NFL Free Agent Signees Who Will Probably Drop off in 2011

Adam RosenCorrespondent IIAugust 22, 2011

NFL Free Agent Signees Who Will Probably Drop off in 2011

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    With the start of the regular season less than a month away, fantasy football drafts are taking place all across the country.  Unbeknownst to how some of the rookie are going to fare this season, let me be the first to tell you, that some of the big-name free agents, who signed major-contracts, will undoubtedly not live up to the hype this season. 

    While I believe a few of these free-agents who signed major contracts will have terrible 2011 seasons, their respective teams are expecting major things from them.  Some of these players are injury prone, and some are simply too old and shouldn't be playing in the NFL anymore.

    While many of you will disagree with my selections, here are five free-agent signees who will experience a major drop in production, now that these players are, reportedly healthy, and are expected to be returning to their superstar level form. 

    But don't believe everything you hear, as their production on the field will tell all.

    So sit back, relax, and enjoy.

    Kickoff is around the corner. 

Reggie Bush

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    While I am fully aware Bush wasn't signed as a free-agent, I could not have this list without noting Bush will be a major failure this season.

    After following in the footsteps of someone else by taking his talents to someplace in Miami, Reggie Bush might experience success in the first part of the regular season, but history will rear its ugly head when the calendar turns to the latter parts of the season.

    Now that he's in Miami, Bush will be carrying a heavy load, trying to prove he's an every-down back.  No one doubts he could handle it through the first half of the season, but having broken down over each of the last two seasons, and failing to play in all 16 games since his rookie year, it'll be interesting for Dolphin fans to see if the injury-prone Bush will able to withstand a full season of being the team's workhorse.

    With new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll running the offense, Miami is using spread formations, while opening the field.  Now that Miami isn't the same boring run-first offense it's been in past years, Bush will need to be durable, and will be the focal point of the offense.

    In his pre-season debut,  Bush electrified the crowd with eight carries for 48 yards, and two receptions for 33 yards. But don't let this his performance fool you, as the opponent was the lowly Carolina Panthers, who were 2-14 just a season ago.

    So while Bush's debut was deemed a success, don't be surprised if his Bush's injuries catch up with him once again.  It has every season since 2007.  There's no reason to think 2011 will be any different.


DeAngelo Williams

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    Having missed 10 games during the 2010 season with a mid-foot sprain, Williams was rewarded with a 5 year, $43 million contract extension to stay with the Carolina Panthers.

    Coming off a great season in 2008 and rushing for 1,117 yards and 7 touchdowns in '09, while averaging more than five yards per carry in both seasons, expectations were high for Williams in 2010.

    But last season was a major disappointment. 

    Finishing the year with 361 yards and one touchdown on 87 rushes, along with 61 yards and no touchdowns on 11 catches, not only should Fantasy football owners be concerned, but the Panthers should expect similar numbers this upcoming season.  Having Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson, two young-talented running backs who proved they were able to carry the load in Carolina without Williams, rushing for more than 1,800 yards last season with Williams sidelined for 10 games, new head coach Ron Rivera should not be afraid to give Stewart and Goodson the ball. 

    The Panthers spent a lot of money on a 28-year-old running back, returning from another foot injury.  It's a shame because the $43 million dollars could've been spent elsewhere.

    It won't be long before the Panthers realize that.    

Sidney Rice

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    Giving Sidney Rice a 5-year, $41 million contract isn't the problem.

    He was elected to the Pro-Bowl in just his third season, catching 83 passes for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season, and then added 10 catches for 184 yards and four touchdowns in the playoffs as the Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship Game. 

    He's 6-4, 202-pounds. He's showed his ability to go up and get just about anything his quarterback threw his way.

    But giving Rice that contract when Tavaris Jackson is the quarterback is one issue, and keeping Rice healthy is the other.

    He missed the final two games of his rookie season because of a knee injury. Then in 2008, he suffered a sprained PCL in his right knee while going for a jump ball in the second week of the season, forcing him to be inactive for three of the next four games.  Rice never fully recovered as he finished with only 15 catches for 141 yards and four touchdowns.

    Despite his breakout performance in 2009, unfortunately, it came with a price, as he suffered a hip injury in the NFC Championship Game at New Orleans.  Having delayed surgery until just before the start of the 2010 regular season, playing in only six games, while catching 17 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns, Rice's injury issues seemed to have moved with him to Seattle.  Expecting to start in the Seahawks' preseason opener, Rice sat out because of a minor shoulder injury.

    Rice's inability to remain healthy was a major reason there wasn't the interest level in him that some expected.  Although Rice might not be concerned with his health since he already got paid, however, with $18.5 million guaranteed and Rice's history of injuries, the Seahawks definitely should be. 

Matt Hasselbeck

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    There's no reason to think that at 36 years old, Matt Hasselbeck isn't on the decline, but there are $21 million reasons to think that the Tennessee Titans believe he's still an all-pro quarterback.

    Having not played a full season since 2007, Hasselbeck heads to the Titans with hopes of returning them to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.  Starting 14 games last season for the NFC West division champions, Seattle Seahawks, while throwing 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, 2011 is only going to lead to failure for Hasselbeck and company – especially if Chris Johnson isn't on the field 

    In desperate need to find a legitimate starting quarterback, after Vince Young and Kerry Collins were the starters over the past few seasons, in my mind, the Titans found their next quarterback, but it isn't the 13-year veteran.

    Rather, it's the rookie, Jake Locker. 

    Drafted No. 8 overall in the 2011 draft, there's no doubt Locker is the quarterback of the future.  But the Titans must realize the future is now in Tennessee.  2011 is going to be a losing season anyway for the Titans.  The Titans should start rebuilding now.  Then, at least Locker would be behind center. 

Antonio Cromartie

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    Despite losing out in forming the all-time cornerback tandem of Darrelle Revis and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, the New York Jets turned to their fallback option, having re-signed Antonio Cromartie to a four-year, $32 million contract.

    Last season, Cromartie was impressive at times for the Jets, and while Revis was out with injuries, Cromartie replaced Revis as the team's top cornerback. He even showed he could be a solid kickoff returner, setting up the winning touchdown in the playoffs against Indianapolis with a 47-yard return.  Cromartie might be asked to be the primary kick returner again this season, since Brad Smith is now a Buffalo Bill.

    After acquriing the talented but troubled Cromartie from San Diego for a conditional third-round draft pick in 2011, Cromartie came to the East coast considered one of the rising talents in the league. In 2007, when he was an All-Pro in his second season after getting an NFL-leading 10 interceptions, but has struggled on and off the field since.  Cromartie's tackling was an issue in San Diego, but although he led the team defense in penalties, Cromarite improved.

    The Jets believed Cromartie played well for them last season, but that apparently didn't stop them from pursuing the prized free-agent of the 2011 class.  It has been reported that the Jets "never eliminated Cromartie from their plans, and that they were simply checking out their options."  Coach Rex Ryan said "he considers Cromartie a top-five cornerback, mentioning Revis and Asomugha as his No. 1 and No. 2, respectively".

    The Jets have $19.5 million per year tied up in their starting cornerbacks, including last year's No. 1 pick, Kyle Wilson. While some believe the Jets have arguably the most talented cornerback corps in the league, unfortunately for them, Cromartie is one of those cornerbacks.  

    So by the end of week 17, the Jets are going to be wishing it was Asomugha who was lined up opposite Revis, instead of their cornerback who's under contract for the next four years, and who they just gave $32 million dollars too.