NFL Free Agent Signings 2011: 8 Players Teams Would Regret Bringing Back
Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Some of those NFL free agents who have re-signed, or could re-sign with their teams are anything but a boy's choir. Re-signing these players is fraught with risk.
Some have apparently reached their ceilings, but suitable alternatives are few, or too costly. Others would bring various baggage into training camp. Whether it's character issues or off-field issues, players like defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (pictured) will have a lot to prove.
I wanted to devote a slide to "Fat Albert", but the football gods intervened. Haynesworth was traded by the New York Giants to the New England Patriots as I was writing this piece.
They say "It's better the devil you know, than the devil you don't." Here are eight players who could prove to be the exceptions to that hoary old axiom.
Denver QB Kyle Orton
The Broncos recently announced that they would entertain offers to trade quarterback Kyle Orton. In a league starving for talented QBs, it appears that only two teams fit the bill as possible trading partners: Miami and Arizona.
What if there is no interest in Orton? Would he return to Denver as a lame duck backup to Tim Tebow? Would the Broncos release him? Could Orton hold out?
If Orton remains with the team in 2011 there will be regrets aplenty.
Denver DT Marcus Thomas
Speaking of the Broncos, they have re-signed defensive tackle Marcus Thomas.
With the Denver defense in transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3, Thomas’ role will change, albeit not as drastically as it would if he were moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4.
If Thomas can’t make a smooth adaptation, it will spell trouble.
Detroit CB Chris Houston
Houston made some positive strides after leaving Atlanta to sign a one year deal in Detroit in 2010. He went from pure mediocrity to below average.
If Houston was the Lions top corner in 2010, what does that say about the state of the unit overall?
Houston is testing the free agency waters and finding his market in decline due to the glut of quality free agent corners that are receiving all of the attention.
Detroit is expected to be active in upgrading Houston’s position, but would re-sign him if the price is right. If Houston returns to Detroit as the second banana it might make for a bumpy ride in 2011.
Tampa Bay CB Aqib Talib
The Bucs said that they would cut Talib once the lockout ended. It hasn’t happened yet, and Tampa Bay might have to re-sign him if a free agent replacement is not signed.
If Tampa Bay signs Nnamdi Asomugha or Jonathan Joseph, Talib will be a goner. If the Bucs are cornered into re-signing the troubled corner, they risk losing his services for a lengthy period if he is found guilty of aggravated assault.
Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer
There’s no shortage of drama, or divas in Cinci. Carson Palmer would rather retire than return to the Bengals. General manager Mike Brown refuses to trade him.
Who will blink first?
Houston QB Matt Leinhart
The Texans have re-signed Matt Leinart as a backup to Matt Schaub and Dan Orlovski. He will be coached up in his clipboard technique while showing up for a fat NFL paycheck.
Leinart might be thrust into the starting role if the injury bug strikes Schaub and Orlovski. If that unfortunate circumstance arises, you can count on GM Rick Smith scouring practice squads for a replacement.
Anything would be better than starting Leinart, who is widely considered to be Akili Smith v 2.0, or Jamarcus Russell light. In other words, a bust.
New York Giants WR Plaxico Burress
Burress was cut by the Giants in 2009, but now he’s back. The newly rehabilitated Burress will talk to the Giants this week about a possible return to the team in 2011.
Most experts agree that a year away from the game will erode his skills and athleticism to a point where it will be extremely difficult for him to recover.
Sure, Mike Vick did it. Burress? Burress is no Mike Vick. Not even close.
Baltimore OT Jared Gaither
Re-signing Jarred Gaither is probably a lower priority than signing a free-agent ball boy for the Ravens.
Gaither missed the 2010 season after a contract holdout with a back injury. He’s been shuffled around the Ravens offensive line in an effort to hide him.
Gaither has been called out by teammates as a malingerer who has a poor work ethic. Those back injuries, whether real, or imagined, tend to be chronic.
The Ravens fans have called Gaither everything but a football player. If he is re-signed, Gaither will cast a pall over the locker room once again.