One Offseason Move Every NFL Team Could Regret
We're now officially one week into NFL free agency, and more than 200 moves have already gone down.
Some will never really make a difference, others will pay off gloriously, and others will inevitably result in grief and sorrow.
Here's one move every front office might soon wish it could take back.
Arizona Cardinals: Signing Jordan Phillips
The Arizona Cardinals executed the ultimate coup of the 2020 offseason when they unloaded David Johnson on the Houston Texans in a package that netted All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, but they still could wind up with buyer's remorse regarding their most expensive free-agent acquisition.
The only $10-million-per-year contract handed out by the Cards went to Jordan Phillips, who signed a three-year, $30 million deal. The 2015 second-round pick is a solid player coming off a breakout season in which he recorded 9.5 sacks in a part-time role with the Buffalo Bills.
But Phillips recorded just 5.5 sacks in his first four seasons, and that 2019 total might have been misleading. He actually earned the lowest Pro Football Focus pass-rushing grade of his career last year.
Phillips addresses a need, but that's a lot of money for a player who isn't likely to be a difference-maker.
Atlanta Falcons: Signing Dante Fowler Jr.
The Atlanta Falcons could regret moving on from veterans Devonta Freeman, Austin Hooper, Desmond Trufant and Vic Beasley Jr. But those were necessary decisions for a team in a salary-cap crunch, and those players were either disappointing of late or too expensive to keep.
Atlanta's only semi-splurge was on Beasley's replacement, Dante Fowler Jr. And while Fowler is an upgrade over Beasley following an 11.5-sack season (the 25-year-old is also two years younger), he's a lot more expensive on a three-year, $45 million pact.
In fact, he's the 20th-highest-paid edge defender in the NFL. Is he really worth more than a superstar like Danielle Hunter?
That's the reality on the current free-agent market, and Atlanta needed pass-rushing help after finishing with the second-fewest sacks in 2019. But the team is paying for Fowler's upside. That's always a risk.
Baltimore Ravens: Signing Michael Brockers
The Baltimore Ravens got a good deal for veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell and have taken a conservative approach to free agency outside of that. But they did take a chance on Michael Brockers, who landed a three-year, $30 million contract with $21 million guaranteed ahead of his age-30 season.
This looks like a pretty good deal for a versatile and accomplished defensive lineman who hasn't missed a game since 2016, but it's possible that Brockers' best days are behind him after eight seasons with the Rams organization.
If that's the case, the Ravens might view this contract as a small albatross in 2021 and 2022. Not the end of the world, but it's the closest thing to a potential regret for a team that is in tremendous shape after a 14-win campaign.
Buffalo Bills: Letting Shaq Lawson Walk
The Buffalo Bills essentially traded in edge defender Shaq Lawson for Mario Addison. And while Addison has a more loaded resume than Lawson, there's a chance the team will regret that trade-off.
Addison signed for three years and $30.5 million with $15.3 million guaranteed, while Lawson signed a three-year, $30 million deal with $20.8 million guaranteed with the Miami Dolphins.
Addison had 39 sacks over the last four years in Carolina, but he'll turn 33 in September. And he's been in the league nine years. Lawson has yet to turn 26, he was a top-20 selection just four years ago, and although he hasn't been as sack-happy, he recorded 4.5 in the final six games of a semi-breakout 2019 season in Buffalo.
At the least, Addison is a lot lower on gas, and he comes at a similar price. If Lawson explodes in Miami, the Bills will wish they had kept him around.
Carolina Panthers: Swapping Cam Newton for Teddy Bridgewater
The Carolina Panthers decided to essentially swap franchise quarterbacks, with Teddy Bridgewater replacing Cam Newton.
And while it's easy to imagine Bridgewater, 27, remaining healthier and playing effective football for longer than the injury-plagued, older Newton, the team is taking a chance on a guy who has started just six games in four seasons since suffering a traumatic knee injury prior to the 2016 campaign.
Bridgewater won all five of his starts last season in place of an injured Drew Brees, but he wasn't exactly lighting up defenses. He's reliable and efficient, but he's not a mega-playmaker.
