Every year the NFL gets a jolt of excitement when free agency opens up and players get an opportunity to cash in for their years of hard work. It can be a heartbreaking time for some fanbases as they see some of their favorite players move on to new teams. It's something that may become even more difficult if they sign with a team you hate, like Richard Sherman who decided to sign with the San Francisco 49ers, or go on to reach their full potential under a new system, like Golden Tate with the Detroit Lions (poor Seattle!).
But for every player that breaks your heart as they walk out the door, I'd hope you can find someone new on your team to help give you some new reasons to be pumped for September. While I would love to say that it is, free agency is not a guaranteed way to improve your team. And if your team makes the wrong moves, it may be the quickest way to guarantee your team isn't improving for at least another year or more depending on the contract that was handed out.
Let's just hope that some of the bigger moves that were made in this past offseason are ones that end up benefitting your team. If not, instead of having a new player to love, you may just have a new reason to shut the TV off with frustration! But don't get too frustrated, as there is always the next offseason to help turn your team's fortunes around.
30 Hit - Golden Tate: 2014 (To Lions, 5-Year, $31 Million)
I'm a huge Seattle Seahawks fan and it hurt to see Golden Tate leave town to go and play for the Detroit Lions. But I definitely can't blame the guy and there is no question that he hasn't been phenomenal for the Lions. Forming a great tandem with Marvin Jones, Matthew Stafford definitely can't complain about who he gets to throw the ball too. Tate's best year came in his first year with Detroit (1,331 yards) but he's also reached the 1,000+ mark in 3 of the 4 years.
29 Miss - Mike Glennon: 2017 (To Bears, 3-Year, $45 Million)
There weren't too many people who were too optimistic when Mike Glennon signed a 3-year, $45 million contract with the Bears back in 2017. But thankfully for Bears fans who ended up hating watching Glennon play, the team decided that they'd much rather take a shot at running the franchise with Mitchell Trubisky who was drafted in the 2017 draft with the 2nd pick. Glennon played 4 games, had 8 turnovers and was then benched before being released in the offseason.
28 Hit - Nick Foles: 2017 (To Eagles, 2 Year, $11 Million)
When Nick Foles was signed by the Eagles in the 2017 offseason many fans were confused. I'm sure many fans had loved him his first time around (within reason) but Foles had disappeared for a while playing for the Rams and Chiefs. But considering the eventual injury to Carson Wentz that at the time had many people thinking the year was over, and Foles' performance - including in the playoffs - may make this one of the most valuable free agent signings of all-time.
27 Miss - Pierre Garcon: 2017 (To 49ers, 5-Year, $47.5 Million)
There is nobody on the San Francisco 49ers that people are more excited to see play than Jimmy Garoppolo. And if Jimmy can also help turn a potential bust for them into a hit, their fanbase is going to love him even more. Garcon has shown he can play in the past with 2 1,000 yard seasons in his career. After 8 games with the 49ers, Garcon found himself on injured reserve with a neck injury without managing to find the end zone. There was still some production there though as Garcon had 500 yards.
26 Hit - Case Keenum: 2017 (To Vikings, 1-Year, $2 million)
Minnesota Vikings fans thought they had found their quarterback of the future with Teddy Bridgewater. But an injury led to Sam Bradford coming to town and after Bradford suffered an injury in week 2, Keenum stepped in to fill the job after signing a 1-year contract in the offseason. Keenum lit it up helping the Vikings to a 13-3 record. Keenum utilized this year to land a 2-year, $36 million contract with the Broncos. Though only time will tell if they regret giving Keenum - who is now 3o - that kind of money.
25 Miss - Jeremy Maclin: 2015 (To Chiefs, 5-Year, $55 Million)
Jeremy Maclin was having himself a fantastic day back in 2015 when he signed a 5-year, $55 million contract to play for the Kansas City Chiefs. But injuries in 2016 significantly hindered his production and in 2017 he was cut. Maclin played admirably for the Ravens the following year but it wasn't enough to keep his job. Or to get the interest of other teams for that matter as of right now Maclin is currently a free agent. Which means the days of 1,000+ yards (as he did in 2014 and 2015) could be behind him.
