NFL Free Agent Signings 2011: The 5 Riskiest Moves Made by Teams So Far
The NFL free-agent frenzy has been crazier than normal this year due to the lockout, and with it, some teams have taken some gambles and brought in players with some question marks on and off the field.
Because of the lack of time between initial free agency and training camp, teams have made questionable moves on guys who, while talented, may not deserve the money they're receiving, even with the modified salary cap.
Heck, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed punter Michael Koenen to a six-year, $19.5 million contract. Something tells me a punter doesn't deserve that kind of money.
The following five players are much more well known than Koenen, and could prove to be a problem for their respective teams down the road, despite their talent on the field.
5. Seattle Signs Tarvaris Jackson
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With Matt Hasselbeck bolting for Tennessee, the Seattle Seahawks signed former Minnesota QB Tarvaris Jackson, and he is pegged to be the starting quarterback once the season gets under way.
Jackson's inconsistency is essentially what brought He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (as a Packers fan who still hasn't forgiven him) out of retirement for the 100th time. His TD:INT ratio is 24:22, which isn't good by any stretch, granted that his receivers were pretty ordinary.
The one thing Jackson does have going for him is that he's a dual-threat QB, but I don't envision coach Pete Carroll using that much in his offense.
The Seahawks needed to get a QB, make no mistake, but I'm just not sure grabbing Jackson was the best option available.
4. Miami Signs Reggie Bush
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So, Bush finds himself in Miami with an unknown depth chart as the duo of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have yet to sign anywhere.
If the Dolphins are expecting Bush to be their every-down back, I think they're seriously delusional. His role in New Orleans as a receiving back/punt returner was pretty ideal for his ability, but Bush wanted more touches, which caused some dissent that may have led to his departure.
Bush is best in open space, and since the running game in South Beach in recent years has been between the tackles, it will be interesting to see how they plan on getting Reggie the ball as much as he wants.
3. New York Jets Sign Plaxico Burress
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No, Plaxico Burress is not topping the list because the New York Jets got him for very cheap at just one year and $3 million.
Obviously the risk with Burress is the fact that he hasn't seen a football field in two years. He'll be turning 34 in less than a month, and one wonders just how much he has left in the tank.
I'm sure Burress will be looking to prove doubters wrong, which should motivate him to constantly give a solid effort, but to expect him to experience no rust on the field is crazy. It could take him two weeks, or 12.
If one recalls, Mike Vick had a pretty disappointing season with the Eagles when he came back from prison. I understand there are huge differences between their respective positions, but Vick seems to be the most recent example of which to compare.
2. Arizona Trades for and Signs Kevin Kolb
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Before I start criticizing, I want to make this clear: I completely understand why Arizona signed Kevin Kolb. The Cardinals had to bring in a quarterback, especially considering their pre-trade depth chart included QBs who probably wouldn't start for some college teams.
My beef with this signing is that they're giving a five-year, $63 million contract to a guy who has started a total of seven games in the NFL, and has thrown more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (11).
Yes, he showed some promise last season, but I really don't comprehend giving a player that unproven so much money (and yes, I was elated to find out about the new rookie pay scale), even with the Arizona QB situation as dire as it was.
On top of that, they gave away a solid starting cornerback in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick in the 2012 draft to get Kolb.
Giving up that much for a guy that unproven could end up backfiring in the end. I hope I'm wrong, though, because Larry Fitzgerald is a favorite of mine and seeing him getting overthrown constantly last season upset me.
1. New England Trades for Albert Haynesworth
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I don't think many people should be surprised by this one. Albert Haynesworth was an absolute disaster for the Washington Redskins after they signed him to an insane six-year, $100 million contract a couple years ago.
The New England Patriots got him for cheap (a fifth-round pick), but Haynesworth's attitude over the past year was so terrible that he stopped showing up for practices and coach Mike Shanahan suspended him for the rest of the season. Even on the field he struggled mightily and didn't come remotely close to living up to his massive contract.
I heard many people say that the Redskins defensive formation, a 3-4, was the reason behind Haynesworth's ineffectiveness. Well, the Pats run the same exact defense, so it will be interesting to see whether Haynesworth will prove to be a better player in the system.
I will say that if any team can control Haynesworth and get the best out of him, it's a team like the Patriots. I'm just not sure it will pan out.