Newton, on the other hand, was the 2015 league MVP and has unique playmaking ability. If the 30-year-old can revive his career at his next stop, Carolina could look foolish for dumping him in favor of Bridgewater.
Chicago Bears: Trading for Nick Foles
Bringing in Nick Foles won't financially cripple the Chicago Bears, who will owe the veteran quarterback $15.6 million in 2020 and can release him free of charge in 2021. But the acquisition of Foles could crush the confidence of 2017 No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky without solving the Bears' quarterback conundrum.
Outside of an outlier Pro Bowl season in 2013 and a couple of hot late-season runs in 2017 and 2018, Foles has been a below-average quarterback. The 31-year-old has never experienced success outside of Philadelphia, and the Jacksonville Jaguars gave up on him after he lost all four of his starts in an injury-derailed and ineffective debut campaign in 2019.
This could be one of those "If you have two quarterbacks, you have none" situations for a Bears front office that might wind up wishing it had just brought in Bridgewater, Newton or Philip Rivers.
Cincinnati Bengals: Signing Trae Waynes
Possibly feeling the pressure to show presumed top pick Joe Burrow that they mean business about competing, the Cincinnati Bengals opted against sleeping through free agency this year. But their decision to make bust Trae Waynes the sixth-highest-paid cornerback in the NFL could haunt them someday soon.
Waynes signed a three-year, $42 million deal that will essentially lock him in with the Bengals for the next two seasons at a cost of $26 million. That is wild considering he's a zero-time Pro Bowler entering his age-28 season, and he lacked consistency throughout his five-year run with the Minnesota Vikings.
Although Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus concluded that Waynes "wasn't a terrible man-corner" in 2019, he figured he'd only "get a one-year prove-it deal this free agency."
"Among 64 cornerbacks to see at least 100 targets at outside corner since 2017, Waynes' 64 percent catch rate allowed was 57th, and his 1,724 yards allowed were 60th," Treash wrote in January.
So while the 2015 No. 11 overall pick could still take off, this was a massive overpay from Cincinnati.
Cleveland Browns: Letting Joe Schobert Walk
The Cleveland Browns have nailed this offseason. But in prioritizing support for young quarterback Baker Mayfield, starting linebacker Joe Schobert escaped on the open market.
Schobert was probably overpaid with a five-year, $53.8 million deal to join the Jacksonville Jaguars, but there's a chance he flourishes and the Browns wind up missing his strong tackling and leadership.
Arguably the heart and soul of the Cleveland defense, the 2017 Pro Bowler was coming off a four-pick, 133-tackle season. He's missed just three games since becoming a starter in 2017, and he's still only 26.
Cleveland had better hope big-money free-agent acquisitions Austin Hooper and Jack Conklin shine because they probably cost Schobert his job.
Dallas Cowboys: Placing the Exclusive Franchise Tag on Dak Prescott
Regardless of what the Dallas Cowboys did with quarterback Dak Prescott this month, it was going to be their top potential regret. Sign him to a long-term deal? Risky considering the financial commitment. Let him walk? Even riskier considering the element of the unknown and door No. 2.
The franchise tag might be a perfect happy medium, but the Cowboys could eventually regret going that route.
Prescott has already suggested he'll hold out, which is never good. And if bad blood emerges, it could make it even harder to strike a long-term deal. If he performs well again in 2020 and the salary cap continues to skyrocket as expected, Dallas could cost itself millions of dollars by not caving earlier.
And by using the exclusive tag in order to prevent Prescott from negotiating with other teams, the Cowboys cost themselves about $5 million more in 2020 cap space.
A non-exclusive tag could have enabled the Cowboys to get a better feel for Prescott's value. They still would have had the right to match any offer Prescott received, and if it were out of their range, they could have let Prescott go in exchange for two first-round picks. If Prescott's market wasn't as strong as expected, they would have gained leverage in long-term negotiations.
In that respect, there's little upside associated with an exclusive tag.
And now, they're left with a huge 2020 cap hit for Prescott. The third-highest in the league, in fact, at $30.1 million. And a team hasn't won the Super Bowl with a quarterback having a top-five cap hit since 2011.
