NFL Offseason: 7 Most Surprising Free Agent Signings

Brian WrightCorrespondent IIAugust 5, 2011

NFL Offseason: 7 Most Surprising Free Agent Signings

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    The furious period that has become the NFL offseason has resulted in many trades and numerous free agent signings. The span of time in which to sign these players is much shorter, but the fact that there are a mixture of positive and negative transactions remains unchanged.

    The seven surprising signings listed are mostly ones that raised the most eyebrows for their potentially negative qualities. However, there is one high-profile move from a team that came out of nowhere to nab the top free agent.

Michael Koenen

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    This is, without question, the most curious and outrageous move made in the offseason so far.

    Micheal Koenen's stats aren't spectacular. In 2010, he averaged 40.2 yards per punt with a net average of 37.5 (ranked 26th in the NFL). Yet, the Bucs decided to make their first free agency signing by inking Koenen to a staggering six-year contract worth $19.5 million ($6.5 million guaranteed).

    No offense to this position, but never should a punter merit this much of a payout—let alone one that isn't even elite. To say Tampa Bay overpaid on this one is certainly an understatement.

Steve Breaston

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    The Chiefs are banking on the fact that Breaston flourished under former Cardinals offensive coordinator and current Kansas City head coach Todd Haley. Since Haley's departure, Breaston has averaged 715 yards receiving and just two touchdowns in the previous two seasons.

    Despite being just 28 years old, it appears that Breaston's right knee may make the Chiefs regret this deal down the road. So paying him $25 million ($9.5 million guaranteed) over the course of five years is borderline foolish.

Nnamdi Asomugha

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    Just when it appeared that those vying for top free agent prize Nnamdi Asomugha were limited to the Jets, Texans and Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles "swoop" in and nab the star cornerback on July 29.

    This came as a shocker, considering that no rumors surrounded the two sides in recent days. Plus, Philly had already landed a quality defensive back in Dominique Rogers-Cromartie earlier in the week in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals that sent backup QB Kevin Kolb to the desert.

    The Eagles didn't have to make this move. But by doing it, they helped make themselves the winners of the free agency period thus far.

Davin Joseph

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    The temporary insanity afflicting the Bucs during this free agency period continued when Davin Joseph put pen to paper on a $53 million contract that covers seven years.

    That quite a sum of cash to spend on an interior lineman and an average one at best.

    But Tampa is banking on the idea that he will benefit from a power blocking scheme instituted by new offensive line coach Pat Morris.

Ray Edwards

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    Entering his sixth year in pro football, Edwards has become a standout on the defensive line for the Minnesota Vikings. That has been especially true in the previous two seasons. In 2009, he recorded 51 tackles and 8.5 sacks. Last year, playing in two less games, he posted 37 tackles and eight sacks.

    The Atlanta Falcons bolstered their defense by nabbing Edwards and save some money by getting him for $30 million over five years—a true value considering that fellow DE Charles Johnson got a six-year, $76 million contract.

    It's a surprise, too, that the Vikings would simply let a talent like this go when his asking price wasn't all that staggering compared to others at his position.

Jeromey Clary

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    Brandyn Dombrowski nearly replaced Clary early on in the 2010 season. So it's quite the head-scratcher when you learn that Clary signed a four-year, $20 million deal on July 26 to remain a member of the San Diego offensive line.

    Like Joseph, Clary is mediocre at this position and doesn't deserve this much money. The guess here is that the Chargers felt that needed to get their O-line settled first so they could make moves on the defensive side.

Tarvaris Jackson

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    When long-time QB Matt Hasselbeck left the Seahawks to sign with the Tennessee Titans, speculation was that Charlie Whitehurst would seamlessly slip right in to the starting signal-caller role with Seattle.

    That situation was muddled early on in the free agency period when the 'Hawks picked up Tarvaris Jackson for $8 million over two years.

    I understand that Jackson is reunited with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, the same man who was coaching him in Minnesota. However, Jackson's performances haven't been all that impressive, as he has a record of 10-10 as a starter—throwing 24 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.

    If the Seahawks really wanted a quality quarterback, there were plenty of other options than one that probably can't cut it on the first string.