The offseason is a time for every team to improve, a time for players to evaluate their talent, and see where their roster lacks talent. By doing this evaluation, teams are able to find what players match their needs. Teams look around to find the best talent that could fill a position in need, but there are many times where they make mistakes on signing players. And many times, it may not be a mistake, but simply a player that the team doesn’t need. It happens many times because teams would rather have more depth, than less depth. And then there’s those teams that stack up at one position, but forget to add talent at other positions.
There are teams that made big mistakes this offseason, and other teams who made minor mistakes. It happens every offseason, and it will continue to happen throughout the rest of NFL history. And there are going to be more mistakes that we don’t realize until the season continues. There’s also moves that are made that work, but cost too much money for it to make sense for the organization.
With so much talent available this offseason, it was easy to get tangled up between many different players. Teams never know when a player is about to sign elsewhere, so sometimes they don’t have a lot of time to think about a player, or the money they’re offering. Sometimes, teams offer the most they can that way a player falls in love with that team. So, let’s look at 32 mistakes that were made this offseason.
32 Arizona Cardinals - Sam Bradford
Signing Sam Bradford isn’t the worst decision, but paying a rental quarterback $20 million is.
Yes, you want to make sure Josh Rosen has a good mentor, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a ridiculous amount of money.
Other quarterbacks were available including Teddy Bridgewater, who would have been a better addition, and a cheaper one. Bradford has struggled with staying healthy throughout his career. While Bridgewater has had the same problem, the price to sign him was far cheaper.
31 Atlanta Falcons - Justin Bethel
With a lot of talent at the cornerback position on the market this offseason, Justin Bethel was an unneeded signing for the Falcons. Bethel has played alright throughout his career, but if they wanted a real improvement, there were other options. This isn’t really that bad of a signing, it’s just that the Atlanta Falcons didn’t make too many poor decisions this offseason. For the most part, the Falcons were fairly quiet this offseason, which made it tough for them to actually have a bad signing.
30 Baltimore Ravens: Robert Griffin III
With Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on the roster, Robert Griffin III has no role on this Ravens offense. RGIII will likely be the backup, but that’s only to preserve Jackson for the future. If there was no RGIII, Jackson would be the second-string quarterback, which wouldn’t really matter, considering RGIII may not even play if Flacco gets hurt. There’s an excessive amount of quarterbacks on this roster, and RGIII doesn’t even have any value to possibly use him as trade bait.
29 Buffalo Bills - Vontae Davis
If we are talking about Vontae Davis from about three years ago, this is a great signing. But, Davis is getting older and moving further and further away from his prime.
Last season, Davis went his first season without an interception in his whole career.
It wasn’t a terrible idea to sign a former star cornerback, but the team could have used a younger talent that they could have drafted. It's hard to see Davis finding his form again in Buffalo.
28 Carolina Panthers - LaDarius Gunter
There's not much to say about a player the Panthers shouldn’t have signed this offseason, as they did a pretty good job in addressing their needs at a reasonable price. One player that they could have went without signing, is LaDarius Hunter. Usually teams like to result to their rookies for special teams, but the Panthers decided to re-sign a player. The Panthers could have used that roster spot to look at a player that could have an impact on the defense, rather than just special teams.
27 Chicago Bears - Chase Daniel
You would be lying to yourself if you said Mitchell Trubisky looked good last season. The Bears spent a lot of money to stack up that offense, but what happens if Trubisky doesn’t utilize the weapons he has? It should have been a priority for the Bears to also add a legitimate backup quarterback.
Chase Daniel doesn’t have much experience, or a boatload of talent. This seems like it would have been a better team for Robert Griffin III to sign with.
26 Cincinnati Bengals - Matt Barkley
Instead of really saying the Bengals made a bad signing, we could say their worst decision was not improving this team.
Seeing how quiet the Bengals were this offseason, makes many fans believe that this team could fall to the bottom of the AFC North this season.
But for the sake of this list, Matt Barkley was not an improvement over A.J. McCarron. Barkley has turned the ball over too much during his career, and would not be helpful if for whatever reason Andy Dalton did go down this season.
25 Cleveland Browns - Drew Stanton
Drew Stanton is actually a pretty talented backup quarterback, but there was no need for him in Cleveland. With Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield battling for the starting position, it’s too crowded to add another quarterback. Plus, with Stanton on the roster, the Browns could be tempted to go on game days with three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. The Browns have other needs on this team, and they should use spots on the roster to fill those needs instead.
24 Dallas Cowboys - Deonte Thompson
Never thought anyone would actually say that the Cowboys receiver room is too crowded, but that is the truth. After Dez Bryant was released, other guys started making an impact, and the Cowboys signed other receivers.
As it stands now, the Cowboys could already have an overcrowded receiving corps. So far Deonte Thompson didn't impress enough to make the roster, despite some success in Buffalo last season. The Cowboys should've turned their attention to their secondary, the group that really needed to be upgraded.
23 Denver Broncos: Jordan Taylor (WR)
Hopefully Case Keenum won’t have much to worry about as far as the wide receiver position. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders will be back, and the Broncos drafted Courtland Sutton in the second round of the draft.