The Cowboys were in a tough spot from the get-go, and there's a decent chance they'll lament their approach.
Denver Broncos: Signing Melvin Gordon III
Considering that the Denver Broncos already possess two quality young running backs in Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, it was odd to see them hand veteran Melvin Gordon III a two-year, $16 million with $13.5 million guaranteed.
Yes, the soon-to-be 27-year-old is a two-time Pro Bowler. But Gordon has averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry just once in his five-year career. He's gone over 1,000 yards just once, and he's played a full 16 games just once. In 2019, he fumbled four times while averaging just 3.8 yards per attempt.
And yet Gordon is now the sixth-highest-paid running back in the NFL, with a contract that gives Denver little wiggle room after this season.
That financial commitment will likely put pressure on offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to play Gordon often, even if he's not as effective as Lindsay and/or Freeman, which could broadly hurt the Broncos offense.
This was a reach for general manager John Elway.
Detroit Lions: Signing Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Days after they gave up on big-money 2017 free-agent addition Rick Wagner, the Detroit Lions essentially replaced the veteran right tackle with Halapoulivaati Vaitai. And while the versatile 26-year-old is an intriguing athlete with an undefined ceiling, the Lions lost offensive line continuity while handing a $9 million average annual salary to a dude who has started four games the last two seasons.
Vaitai's five-year, $45 million deal is far more lucrative than the two-year, $11 million pact Wagner signed in Green Bay. And on the other side of the coin, the Lions could have landed the more established Bryan Bulaga or Andrus Peat for just a few million bucks more.
Vaitai has struggled to be a consistently reliable pass protector for his entire career, and now the Lions are putting all of their eggs in his basket ahead of a critical season for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford.
That might be a mistake.
Green Bay Packers: Swapping Bryan Bulaga for Rick Wagner
Elsewhere in the NFC North, the Green Bay Packers also sacrificed offensive line continuity in front of their veteran quarterback by swapping out one established right tackle for another.
In this case, they saved money and got a little bit younger by letting Bryan Bulaga walk and signing Rick Wagner. The former is now making $10 million a year with the Los Angeles Chargers, while the latter signed a two-year deal worth only $11 million in Green Bay.
This was a cost-cutting measure that could backfire.
Houston Texans: Duh
We'd love to give you something new for the Houston Texans, so we'll at least throw this out there: They might regret signing worn-down receiver Randall Cobb to a three-year, $27 million contract. But the good news for Cobb is his odd, overpriced deal will fly under the radar while David Johnson eats up roster and salary-cap space in Houston and DeAndre Hopkins continues to dominate in Arizona.
The Texans' decision to trade Hopkins in his prime following three consecutive All-Pro seasons could go down as one of the worst trades in NFL history. The wide receiver is one of the best offensive players in the game, while Johnson is just about as expensive at a devalued position and hasn't been a considerable asset since 2016.
The Cards probably would have traded Johnson for free just to unload his bloated contract. In this case, they dumped an $11.2 million cap hit on the Texans, added Hopkins and a fourth-round pick, and they only had to give up a second-round pick this year and a fourth-rounder in 2021.
Unless Hopkins falls off a cliff or Houston uses that extra draft capital to land an immediate superstar replacement for him, the Texans will eventually realize that in-over-his-head general manager Bill O'Brien made a terrible mistake.
Indianapolis Colts: Trading Away the No. 13 Overall Pick
The Indianapolis Colts are rolling the dice on the notion that DeForest Buckner will become a superstar. Otherwise, it'll be hard to justify the decision to trade away the No. 13 overall selection in next month's draft.
It could happen. The draft is a crapshoot, whereas Buckner is at least a proven commodity. The 26-year-old defensive tackle was a Pro Bowler in 2018 and a second-team All-Pro in 2019. He makes the Indy defense better right now, and he could turn into a game-changer.
But so could whomever the Colts would have drafted 13th overall. And if whomever the 49ers select with that pick excels while Buckner hits a wall, Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard could wind up with egg on his face for this bold trade.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Trading Nick Foles
If the Jacksonville Jaguars were convinced that Nick Foles was a long-term solution last offseason, how did they become so disenchanted with him after just four starts?
