Every NFL offseason, people get excited to read the rumors and see what players their favorite teams might pick up. Usually it just ends up in disappointment as the player you’ve always wanted to see wearing your team’s colors end up playing for your rival for more money. It’s a business, so that’s just the way it is.
Between free agency, trades and the draft, there are a lot of puzzling moves made every offseason. Veterans get truckloads of money backed up to their houses in hopes of enticing them to switch cities. Guys who think that they were happily playing out their contract received a phone call that they were leaving, and the best college players ended up being scooped up by teams with the worst rosters.
There were a lot of good offseason moves that happened this year (such as the Jets firing General Manager John Idzik). There was the New England Patriots signing Darrelle Revis to a one-year deal, which was an absolute steal, as Revis proved to be the missing piece for a Super Bowl in New England. Brandon Albert was having a heck of a season in Miami, improving their offense and Ryan Tannehill's game, before suffering a season-ending injury and the Fins struggling in his absence.
This offseason arguably had the greatest crop of free agents in decades, with household names from seasons past moving around, including Ndamukong Suh going to Miami, DeMarco Murray signing with the division rival Eagles after winning the rushing title and LeSean McCoy going to Buffalo. We also saw longtime one-team veterans like Andre Johnson and Frank Gore jump to Indianapolis, from Houston and San Francisco respectively.
There were also a lot of moves that left us scratching our heads and wondering how the front offices could be so stupid. It was hard to narrow down the bad moves to just a few, but here are the 10 that happened this offseason that NFL teams will be regretting for years to come.
10 Giants Spend Millions on Special Teamers
If you have a lot of room in the salary cap, and your only glaring need is on special teams, then you should feel free to throw some money toward that side of the ball. The Giants went 6-10 and finished in third place in the NFC East, so there were surely more glaring needs than that, right? Apparently the front office didn’t seem to think so, and signed three guys to multi-year deals for a lot of money that will likely only see the field on special teams. Jonathan Casillas (three years, $8 million), Dwayne Harris (five years, $17.5 million) and J.T. Thomas (three years, $12 million) received a total of $14.6 million guaranteed and are nowhere near starter level.
9 Chiefs Give Jeremy Maclin A Huge Contract
In the 2014 season, the Kansas City Chiefs had zero touchdown receptions by their wide receivers. Perhaps the reason wasn’t because they didn’t have talent at receiver, but that’s just the way that their gameplan happens to go. If you don’t anticipate that you’re going to be airing it out very much, then you don’t need to spend money on receivers. It’s great, because you can spend money in other places. That is, unless, you are the Chiefs and sign Jeremy Maclin to a five year deal worth $55 million and a total of $22.5 million guaranteed. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he was paid $10 million per touchdown throughout his contract.
8 Jaguars Spend Money in the Wrong Places
The Jaguars had a tremendous amount of cap room after the 2014 season, and they had to spend some of it to even get over the salary floor. Instead of making a bunch of low level signings in hopes to make ends meet until the next big free agent class, the Jaguars went all out on players that you’ve never heard of. Cowboys backup tackle Jermey Parnell got $13 million guaranteed, Dan Skuta got five years and $20.5 million and Davon House got four years and $25 million. Who? The only notable player the Jags got was Julius Thomas, but they overpaid him at $21 million guaranteed in a five year contract.
7 31 Teams Pass on La’el Collins
When the news came out that La’el Collins, the former offensive tackle from LSU, had an ex-girlfriend that was killed, teams started freaking out. The police said that he was never a suspect (even from the get-go), but no NFL team wanted to take the chance in the NFL Draft when he was projected to solidly be picked in the first round. When the draft was finally over, the Cowboys were the ones to land Collins when the police reiterated he was not a suspect, and got him for a sweetheart deal at three years and just $1.7 million. The steal of the draft wasn’t even drafted.
6 Colts Go Old
It’s always good to get some veteran leadership around your young quarterback, but the Colts might have overdone it a little bit this offseason. After saying goodbye to Trent Richardson (thankfully) and Reggie Wayne (presumably), the Colts filled their spots with Frank Gore and Andre Johnson. If they were able to get those two in their prime, the Colts would be the guaranteed favorites to win the Super Bowl. Instead, they got two aging stars who won’t be able to produce much and paid them three years at$12 million (Gore) and three years at $21 million (Johnson).
5 Vikings Trade for Mike Wallace
Mike Wallace was a hot commodity when he left Pittsburgh (only to be replaced by the lovable Antonio Brown) and landed a huge deal with the Miami Dolphins. Since then, he has been nothing but a problem on the field and in the locker room who was paid way too much. The Dolphins were ready to get rid of him for just about anything, and the Vikings were the ones foolish enough to trade for the locker room cancer. They didn’t have to give up much (just two late round draft picks), but got an out-of-his-prime receiver with financial and emotional baggage.
4 Packers Don’t Let Cobb Go
When Randall Cobb’s contract was coming to an end with the Packers, everyone assumed it would be the Raiders that step in and sign the receiver to a huge contract. Instead, Cobb took a bit of a hometown discount to stay with the Packers. It’s a touching story, but four years and $40 million (with a $13 million signing bonus) is a bit much for a second receiver. The Packers like having Cobb around, but they don’t quite need him since Aaron Rodgers can make just about any veteran minimum receiver look pretty darn good.
3 Titans Not Trading Back in the Draft
According to reports, the Titans were receiving some pretty big offers for their second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft from a few teams around the league. The Browns had two first round picks sitting there waiting to be offered, and you can only assume that Chip Kelly would have given a kidney to get his quarterback, Marcus Mariota, from Oregon. The Titans instead decided that no offer was good enough and took Mariota for themselves. With few weapons around him, Mariota is going to get off to a rough start, and there’s no telling how much stability he will have in his career.
2 49ers Booting Harbaugh
The San Francisco 49ers are easily having the worst offseason of any team in the league. Not only has half of their roster retired at a young age, but free agents have moved on and the worst was when they lost their coach. In four years with the 49ers, Jim Harbaugh coached the team to a 44-19-1 record with a Super Bowl appearance and three NFC Championship Game appearances. But since egos got in the way, the 49ers gave Harbaugh the boot and look like they might be headed to a top five pick in next year’s draft. Where did that Harbaugh guy end up, anyway? We haven’t heard any news about it.
1 Pretty Much Everything the Eagles Have Done
The 49ers might be having the worst offseason from a standpoint of bad luck and bad management ego issues, but the Eagles have had the most baffling offseason. They could either be making a beeline to the bottom of the NFC East in a couple of years, or they could be laughing at all of us while waving around the Lombardi Trophy. For now, most of their moves just look plain silly. For starters, they signed Tim Tebow to welcome the circus in. They also traded LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso (which might end up being a good deal), but then it gets weirder.
The trade for Sam Bradford, shipping away Nick Foles, makes almost no sense, and they gave massive contracts to players they don’t really need. Byron Maxwell got six years and $63 million (with $25.5 million guaranteed) while DeMarco Murray got $42 million over five years. The Murray signing makes sense, even if for a player that has had some injury issues and was overworked last year. But then they went and signed Ryan Mathews to a three year deal. Again, this could all work out, but right now it looks like they are mortgaging the future.