We are over a quarter of the way through the 2017 NFL season! There have been plenty of storylines so far: Kareem Hunt emerging as the league leader in rushing, former Clemson quarterback, Deshaun Watson, tearing through defenses in Houston, New England losing their juggernaut status, and Cam Newton sharing his chauvinistic opinions. Oh yeah, did I mention the crazy anthem protests! Whichever way you look at it, the NFL has been exciting thus far.
At this point in the season, it’s also safe to judge each team’s offseason. Did they choose the right guy in the draft? Is the rookie head coach living up to expectations?But most related to our article, has each free agent signing performed to expectations? There was plenty of activity back in the free agency period. For example, many thought the Rams overspent on mediocre wide receivers, but you can’t argue that the offense has shown a major improvement. Meanwhile, the Patriots, who normally make the most savvy moves, have also made some signings that haven’t quite worked out the way they anticipated.
Today, based on the first half of the season, we will judge 15 NFL Free Agent signings from the offseason that teams are already regretting.
15. Russell Okung – Los Angeles Chargers
Our first regrettable free agent is an offensive linemen in Southern California. Russell Okung opted out of his contract with the Denver Broncos and became a restricted free agent at the end of the 2016-2017 season. He eventually signed with the Los Angeles Chargers for a four-year, $53 million contract. The problem is that Okung is 30 years old. In NFL years, he is an ancient artifact at the tackle position. For Los Angeles to go out and grab the eighth-year veteran out of Oklahoma State meant they were expecting a big season. Unfortunately, the Chargers are at the bottom of the AFC West and they look like they will be receiving a top ten pick in next year’s draft. Okung is a great tackle, but the Chargers could have used that big money to sure up other deficiencies.
14. Nick Perry – Green Bay Packers
Perry had a a huge year for the Green Bay Packers in 2016. The former USC linebacker racked up 11 sacks and 52 interceptions, and the Packers inked him to the tune of five-years, $60 million in the offseason. There isn’t much to regret here, besides the fact that the linebacker is extremely injury prone. He always seems to banged up and is currently playing with a giant club on his hand.
The Packers are locked in on Perry, when they have several other concerns on their defense. No one can stop the run and their secondary gives up big plays all the time. Maybe they should have used the money to bring in a big name free agent cornerback. In a few years, I think the decision to sign Perry long-term will be regrettable.
13. Danny Woodhead – Baltimore Ravens
Danny Woodhead seemed like a perfect fit for the Ravens. The former Charger was known for his speed out of the backfield and his big play-making ability when the quarterback had to check down. In the offseason, Baltimore signed Woodhead to a three-year, $8.8-million contract. But unfortunately, the scat back went down with a hamstring injury in Week 1 of the 2017 season. Originally, he was supposed to miss 4-6 weeks, but was put on IR and is not eligible to return until Week 8 (due to a new NFL rule). Also, hamstring injuries can be tricky, since Woodhead may lose some of his quick-cutting ability. We will see how this works out for the Ravens, but they must be regretting the free agent signing of Woodhead somewhat by now.
12. Terrance Williams – Dallas Cowboys
For some crazy reason, the Cowboys decided to extend Terrance Williams contract for four years, $17 million. What was Jerry Jones thinking! Seriously, the guy is not a second wide receiver. He has bricks for hands. Just off the top of my head, I can say he is responsible for at least two Cowboys losses in the last two years.
Week 1 of 2016, he doesn’t get out of bounds on the final drive of the game, resulting in a loss to the Giants due to poor clock management. In 2017, Week 5 against the Packers, he has a ball bounce off his chest into the defender’s arms, leading to a crucial pick 6 that changed the entire game. Williams is not cut out to be a featured receiver for Dallas!
11. Latavius Murray – Minnesota Vikings
Originally, the Murray signing looked great. The Vikings didn’t pick up their leader, Adrian Peterson, and decided it was time for a new running back regime. They signed the ex-Raider, Latavius Murray, to a three-year, $15 million deal. He was supposed to be the leader of the backfield, but Minnesota used their second-round pick to grab the Florida State running back, Dalvin Cook, leaving Murray to play a backup role.