24 Hit - Calais Campbell: 2017 (To Jaguars, 4-Year, $60 Million)
The Jacksonville Jaguars had struggled as a football team for a very long time. But this past year the franchise got a huge glimmer of hope when they went from 3-13 the previous season to 10-6 and even made the playoffs. There were many major contributors but fans had to be ecstatic that one of the biggest, Calais Campbell, was also one of the team's biggest free agent signings. Campbell was always a stud for Arizona and had his best year with the Jags recording 14.5 sacks (a career high) and 60 tackles.
23 Miss - DeMarco Murray: 2015 (To Eagles, 5-Year, $42 million)
Philly fans were pleased when they were able to taunt Cowboys fans when they signed DeMarco Muray in the 2015 offseason to a 5-year, $42 million contract. After all, Murray had rushed for 1,845 yards the previous year. But Cowboys fans had the last laugh as Murray was a disaster in Philly that included character concerns and injury problems. He ended the year behind both Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles for yards rushed and was traded away to Tennessee in the offseason.
22 Hit - Casey Hayward: 2016, (To Chargers, 3-Year, $15.30 Million)
The Green Bay Packers have definitely been known to make some mistakes in the past. But nothing may haunt them quite as much as deciding to let Casey Hayward walk out of town. With the Chargers, Hayward has proven himself to be one of the very best defenders in the entire league, something that I'm sure Packers fans remember when their team is getting torched through the air. Especially because Hayward is not the only talented defender that the team has let leave town.
21 Miss - Brock Osweiler: 2016 (To Texans, 4-Year, $72 Million)
Houston Texans fans were dealt a significant blow when Deshaun Watson tore his ACL after playing in 7 games. Watson definitely has all the tools of being a potential franchise quarterback. Which is what they had hoped they had found with Brock Osweiler. But after failing to impress in his first year with the team, Osweiler was shipped out of town to the Browns. He eventually signed again with the Broncos and this past March was given a shot by the Miami Dolphins.
20 Hit - Ted Ginn Jr: 2017 (To Saints, 3-Year, $11 Million)
The New Orleans Saints know that there aren't many Quarterbacks in the history of the league that is as talented as Drew Brees. Which may make it a lot easier for them to take a shot on wide receivers in free agency. Especially when like with Ted Ginn Jr., his success is an extra kick in the teeth to Panthers fans! Ginn's 3-year, $11 million contract isn't going to cause too many headaches but his close to 800 yards in 10 games started this past year is definitely enough to cause headaches for defensive coordinators.
19 Miss - Martellus Bennett: 2017 (To Packers, 3-Year, $21 Million)
The Green Bay Packers took a shot on a big target for Aaron Rodgers when they signed Martellus Bennett. But Bennett had several issues, most prominently a shoulder injury that he allegedly told the Packers about but they denied. He was later waived and signed with his former team, the Patriots, before injuries officially ended his year. He has since announced his official retirement from the league but if his past antics are any indication this probably doesn't mean he is going to stay in the shadows.
18 Hit - Lamar Miller: 2016 (To Texans, 4-Year, $26 Million)
If the Houston Texans are going to manage to find success it's probably going to come through the arm of Deshaun Watson. But if Watson ever finds himself panicking, having a versatile running back like Lamar Miller is a godsend. Miller has excelled on the ground and through the air and could be the difference maker in Houston this year. Fans got accustomed to Arian Foster, but Miller still had over 1,000 yards (all purpose) last year and is definitely going to be looking to improve on those numbers.
17 Miss - Matt Flynn: 2012 (To Seahawks, 3-Year, $20.5 Million)
Seattle knew that they needed a Quarterback in 2012 and thought there was a chance they found their guy in Matt Flynn. After all, the guy backed up Aaron Rodgers and had some strong games! But Flynn's 3-year contract ended up becoming essentially irrelevant when the Seahawks later drafted Russell Wilson in the 3rd round. Wilson beat Flynn out for the job in training camp and went on to become one of the best Quarterbacks in the entire league. Flynn bounced around a few teams and ended up retiring in 2015.