The Broncos decided to re-sign Jordan Taylor, who didn’t have much of an impact the past two seasons.
A player like Deonte Thompson actually would have fit the Broncos perfectly as a no. 4 receiver. Taylor doesn’t have the talent to make much of an impact.
22 Detroit Lions: LeGarrette Blount
Success on Super Bowl contending teams doesn’t always translate to middle of the pack teams. It makes sense why a team would be interested in LeGarrette Blount considering he played amazing with the Patriots in 2016, but this just isn’t the right fit. The Patriots have a smoothly run offense, that brings out the best in each player. Blount has to play in an offense that hasn’t had much success in the run game. Unless the Lions offense can really push forward up front, Blount probably won’t rush for more than 700 yards this season.
21 Green Bay Packers: Byron Bell
Depth is important on the offensive line, especially for teams that want to build one of the most successful offensive lines in the league. Only problem with signing Byron Bell, is that Bell struggled last season at offensive tackle. When Chaz Green struggled against Adrian Clayborn of the Falcons, the Cowboys put in Bell. Bell did a better job than Green, but it still wasn’t enough to help protect Dak Prescott. Hopefully the Packers don’t have to resort to using Bell this season.
20 Houston Texans - Aaron Colvin
Aaron Colvin played a huge role in the success of the Jaguars secondary. Colvin played against slot receivers, with A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey at each corner.
Colvin was great at wrapping up in the open field, but has yet to come down with his first career interception.
Despite never coming away with an interception, he signed a big contract with the Texans. Obviously he will help, but the Texans could have went after two corners for the price of this one.
19 Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Grant
Ryan Grant looked really good last season, and was a good pick up for Washington. But, the Indianapolis Colts would have really benefit from adding another star wide receiver for when Andrew Luck gets back. Even if they didn’t sign a star, a receiver with consistent production throughout their career would have been helpful. Signing Brandon Marshall or Michael Crabtree both would have been perfect for this team, especially if Luck actually can’t make a return to his full self.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars - Blake Bortles
Unlike most players on this list, Blake Bortles was not a free agent this season. But, the Jaguars decided to extend Bortles after he played well this past season.
Bortles looked better, but he was just smarter with the football. It wasn’t as if he was looking better than usual, he was mentally preparing better. The Jaguars could have had a chance at signing Kirk Cousins, but they decided to commit to a mediocre quarterback, eliminating the possibility of improving the position.
17 Kansas City Chiefs - Sammy Watkins
Sammy Watkins was definitely the most overpaid player this offseason.
Watkins has actually struggled the past two seasons, but managed to receive a big contract from the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason.
It would make sense if the Chiefs gave Watkins half the price of the current contract he has to play as a no. 2 receiver, but what he signed doesn’t make sense. Watkins will likely catch for at least 500 yards, but will not live up to his contract.
16 Los Angeles Chargers - Geno Smith
Most people wouldn’t understand why signing Geno Smith could be a bad thing, but look at Philip Rivers’ age. Rivers isn’t getting younger, and eventually the Chargers are going to have to find his replacement. This would have been a great location for Teddy Bridgewater to end up. Bridgewater could have learned behind a great quarterback, and from there could have developed. The chances of Smith actually ever being the starter are slim to none, as he simply is there to hold a clipboard behind Rivers.
15 Los Angeles Rams: Ndamukong Suh
A majority of the teams in the NFL would love to have Ndamukong Suh, and sure enough, so do the Rams. But, maybe it wasn’t the best decision to sign Suh. Obviously signing Suh makes this defensive line one of the most dominant in the league, but it also is part of the reason why Aaron Donald has been holding out. The $14 million that the Rams are paying Suh, could have been used to extend Donald. Sometimes, you have to concentrate on your core players, rather than searching for the big splash.
14 Miami Dolphins - Brock Osweiler
There may be too much confidence in Ryan Tannehill, who has gone nearly two years without playing football. Considering Tannehill hasn’t been all that great even when he’s healthy, the Dolphins should have considered investing in a true backup quarterback. Brock Osweiler is not that guy.
If you look at his track record, it’s pretty embarrassing.
Osweiler turns the ball over too much. If Tannehill cannot perform up to the Dolphins' expectations, things won’t get better if they turn the ball over to Osweiler.
13 Minnesota Vikings - Marcus Sherels
All the Vikings really did was improve their team for the most part, but they could have done that without signing Marcus Sherels. The Vikings secondary is pretty much set, so Sherels would really only have an impact on special teams, something that could’ve went towards one of the rookies.
This was just an unnecessary signing, that wouldn’t have much of an impact if it didn’t happen. But, it’s also not a budget killer, considering Sherels was fairly cheap to sign.
12 New England Patriots - Paul Turner
Yes, the New England Patriots needed to improve their wide receiver core. But, signing random receivers won’t do the trick. Paul Turner barely had any impact last season, and he likely won’t find a spot on the 53-man roster. With all the injuries the Patriots have suffered, you would think that the Patriots would have pursued Dez Bryant more than they did, considering they could have really used a talent like him on the team. Instead, they decided to go after Eric Decker, who retired during training camp, and other less talented receivers.