Yeah, it is disappointing that he suffered a broken collarbone in his first game after signing a four-year, $88 million contract and that he struggled when he returned from the injury. It's even understandable that the Jags appear to be excited about 2019 sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew II, who took Foles' starting job in December.
But the reality is the Jaguars don't know if Minshew is the answer after he completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes and posted a sub-90 passer rating in the final month of his rookie season. So why wouldn't they have just kept Foles around for one more year?
Instead, they're paying the Super Bowl LII MVP $18.8 million to play for the Bears in 2020, and all they got back from Chicago is a compensatory fourth-round pick, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Kansas City Chiefs: Letting Kendall Fuller Walk
What we're essentially saying here is it's been a quiet offseason for the Kansas City Chiefs, who might be sleeping off their Super Bowl hangover. That's not a bad thing for a team that has to be considered a prime championship favorite this spring.
Still, there will likely be times in 2020 in which they'll miss cornerback Kendall Fuller, who jumped back to the Washington Redskins on the free-agent market.
Fuller didn't quite live up to expectations during his two seasons in Kansas City, but he brought versatility and talent to a secondary that wasn't loaded with stars. Tyrann Mathieu's presence made him somewhat expendable, especially considering his price tag of $10 million per year. But replacement Antonio Hamilton is not as accomplished, so this is a step backward.
Fuller, who just turned 25 last month, made a huge impact in this year's playoffs and was one of the team's best defensive players in its Super Bowl LIV victory over the San Francisco 49ers. There will be occasions in which Chiefs fans wish they still had him on the roster, even if his exit isn't surprising.
Las Vegas Raiders: Swapping Karl Joseph for Jeff Heath
The Las Vegas Raiders gave up on 2016 top-15 pick Karl Joseph, which is curious. The 26-year-old safety has disappointed, but he flashed just enough as a run-defender to avoid the bust label in his first four seasons in Oakland.
It would be one thing if the Raiders let Joseph walk because they weren't willing to pay a premium for his services, but the West Virginia product landed a mere one-year, $2.5 million deal in Cleveland. And instead, the Raiders signed the soon-to-be 29-year-old Jeff Heath to a two-year, $6 million contract.
Heath, who has just one interception and one forced fumble in his last 31 games, has a much lower ceiling than Joseph.
The Raiders might soon wonder if they would have been better off with the status quo beyond Lamarcus Joyner and Johnathan Abram at that position.
Los Angeles Chargers: Refraining from the Quarterback Market
This isn't a move, per se. But the Los Angeles Chargers have yet to jump in on the quarterback carousel, which could result in plenty of regret if whoever starts for them doesn't deliver in 2020.
The Bolts moved on from Philip Rivers, they reportedly lost out on Tom Brady (who at his age would have been a risky signing, too), and they didn't wind up with Teddy Bridgewater or Nick Foles. They still could end up with Jameis Winston or Cam Newton, but nothing's happened on those fronts, either.
Last week, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the team is not expected to sign or trade for a veteran quarterback and will roll with incumbent No. 2 Tyrod Taylor, which isn't surprising considering the way they've pumped Taylor's tires this offseason.
The 30-year-old is a solid backup, but he's started just three games the last two seasons and has a sub-90 career passer rating. He's probably not the long-term solution, and who knows what the Chargers will settle on in the draft.
That could leave them wondering if they should have kept Rivers or pursued somebody else, especially if Rivers or that somebody has success in 2020.
Los Angeles Rams: Re-Signing Andrew Whitworth
While the Los Angeles Rams watched key defensive players Dante Fowler Jr., Cory Littleton, Michael Brockers, Clay Matthews and Nickell Robey-Coleman escape this offseason, their cap-strapped front office spent just over $30 million on a three-year contract for 38-year-old left tackle Andrew Whitworth.
Whitworth was still a steady pass-blocker in 2020, but he was also one of the most penalized players in the NFL. He's lost a step, and you have to wonder if he's even got a full season left in him.