16 Hit - Kelechi Osemele: 2016 (To Raiders, 5-Year, $60 Million)
The Oakland Raiders have one of the best offensive lines in football. And that's definitely due in part to their decision to sign Kelechi Osemele. Osemele had some standout moments with the Ravens, but both of his seasons with Oakland has seen him going to the Pro Bowl. And while Derek Carr has had some injury issues in the past, the fanbase should still feel confident that Osemele is protecting him. Let's just hope Carr is able to finish the season without being hobbled as he does have the potential to be one of the best in the league.
15 Miss - Darrelle Revis: 2015 (To Jets, 5-Year, $70 Million)
Many Jets fans were ecstatic that Darrelle Revis was coming back to town after signing a 5-year, $70 million contract in 2015. Especially if they didn't burn his jersey after he played for the Patriots. Revis' first year in town earned him the #24 spot in the NFL's top 100, but his 2nd was such a letdown that he was cut. He got given a 2-year contract with the Chiefs but was cut after one year. Proving that perhaps it's time for Revis to just relax on an island.
14 Hit - Kirk Cousins: 2018 (To Vikings, 3-Year, $84 Million)
Kirk Cousins is a fantastic quarterback who has done great things in Washington. And while his fully guaranteed contract with the Vikings may end up being a huge snakebite for the franchise, can you blame the team for taking a shot on him? If Cousins can stay healthy he will be a strong player for the Vikings to feel comfortable with and bring the best out of their strong core of wide receivers. With one of the best defenses, all the pieces may be there in Minnesota.
13 Miss - Brandon Marshall: 2017 (To Giants, 2-Year, $12 Million)
The New York Giants know that Odell Beckham Jr. is amazing. But so does the rest of the league. Which is why they were hoping Brandon Marshall could help him out. But Marshall's eventual one year stint in New York included ankle injuries and a year that ended with only 154 yards. Marshall was willing to take a cut to stay with the team, but they elected to give him the boot. This year it's Seattle that is giving him what may be his last shot.
12 Hit - Alshon Jeffery: 2017 (To Eagles, 1-Year, $14 Million)
I am sure there are many teams out there that were vying for the services of Alshon Jeffery who had decided he had enough of the Chicago Bears. and if not for Jeffery, there's a very real chance the Eagles don't make it to the Super Bowl - much less win it. Which means that while the $14 million price tag for Alshon's one year of service was high, nobody in Philly is going to be complaining. Fans will also be relieved that Jeffery signed a 4-year extension with the team in December.
11 Miss - Paul Richardson: 2018 (To Redskins, 5-Year, $40 Million)
As someone who has watched every Seahawks game for the last several years, I'm very familiar with the skillset that Paul Richardson brings to the table. And after disappointing fans with his first 3 years (though partially due to injury concerns), Richardson finally put it all together last year with 703 yards. But Washington is going to be looking weird enough without Cousins throwing the ball around and adding a potentially unreliable receiver in Richardson may not be the right trick.
10 Hit - Micah Hyde: 2017 (To Bills, 5-Year, $30.50 Million)
For as long as Tom Brady has been elite, the New England Patriots have been dominating the AFC East. But kudos to the Buffalo Bills for squeaking into the playoffs last year with a wildcard position. One of the big difference makers for the team was Micah Hyde. Packers fans should have known all about Hyde, but his pro bowl season means the rest of the league should too. With a few years left on the deal, Bills fans should feel confident that Hyde will be able to improve on his 2017 year.
9 Miss - Nnamdi Asomugha: 2011 (To Eagles, 5-Year, $60 Million)
The Philadelphia Eagles went 12-20 when Asomugha was on their roster but that should perhaps be a sign of bigger problems, but he still wasn't the hero the team had hoped for. And while Asomugha took home a 5-year, $60 million contract that he had earned with stellar play for the Raiders in 2011, by the time he was cut after the 2012 season, his value had dropped dramatically (as had his play). The 49ers paid him $1.35 million in 2013 but he only started in 1 game.