11 New Orleans Saints - Tom Savage
Another team that has an aging quarterback, and should consider finding a quarterback to be mentored by their veteran.
Drew Brees most likely has two more years left in his career, considering that's the term he signed for this offseason. After that, the future is unknown.
It would be ideal to find a quarterback that Brees could mentor, that way once Brees retires, the Saints can continue right from where he left off. Truth be told, Tom Savage most definitely will not be that quarterback.
10 New York Giants: Jonathan Stewart
With Saquon Barkley as the clear starter for the Giants, there was no need to sign Jonathan Stewart. Obviously, Stewart is a talented running back, but there were other cheaper running backs that would be able to play the backup role better than Stewart. Stewart has been the starting running back for the Panthers throughout his career, so it’s different for him to have to play behind another running back.
It also would have been ideal to find a running back with a different running style, not that Barkley and Stewart are identical backs, but a pass catching back would have helped.
9 New York Jets: Teddy Bridgewater
Why sign a quarterback just to trade him? Teddy Bridgewater looked great all preseason, but despite that, the Jets elected to trade Bridgewater to the Saints, as Sam Darnold impressed them enough to win the starting job in Week 1. Now, Bridgewater will spend a year as a backup behind Drew Brees and will likely not get a chance to start this season. Bridgewater is way too talented to be a third string quarterback, especially with other teams that may need a quarterback this season.
8 Oakland Raiders: Jordy Nelson
Part of the changes that Jon Gruden has instilled in the Raiders culture is getting rid of players who he deemed problematic in the locker room. From that standpoint, Jordy Nelson is sure to come in and provide a positive influence over some of the Raiders' younger players. However, the fact that the Packers felt Nelson wasn't worth keeping despite his chemistry with Aaron Rodgers should raise some red flags for the Raiders. Is Nelson going to be able to provide what Michael Crabtree could've provided if the Raiders had kept him?
7 Philadelphia Eagles - Haloti Ngata
The name Haloti Ngata looks appealing on paper, but was he worth signing? Ngata signed a one-year deal with the Eagles, helping add depth to their already stacked, defensive line. If Ngata was a few years younger, this move is scary. But considering Ngata is 34 years old, he’s way past his prime. The Eagles probably look to use him as a depth chart player, but another defensive tackle like Terrell McClain would’ve added more value to this team. It seems like this was more for the name than anything.
6 Pittsburgh Steelers - Morgan Burnett
Would you want to sign a mediocre player, if there were clearly better players out there? No way. This offseason, there are many safeties who are still free agents, or got signed later in the offseason, because the position isn't valued as much. The Steelers decided to save a few extra bucks to sign Morgan Burnett, when there were better options including Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, and Tre Boston. Not sure what went into the decision making for this signing, but it was a poor decision.
5 San Francisco 49ers - Jerick McKinnon
When Jerick McKinnon became one of the highest paid running backs this offseason, many fans and analysts were confused. McKinnon was a third-string running back last season, and now he’s the clear starter for a young team on the rise.
McKinnon shines in the passing game, but isn’t necessarily a three down back.
For the money the 49ers paid, they could have found a running back that could do it all. Instead, they might give their hopes up seeing that McKinnon can’t do everything they may want him to do.
4 Seattle Seahawks: Mike Davis
Depth is important for a NFL team, but the Seahawks had plenty of other gaps on their team. After over 10 of their star players left or were released this offseason, the Seahawks look like they’re in trouble moving forward. Signing Mike Davis adds depth to the running back position, but it’s not a player who can carry the run game if Rashaad Penny doesn’t live up to expectations, or gets hurt. Plus, this team really needed a “wow” addition this offseason, which they weren’t able to find in free agency.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Ryan Fitzpatrick
When the Buccaneers re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, no one really thought much about anything. But later in the offseason, the team found out that Jameis Winston would be suspended for the first three games of the season. Fitzpatrick played well the a few years ago with the Jets, but hasn't been serviceable ever since. Unless the Buccaneers are tanking the season already, they should have probably looked for another quarterback that could help them compete while Winston is during his suspension.
2 Tennessee Titans: Dion Lewis
To this day, it still doesn’t make sense why the Titans released DeMarco Murray, and signed Dion Lewis.
Yes, Lewis is better catching out of the back field, but at one point the Titans had the best running back group in the NFL.
Now, there are questions surrounding if Derrick Henry can inherit the starting role, and if Lewis can duplicate the success he had in New England, in Tennessee. It would have been safer to keep the team the way they were.
1 Washington Redskins: Paul Richardson
Paul Richardson definitely played well last season, but he excelled as a deep ball threat for Russell Wilson. Now, he moves to a team where the quarterback is a lot smarter with the football, and not as accurate down the field. The Redskins could have gone after other receivers including Dez Bryant, Danny Amendola or Michael Crabtree, who would have been cheaper, but probably benefit this offense better. The move to sign Richardson seems like it has some risk involved in it.