Maybe the Rams would have been better off using that money to keep Littleton or Fowler, who are rising instead of declining. Then, they could have turned to the draft for a new starter on the blind side.
Of course, it's also possible a deteriorating line would have really become a mess without Whitworth and that the Rams would have regretted that, too. That's the tough part about having a lack of money to spend.
Miami Dolphins: Signing Byron Jones
The Miami Dolphins entered the offseason with more money to spend than anybody else, but you still have to spend smart. And it was at least odd to see a team that had the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL spend a record amount on another corner.
Until Darius Slay signed a new deal with the Philadelphia Eagles late last week, the only two corners in the league making more than $15 million a year were Dolphins Xavien Howard and Byron Jones.
Considering all of the other holes in the Miami roster, the Jones signing just seems like overkill.
$82.5 million over five years with $54.4 million guaranteed for a one-time Pro Bowler with zero first- or second-team All-Pro nods and two career interceptions, none of which have come in the last two years?
Jones is a good cover man, but he's not a playmaker and he's not a superstar. It'll be very difficult for him to live up to his salary in Miami.
Minnesota Vikings: Trading Stefon Diggs
Important qualifier here: This was a good, and necessary, move. This was always going to be an arduous offseason for the cap-strapped, free-agent-plagued Minnesota Vikings, and they've done a phenomenal job of managing the roster in a way that should allow them to remain competitive in 2020.
The Stefon Diggs trade to Buffalo saved the Vikings $5.5 million in badly needed salary-cap space and netted them a first-round pick (as well as a fifth and sixth this year and a fourth next year, with a seventh heading to the Bills). They're a run-first team with a strong No. 1 receiver in Adam Thielen anyway, and this draft is loaded with wide receiver talent.
But a Minnesota team in win-now mode is still on the hook for $9 million for Diggs to play elsewhere in 2020, and one of the league's best route-runners should flourish in Buffalo.
If that happens and the Vikes can't immediately find a decent replacement for the departed star, this deal could make general manager Rick Spielman look foolish.
New England Patriots: Re-Signing Devin McCourty
By all indications, the New England Patriots are starting fresh. Can't fault them for moving on from a quarterback who will soon be 43, especially considering that a lack of salary-cap space would make it difficult to add support for Tom Brady this offseason. And it would have been uncharacteristic of the Pats to retain aging front-seven defenders Jamie Collins Sr., Kyle Van Noy and Danny Shelton.
But why, then, did they bring back Devin McCourty?
The longtime starting safety is coming off a five-interception season, but he'll be 33 in August. It's not like the Pats to pay for players who are likely declining, but they handed him a two-year, $23 million deal with $17 million guaranteed.
Another way to look at it: Even if McCourty is effective in 2020, the Patriots have been gutted so much that he's not likely to get them back to the Super Bowl. But he could do just enough to hurt their tank-job.
New Orleans Saints: Re-signing Drew Brees
Just as it was apparently time for the Patriots to move on from Brady, it's possible the New Orleans Saints will look back on this offseason and wonder if it was the right time to move on from their own quadragenarian quarterback.
Drew Brees is a little younger (41) and coming off a better season (2019 was the highest-rated campaign of his career), but by bringing back Brees, they let Teddy Bridgewater get away on the open market.
Maybe Brees can remain effective for several years to come, or maybe the versatile and intriguing Taysom Hill can become their next franchise quarterback. But if neither of those scenarios play out and Bridgewater excels in Carolina, the Saints will know they should have let go of a legend this offseason.
New York Giants: Signing James Bradberry
For all intents and purposes, the New York Giants handed a three-year, $74.3 million contract to new defenders James Bradberry and Blake Martinez, who are guaranteed a combined $51 million.
That's a questionable approach. The Giants essentially went quantity over quality but still paid quality money for two good but flawed 26-year-olds who have a combined zero Pro Bowl nods.
Will those additions come at the expense of top-of-the-market edge-defender Jadeveon Clowney, who is expected to land a deal worth more than $18 million a year? If so, that could be a tremendous mistake from Giants general manager Dave Gettleman.