8 Hit - Marvin Jones - 2016 (To Lions, 5-Year, $40 Million)
Marvin Jones was always a great player for the Cincinnati Bengals. But there was no way that his talent on the field wasn't going to be at least a little overshadowed by A.J. Green. But Jones clearly was also learning a lot because when he signed with Detroit in 2016, he exploded to his best year of 930 yards, which he then improved upon the following year with 1,101 yards. His chemistry with Stafford should be better than ever and if the Lions start to roar, Jones may be the biggest reason why.
7 Miss - Ladarius Green: 2016 (To Steelers, 4 Year, $20 Million)
The Pittsburgh Steelers fanbase was spoiled for a significant period of time because they got to watch Heath Miller play tight end for them. But when Heath's career started wrapping up, they took a shot on Ladarius Green. But the concussion issues that plagued Green with the Chargers continued with the Steelers. Green signed what was a 4-year, $20 million contract in 2016 but he was cut in May 2017 after only playing in 6 games. He is currently looking for another team to take a shot on him.
6 Hit - Peyton Manning: 2012 (To Broncos, 5-Year, $96 Million)
There is no question as to what the biggest success story on our entire list is. The entire world waited while Peyton decided where he would play after leaving Indianapolis. And his career in Denver, which of course included his 2nd Super Bowl win, was nothing short of legendary. Outside of you know, that game against Seattle, but hey nobody is perfect and I am sure winning the game against the Panthers ended up making him feel a lot better about his decision to play for the Broncos.
5 Miss - Nate Burleson: 2010 (To Lions, 5-Year, $25 Million)
Nate Burleson's most iconic moment of his career happened away from the field when he suffered a fractured arm in a single-car accident as he attempted to save some pizza from falling. Though to be fair, pizza is pretty awesome. Burleson had a strong enough few seasons with Seattle with his peak coming in 2009 (812 yards) to earn him a nice contract with the Lions. But Burleson failed to find any significant chemistry in Detroit and his last two years (2012 and 2013) saw him have 240 and 461 yards.
4 Hit - Richard Sherman: 2018 (To 49ers, 3-Year, $39 Million)
It'd be fantastic for the Seattle Seahawks if Richard Sherman fails to make an impact on the San Francisco 49ers. But the reality is that I don't see that happening. Sherman has already been praised for the leadership he has brought to the team. And while Sherman may be hot under the collar - and coming off an injury - playing for the Seahawks rival is as good a way as any to motivate him. Even if his best games all year may tend to come against Seattle.
3 Miss - John Carlson: 2012 (To Vikings, 5-year, $25 Million)
The Vikings had to know that John Carlson was going to have some potential issues when he signed a 5-year, $25 million contract to play for them in 2012. He had missed the previous year with concussion issues and his eventual 2 years with the Vikings was far from noteworthy. Both years saw Carlson fail to start in all 16 games and his debut season saw only 6 games started for 43 yards. Which is production the team would have probably much rather seen out of a late round draft pick and not a big free agent signing!
2 Hit - A.J. Bouye: 2017 (To Jaguars, 5-Year, $67.5 Million)
A.J. Bouye is never going to be as loud as his teammate Jalen Ramsey. But that's okay because there aren't many players in the league that are. But Bouye was one of the biggest signings for the Jaguars in 2017 when they inked him to a 5-year, $67.5 million contract that also saw $26 million of it guaranteed. But Bouye surpassed expectations, making it to the Pro Bowl and showing great chemistry on the field with Ramsey. If you're wondering how the Jags turned their franchise around last year, you're looking at one of the biggest reasons.
1 Miss - LaRon Landry: 2013 (To Colts, 4-Year, $24 Million)
Every year the league learns about more players who have decided that staying within the confines of the rules aren't something they are interested in. LaRon Landry was a familiar face to the league as his issues with PEDs saw him receive 3 suspensions - the last of which led to a ban from the league. Prior to all of this through the Colts "won" the free agent bidding for him when Landry left the Jets to play for the Colts in 2013. Among the daggers in the 4-year, $24 million contract was the fact that $14 million was guaranteed.