Unfortunately, Cook went down with an injury in Week 4, and it’s now Murray’s job to take the majority of the carries for the Vikings. He will take the early down work while fellow running back, Jerick McKinnon, will most likely have third-down responsibilities. We will see how he pans out against a tough NFC North division, but right now, the signing of Murray is definitely regrettable.
10. Lawrence Timmons – Miami Dolphins
Timmons seems to be washed up on the Dolphin’s front seven. In the few games he has played this year, he only has had 12 tackles. No sacks, no interceptions, just 12 tackles. It’s hard to believe that Miami has any faith in the former first-round pick for the future, but they did sign him to the tune of two-years, $12-million in the offseason, with most of that being guaranteed.
In Week 2 of 2017, an odd situation occurred at the team’s hotel in Los Angeles; Timmons went missing! The team even filed a missing person’s report because he was nowhere to be found. Turns out he was about to get on a flight to see his daughter. Clearly, there is a lot on Timmons’ mind and the Dolphins are probably regretting there decision of signing him.
9. Markus Wheaton – Chicago Bears
Wheaton seemed to be poised as the next big receiver in Pittsburgh besides Antonio Brown. The 5’11’, All-Pac 12 receiver was drafted by the Steelers in the third-round of the 2013 draft out of Oregon State. He quickly found his role in the offense and in 2014 and 2015, he hauled in 97 receptions total and had nearly 1,400 yards. Unfortunately, in 2015 Martavis Bryant also solidified his role in the Steelers’ offense, and Wheaton was a full-time slot guy, not seeing as many targets. In 2016, Wheaton hurt his shoulder, only appearing in three games.
In the offseason, Wheaton signed a two-year, $11 million with the Chicago Bears, but has yet to produce for them. Even with a weak wide receiver core, hampered by injuries, Wheaton has had zero receptions! Crazy to think a near 50+ catch per year guy could go downhill so fast!
8. Nolan Carroll – Dallas Cowboys
Ah, the Cowboy’s secondary. The Swiss cheese of the NFC East. Despite have a high-powered offense led by Dak and Zeke, the Cowboys defense is very weak. Their pass rush has improved greatly, but their linebacking core and secondary cannot remain healthy enough to compete in a tough division. So, they brought in an “in-division” rival in former Eagle, Nolan Carroll to a three-year, $10 million contract in 2017.
The problem is that Carroll is never healthy, and when he is, he is too old and slow to cover anybody. In Week 2, he suffered a nasty concussion against the Denver Broncos, and through almost two months, barely has any solo tackles under his stat line. There are no picks! There are no passes defended! The guy is just out there, not making plays, and that’s why the Cowboy’s already regret signing Carroll.
7. Stephon Gilmore – New England Patriots
Of course, Gilmore had a huge year in 2016. He even made the Pro Bowl, but you cannot over look the fact that it was his contract year. Everyone plays better during their contract year! Gilmore jumped ship in Buffalo and joined Belichick in New England for a contract worth $65 million, over the course of five years.
The only issue is that Gilmore has stunk it up this season. Well, in fact, the entire New England Patriots secondary has stunk it up this year. They were last in the league in pass defense through four games, allowing opposing quarterbacks to rip through them like wet paper.
If you really take a look at the tape, you can see the talent is there, but Butler and Gilmore seem to be having a hard time communicating on bunch formations, letting guys run free. We will see if Belichick makes adjustments, but under that scowl, he’s probably regretting the decision to sign Gilmore already.
6. Jay Cutler – Miami Dolphins
Meh. That is the definition of Jay Cutler, meh. He is nothing special, just another QB that will win you some and lose you some. The Dolphins brought in “Smokin’ Jay” for a one-year contract in the offseason when starter Ryan Tannehill went down with a non–contact, season ending injury. Current coach Adam Gase was in Chicago with Cutler, so he felt that Cutler could run his offense smoothly, without having a large transition period.