The Bradberry contract is more lucrative—and thus more concerning—than the Martinez deal. He has the size and strength to become a star outside corner, but he hasn't been consistently productive enough to merit the fourth-most lucrative contract among NFL cornerbacks.
New York Jets: Signing George Fant
If ever there were a year to splurge on a potential game-changing offensive tackle, this is it. Via trade or the free-agent market, accomplished veterans like Andrew Whitworth, Trent Williams, Jason Peters, Bryan Bulaga, Anthony Castonzo and Cordy Glenn and rising younger players like Jack Conklin, Daryl Williams and Halapoulivaati Vaitai were all up for grabs this month.
And yet the New York Jets, who desperately needed to bolster support for young quarterback Sam Darnold, and who entered the new league year flush with salary-cap space, settled on...George Fant?
The 2016 undrafted free agent played just 818 snaps the last three years with the Seattle Seahawks and has just 24 career starts under his belt. He's never been consistent and is probably best suited as a backup swing tackle at most. He was one of PFF's lowest-graded offensive tackles last season, but the Jets now have him protecting Darnold's blind side for more than $9 million a year.
If this experiment doesn't pan out, Fant can be released at a cost of just $2 million next offseason. But that doesn't mean the Jets won't regret wasting their time and money this year.
Philadelphia Eagles: Signing Javon Hargrave
For the Philadelphia Eagles, arriving at Javon Hargrave involved a heated internal debate, because the birds made two moves this month that could easily result in regret.
In addition to signing Hargrave to a lucrative contract on the free-agent market, they traded for veteran cornerback Darius Slay before making him the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history. That's always risky when you're talking about a guy who will hit 30 in nine months. Still, Slay is a baller coming off three consecutive Pro Bowl seasons, and the Eagles desperately needed a shutdown corner.
Did they desperately need Hargrave? Considering they're already heavily invested in defensive linemen Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Malik Jackson, not really. And while he isn't overly expensive on a three-year, $39 million deal, he's also a lot less established after four part-time seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He's never been an All-Pro or a Pro Bowler, but he's making money in the same range as Akiem Hicks and D.J. Reader. It's a stretch that Eagles GM Howie Roseman could eventually wish he didn't make.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Tagging Bud Dupree
Bud Dupree is a superb complementary pass-rusher with the ability to become something special. And at times, he's already been special. So by no means am I suggesting the Pittsburgh Steelers will regret keeping him around in 2020.
However, they could look back and wish they had found a way to lock in Dupree on a long-term contract. Because with the 27-year-old counting $15.8 million against the cap right now, a team that had practically no cap room entering the offseason has been severely limited in its other dealings this month.
Pittsburgh did manage to sign tight end Eric Ebron, but it lost defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and hardly participated in free agency beyond that.
Furthermore, if Dupree does indeed become a star—and it's worth noting he was one of just four players with more than 10 sacks and more than three forced fumbles in 2019—he'll become a lot harder to sign (and likely a lot more expensive) in 2021 or 2022.
San Francisco 49ers: Trading DeForest Buckner
The San Francisco 49ers entered this offseason knowing that their stacked defensive line spurred their run to Super Bowl LIV. They also knew that they were already paying defensive end Dee Ford big bucks, that they'd owe more big bucks this offseason to end Arik Armstead and that they'd soon have to also pay defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and edge Nick Bosa.
They probably realized that with Ford locked in and Bosa a no-brainer re-sign, they'd have to eventually choose between Armstead and Buckner.
And when they traded the latter to the Colts in exchange for a first-round pick, they made their decision.
Now, even though they're very different players, Buckner and Armstead will likely be compared for years to come. An argument can be made that Buckner was more critical because there's less support inside and they already have Ford and Bosa on the edge, but you can't really have too many high-quality edge-defenders, and Armstead came cheaper to San Francisco (five years, $85 million) than Buckner did to Indy (four years, $84 million).
Plus, Armstead couldn't fetch the Niners a first-round pick because his contract expired this offseason.
With that in mind and no hindsight to work with, it looks like San Francisco made a terrific decision and executed somewhat of a coup. But if Buckner becomes a superstar in Indy, the 49ers don't do much with that extra first-round pick and Armstead's double-digit-sack breakout 2019 season proves to be an anomaly, San Francisco will regret it all.
