10 Free Agents That Didn't Work out in 2015

Giancarlo Ferrari-King@@GiancarloKingFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2015

10 Free Agents That Didn't Work out in 2015

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    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Sometimes free-agent signings don't pan out like teams would like them to. In a market that's controlled by adding talent, sports franchises are tasked with finding players who fit their agendas.

    This past year we saw a lot of successful additions to go along with an equal number of flops. The end game here was to find 10 of the worst offenders. We scanned the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB for answers.

    Knowing some leagues are still in-season, certain names may eventually be removed. However, based on current production, financial agreements and more, the choices at this point in time were more than clear.

DeMarco Murray

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    The Philadelphia Eagles' plan to gut their roster before the 2015 season was bizarre in nature. Chip Kelly's controlling ways resulted in the losses of LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin. Not to mention DeSean Jackson was bounced out of town the season before.

    Kelly's new vision of the Eagles included signing running backs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, which cost the team a combined $27.5 million in guaranteed money, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport (h/t NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal).

    Both deals were curious, but now that the dust has settled, it's clear Murray's was worse. The 27-year-old back has ran the ball 174 times this season for 603 yards and four scores. Those totals equate to a 3.5 yards-per-carry average.

    Beyond that, Murray has butted heads with Kelly. And as ESPN's Adam Caplan noted, no one knows what the future holds for the ex-Dallas Cowboys tailback. 

    It sure doesn't look like Murray was a quality free-agent haul.

Chase Headley

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    The New York Yankees are still trying to find a new identity. In 2015, they signed Chase Headley to man third base hoping he would produce and fit that ideology.

    Headley received a four-year contract worth $52 million for his services, as ESPN.com reported. However, instead of picking up the slack and turning into a true Bronx Bomber, he struggled.

    Headley batted .259 from the dish with 11 home runs and 62 RBI. Not a good offensive showing for a dude who once slammed 31 home runs and 115 RBI in 2012 while playing for the San Diego Padres.

Antoine Vermette

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Antoine Vermette was a unique free-agent signing for the Arizona Coyotes considering the team dealt him before the trade deadline last season to the Chicago Blackhawks.

    He went on to win the Stanley Cup before hitting the open market. Once there, the Coyotes re-signed him to a two-year contract valued at $3.75 million, per ESPN.com. The money may not seem like a staggering sum compared to some of the other deals here, but by signing him you'd expect Vermette to live up to his pay.

    Rather than do that, he's had issues all season. The 24 games he's played in have resulted in three goals and six assists. Nine points for a player like Vermette is inexcusable.

    Unless he turns things around, his name will become a permanent fixture on this list.

Torrey Smith

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Torrey Smith has always been regarded as a wide receiver who could take the top off a defense. He isn't a superstar, but when paired with Joe Flacco in Baltimore, he helped that offense out tremendously.

    Smith hit the free-agent market last offseason and wound up inking a deal with the San Francisco 49ers. The logistics of the deal included $40 million over five years with $22 million of that guaranteed, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

    A tepid quarterback situation with Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert has helped contribute to a stunning downturn for the veteran pass-catcher. Smith has accumulated 24 receptions for 546 yards and three scores. He's only broken the 100-yard receiving mark in one game this season.

    A change at quarterback or heavier involvement in the offense may rectify this situation next year. But as of now, the Smith deal hasn't gone according to plan.

Pablo Sandoval

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    The Boston Red Sox achieved what many thought would be a major coup last offseason. Pablo Sandoval, formerly of the San Francisco Giants, joined forces with the Sox to improve the offense and give the team a productive player for a playoff run.

    Sandoval's numbers declined during his first year on the East Coast. His .245 average was a career low. On top of that, his minus-2.0 WAR was the worst total of his lengthy career, via FanGraphs.com.

    Perhaps his contract can be salvaged moving forward. That has to be the hope, considering the deal he got was a five-year commitment worth $95 million, per Spotrac.com.

Andre Johnson

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    Andre Johnson is an all-time great wide receiver. He served as the face of the Houston Texans for 12 seasons.

    When he left Houston last offseason—as DeAndre Hopkins was eased into the lead pass-catching role—Johnson found a new home in Indianapolis. Teaming up with Andrew Luck was a proposition that at least on paper seemed like a great fit.

    Johnson's on-field performance never followed suit. Luck regressed, got hurt and Johnson struggled to generate an impact. His current totals of 31 receptions for 386 yards and three TDs are lowly.

    Though not staggering, his three-year deal was still worth $21 million, according to Rapoport (h/t NFL.com's Chris Wesseling). It's a shame his production hasn't lived up to that contract.

Omer Asik

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    If Anthony Davis is DirecTV this season, then backup big man Omer Asik is cable.

    Asik found that re-up gang money with the New Orleans Pelicans this past offseason on a five-year contract valued at $58 million, per Scott Kushner of the Advocate. The numbers aren't horrible in terms of a center.

    Too bad Asik's play has been a bust and the Pelicans could have easily spent the cash elsewhere. Currently, he's averaging 2.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He's been terrible.

    This signing has been a cataclysmic failure thus far and it reflects poorly on the Pelicans' management.

Victor Martinez

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    Victor Martinez was fortunate enough to land a lucrative deal at age 36. His play in 2014 warranted that type of loot and the Detroit Tigers made him a rich man.

    The deal itself turned out to be worth $68 million over four years. Not a bad haul for the Tigers designated hitter. 

    There was just one major problem. Martinez's numbers broke apart, leaving Detroit with a guy who went from hitting .335 the season before to .245 in 2015. Besides that he played in 120 games, further turning his contract into a dumpster fire.

    Perhaps the tides will turn in '16 and Martinez will return to form. For now, the deal to keep him in Detroit doesn't look like an appropriate one.

Hanley Ramirez

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Boston's struggles in free agency went further than Pablo Sandoval. When the team lured Hanley Ramirez over from the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was hoping to get a resurgent player who was only 30 years of age.

    He was moved to left field and rewarded with a four-year deal worth $88 million, via Spotrac.com. The cash didn't follow suit when it came to production.

    Ramirez finished 2015 with a 19 home runs, 53 RBI and hit a brutal .249 from the plate. He couldn't scrape together a season worthy of $8 million, let alone $88 million.

Monta Ellis? (TBD)

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Out of everyone on this list, Indiana Pacers guard Monta Ellis could elevate his play and turn things around the fastest.

    Ellis is a scorer at heart. He's done it for countless seasons. In fact, his career average sits at 19.1 points per game.

    This past offseason, Ellis joined the Pacers on a four-year agreement worth $44 million, according to ESPN's Marc Stein and Chris Broussard. He was expected to bring that scoring vibe along with him. Rather than do that, he's had issues so far. Ellis' 12.3 points per game are the lowest he's averaged since his rookie year.

    Again, he could turn things around. Over his last three games, Ellis has bumped his average up to 17.6 points per game. At the end of the year, we'll see if this electric guard was worth all of those dollars the Pacers invested in him.

    All stats and information provided by Sports-Reference.com unless noted otherwise.


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