Nnamdi Asomugha, Jonathan Joseph, Ray Edwards, Sidney Rice, Darren Sproles, Matt Hasselbeck, Jason Babin and countless other free agents whipped us into a frenzy just over a month ago with their signings and the hype of the impact on their new destinations.
But were they worth it?
Specifically, were the dollars paid out to these few individuals worth what they have produced three weeks into the season?
Honestly, it's been a mixed bag and with an exception of a few select players, you'll need at least half the season before truly calling a player a free-agent bargain or bust.
Nonetheless, let's take a look at where the marquee free agents stand going into Week 4 and assign a grade to their acquisition. The grade will be based on production, fit with the player's new team and the contract the player signed.
Asomugha signed a five-year, $60 million deal with $25 million guaranteed as the jewel of Philadelphia's much-celebrated free-agent acquisitions.
Yet in Week 3, Asomugha was embarrassed by New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz. First, Cruz took a short pass and watched as Asomugha crashed into another defender before he jaunted the rest of the way into the end zone.
After the first touchdown which covered 70 yards, Cruz struck again. This time he simply outjumped Asomugha and safety Jarrad Page.
The Eagles have given up way too many big plays in their two losses and Asomugha deserves a good portion of the blame, although not as much as a poor group of linebackers.
Asomugha does have an interception and he is too good not to turn it around, but you do wonder if the fact that teams failed to test him in Oakland might have inflated his stock a bit.
When Matt Hasselbeck signed a three-year, $20 million deal with the Titans this offseason, many scoffed at the acquisition as a last gasp by the 36-year-old signal-caller to prolong his career.
Hasselbeck is the one laughing now, as the Titans are 2-1 and Hasselbeck has thrown for 932 yards, five touchdowns against two interceptions with a quarterback rating of 102.2.
At this rate, 2011 first-round draft pick Jake Locker might be riding the pine for quite a while in Nashville.
Edwards was signed to a five-year, $30 million contract so that all of the pressure on the pass rush wasn't put so much on Falcons stalwart defensive end John Abraham.
The 6'5", 268-pound Edwards has six tackles and no sacks. Abraham has two sacks, and the entire Atlanta team has just five. The Falcons surrendered 30 points to Chicago in Week 1 and 31 points to Philadelphia in Week 2. They only gave up 16 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday but still lost.
When the former Titans linebacker hit the open market this summer, interest was surprisingly lukewarm for a player who had 205 tackles during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. It was suggested that at 5'11", he might be too small for some defenses or that he was more of a run-and-chase player rather than a hitter, etc.
Detroit found out for a bargain price of $3.25 million for only one year that Tulloch is a pretty darn good football player. He has 14 tackles so far this season and a sack, but it's his veteran leadership and energy that stands out on a Lions defense that has surrendered just four touchdowns this season.
Before anyone complains, I know Bush wasn't technically a free agent. He was traded from New Orleans to Miami for safety Jon Amaya and a late-round draft pick.
However, Bush was clearly going to be released and become a free agent if he wasn't traded.
Bush immediately signed a two-year, $10 million contract to be the Dolphins' feature back.
He has been anything but a feature back, rushing for just 69 yards on 27 carries through three games. The huge multipurpose threat some envisioned hasn't materialized either as he has 11 catches for 71 yards.
Bush's inability to run between the tackles is yet another indictment of a Miami Dolphins front office that doesn't seem to acquire players for the skill set the team is willing to use or should use.
Backup running back Daniel Thomas has 41 carries for 202 yards, by the way.
Perhaps most damning is that Bush was replaced in New Orleans by a better player who we'll discuss in detail next.
Update: The Miami Dolphins have claimed former Houston Texans running back Steve Slaton on waivers. Since Slaton has similar skills to Bush, the former USC star could see even fewer touches if (and it's a big if) Slaton has something left in the tank.
Sproles was signed to a four-year, $14 million contract by the Saints with one purpose: adequately replace Reggie Bush as the team's multipurpose, change-of-pace back.
Sproles has carried the ball only eight times for 59 yards and a 30-yard touchdown. But he has also caught 21 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown, and returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown. In fact, he has a 57-yard kick return as well.
Truth is, Sproles has been a better weapon through three weeks than Bush was in his career as a Saint.
Boy, did I get this one wrong. When the Dolphins signed Burnett, I thought they would get at least the player who had 95 tackles, six sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 2010 for the San Diego Chargers.
So did the Dolphins, who signed Burnett to four-year, $21 million deal with $9.8 million guaranteed.
He has 10 tackles through three games, with no sacks, interceptions or forced fumbles. Quite honestly, right now, I wouldn't know he was on the team if he wasn't listed in the starting lineup.
If the Dolphins hope to start winning games, Burnett and Bush must improve.
On the surface, the signing of Jason Babin would appear to be working for the Eagles. He has four sacks in three games and presents a good pass-rushing tandem with Trent Cole.
But when rushing from a wide-nine technique (with his size limitations at about 6'3" and 260 pounds), he doesn't hold up at the point of attack in the running game. As a result, an opposing offensive lineman is able to break free and blast one of the Eagles linebackers.
A pure pass-rushing specialists who struggles against the run may not be the best use of five-year, $28 million contracts like the one Babin received.
Joseph signed a five-year, $48.75 million deal to help the Texans' pass defense, which was ranked dead last in the NFL in 2010.
He already has two interceptions, but suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 against Miami that should be monitored.
Last Sunday, against the Saints in a 40-33 loss, Joseph had an interception but was still part of a defense that surrendered 370 passing yards to Drew Brees. Many NFL defenses give up a ton of yardage and points to Brees, but Joseph will have to be a consistent shutdown corner and help elevate the performance of the rest of the secondary to justify the price Houston paid to get him.
When Edwards signed essentially a one-year, $1 million contract with the Niners, outsiders were taken aback by the lack of interest and commitment to a player who had 53 catches, 904 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010.
NFL insiders must have known something about the former Michigan star.
Two games into the season Edwards had just four catches for 48 yards and then had to have a surgical procedure on his knee that caused him to miss last Sunday's win against Cincinnati and an undetermined number of games in the upcoming weeks.
In fairness to Sidney Rice, having Tarvaris Jackson as his quarterback again (they were teammates in Minnesota) is like tying one of Rice's hands behind his back and asking him to go juggle footballs. Yet, in his first action of the season, Rice caught eight passes for 109 yards in the team's 13-10 win over Arizona.
If Rice can maintain that kind of production over the long haul, his five-year, $41 million contract will be well worth it.
Considering Jackson has yet to throw for over 200 yards in a game this season and has a quarterback rating of 73.7 (not to mention Rice's recent and significant injury history), I wouldn't bet on it.
When the Jags lured Posluszny away from Buffalo with a six-year, $42 million dollar contract it was seen as a good addition for Jacksonville, but an even bigger loss for the Bills. After all, who would replace Posluszny's 151 tackles from 2010?
Posluszny has 17 tackles so far, but the man who replaced him, Nick Barnett, formally of the Green Bay Packers, has 29 tackles and a forced fumble. Barnett cost three years and $12 million.
Buffalo is 3-0 and Jacksonville is 1-2. While obviously you can't trace records to one player and the Bills defense has been suspect on occasion despite their impressive start, the bottom line is the impact Posluszny has had on the Jaguars defense pales in comparison to the dollars he received and the hype that accompanied him to Jacksonville, as well as the surprising improvement of the Bills without him.