Seattle Seahawks: Signing Brandon Shell
It's not as though new Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Brandon Shell's two-year, $11 million contract will become an albatross for the organization, and the same applies to deals Seattle handed to Chance Warmack, Cedric Ogbuehi and B.J. Finney.
But that's sort of the point. While a lot of other teams might regret overpaying for incoming players this month, the Seahawks might regret dumpster-diving for cheap, mediocre offensive linemen.
Why does it always feel as though the Seahawks are taking half-measures to address their improved-but-still-problematic line? The Duane Brown trade was an exception, but it felt the same way when they brought in an over-the-hill Mike Iupati last offseason and signed J.R. Sweezy and D.J. Fluker in 2018. There was the failed Luke Joeckel experiment the year before that, and the Oday Aboushi addition was also a predictable flop that season.
Iupati and Fluker are liabilities at guard, while 2016 first-round pick Germain Ifedi hasn't gotten the job done at right tackle. And Shell (who was a disaster with the Jets), Ogbuehi (an utter bust from the 2015 draft who has barely seen the field the last two years) and Finney (a backup-caliber interior offensive lineman from Pittsburgh) won't likely save the Seahawks in any of those spots.
This might have been the year to spend some money on any of the many well-accomplished guards and tackles available, but the Seahawks again settled for scrubs. If the line is bad again in 2020, they just might finally regret that approach.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Signing Tom Brady
Can't blame the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for coming to the realization that Jameis Winston wasn't going to get it done as their starting quarterback after the 2015 No. 1 overall pick threw 30—no, that's not a typo—interceptions in 2019. And while it's entirely possible that Winston's replacement, Tom Brady, will step in and sprinkle his six-time Super Bowl magic dust all over the Bucs, there's a decent chance Tampa Bay soon realizes it bought a plummeting stock.
At 43, Brady could be a great fit for an offense that features two stars who can be best utilized in the vertical passing game that head coach Bruce Arians has made a career of running. But we're still talking about a quarterback who in the final seven weeks of his age-42 season completed just 55.4 percent of his passes, averaged just 5.9 yards per attempt and posted a passer rating of 80.9.
Brady might finally be running on fumes, and yet the Bucs are now tied to him for the next two years at a cost of $50 million. That means no Teddy Bridgewater, no Cam Newton and probably no Justin Herbert, Jordan Love or Trevor Lawrence.
The Buccaneers are going all-in on Brady, which could leave them high and dry in a year or two—if not sooner.
Tennessee Titans: Letting Jack Conklin Walk
The Tennessee Titans were clearly focused this month on bringing back the centerpieces of their surprising 2019 playoff run, which is why quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry both remain under Tennessee's control. But the Titans dropped $29.5 million a year on Tannehill's new deal, while Henry's franchise tag is taking up another $10.3 million right now.
As a result, right tackle Jack Conklin got away.
Losing offensive line continuity could hurt both Tannehill and Henry as they try to prove their breakout 2019 campaigns weren't aberrations, and Conklin is the real deal.
PFF's top-ranked 20-something-year-old offensive lineman this offseason was that outlet's sixth-highest-graded right tackle last year despite coming off a major knee injury. He's already been an All-Pro, and he's still only 25 years old.
If he delivers in Cleveland while Tannehill and/or Henry come back to earth, the Titans might wish they had paid more attention to Conklin this offseason.
Washington Redskins: Signing Kendall Fuller
While the Chiefs could regret letting Kendall Fuller get away, the Washington Redskins could just as easily regret signing him.
That's just the reality when looking at a 25-year-old who hasn't fully emerged as a consistently strong NFL starter but has done enough to suggest he could become a perennial Pro Bowler. If the versatile cornerback flourishes in D.C., he'll easily be worth his new four-year, $40 million contract.
But if he can't take that next step, the Redskins will soon wonder why they made someone who has limited outside coverage experience the eighth-highest-paid corner in the league.
Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL for Bleacher Report since 2012. Follow him on Twitter. Or don't. It's entirely your choice.