Boy, does Cutler look bad in there though. Without stats (which are also horrible), Cutler does not pass the eye test. He is lackadaisical in the pocket, and his leadership characteristics are nonchalant in the worst kind of way. Cutler is pretty much what depression looks like if you had to imagine it in an NFL quarterback. Every Dolphins fan is regretting the Cutler signing today.
5. Mike Glennon – Chicago Bears
Glennon finally got another shot after backing up Jameis Winston for the past two years. The former NC State quarterback signed for a whopping three-year, $45-million contract in the offseason with the Chicago Bears. But, the Bears also traded one spot up in the draft to grab North Carolina Tarheel phenom, Mitchell Trubisky. The plan originally was to let Glennon play through the season, letting Trubisky adjust slowly to the NFL game, and learn the offense. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned and after a 1-3 start in the 2017 season, Glennon was benched in favor of the rookie.
Trubisky has now made his NFL debut and his future could be bright, or he could be just another mediocre Chicago quarterback.
4. Adrian Peterson – New Orleans Saints
I feel bad for Adrian Peterson. He definitely still has the talent, but he’s not a single-digit touch guy in the NFL, and that’s how the Saints were using him. Peterson needs volume to truly make an impact on the game, and in total, but he only touched the ball 29 times over four games, for the Saints. The Saints seemed to realize that which is why they recently traded him to Arizona.
With David Johnson out for the year in Arizona, Peterson should get plenty of opportunities to be the workhorse back that he has been his entire career. It’s crazy how quickly the Saints realized they made a terrible mistake. Peterson will now get a second chance to revive his career, while the Saints can now focus on running their offense.
3. Eddie Lacy – Seattle Seahawks
Oh, man! It’s the weight-watcher Eddie Lacy that comes in number three on our list of regrettable free agent signings. The former Alabama and Green Bay Packer running back signed with the Seattle Seahawks on a one-year, $5.5-million deal with $3-million guaranteed. There were also incentives for every successful weigh-in that Lacy had, since he has struggled with weight issues in the past. For every successful weigh-in, he would receive $55,000! Ridiculous!
So far this year, Lacy has done nothing though. He has no TDs and has barely gotten any carries. The rookie, Chris Carson, took the lead back role for Seattle but got hurt after just a quarter of a season. Lacy will get more volume, but definitely is a regrettable signing.
2. Kenny Britt – Cleveland Browns
Kenny Britt is doing absolutely horrible this year. After signing a four-year, $32.5 million contract in the offseason, Britt has barely produced.
Did I mention that Britt has caused all sorts of miscues for the Browns as well? Week 1, Britt drops a key pass in the endzone, resulting in a Browns loss. Week 2, Britt decided to not even run, and is lazy as hell. Week 4, another costly drop, that bounced off his hand into the defender. Fans are even trolling him on Twitter for how bad he is. The guy isn’t helping Cleveland out at all, and is jut another regrettable Cleveland Browns signing. Britt cashed in on one great year with the Rams but his career has seemingly gone downhill again.
1. Nick Folk – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
And last, but not least, Nick Folk is our most regrettable free agent signing so far! Let’s take a step back first and see how the Bucs got into this situation. In the 2016 draft, they took a kicker, Robert Aguayo, in the second-round, something almost unprecedented. They had high hopes for the kid, but he just did not pan out the way he was supposed to. In the offseason, Tampa Bay brought in veteran Nick Folk, who beat Aguayo out for the starting kicker position. Everything looks good now, right? Wrong! On a nationally televised Thursday night game against the Patriots in Week 5, Folk missed three field goals, resulting in a 19-14 loss.
Twitter blew up and even former Bucks quarterback Chris Simms said, “There’s officially a worse player who wore that No. 2 jersey than me.” Sorry Folk, but your probably going to be out of a job soon, and that wraps up our 15 NFL Free Agent signings from the offseason teams are already regretting.
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