It’s that time of year again. The part of the NFL’s off-season where teams with loads of cap space can’t wait to overpay flawed players and make a push to claim the annual Redskins Award. You’re familiar with this award, right? It’s given every year to the team that wants to make headlines with a splashy move, sell false hope to it’s fan base and justify raising ticket prices.
You got it, the time has come for NFL GM’s to foolishly throw bags of money at players that are as likely to give you migraines looking at their contract two years from now as they are likely to help you hoist a Lombardi. Free agency is upon us, so being the cynical bastard that I am, why not review some of the worst free agent signings in NFL history?
Come on, it’ll be fun. We’ll remember this day and week during the season when we ask our football crew “Hey, do you remember when Minnesota or Miami gave Mike Wallace $13 million per year?” This is a time of year when teams drool over a player that another team didn’t deem important enough to lock up, and one that can cripple your cap if you’re not careful.
This isn’t a ranking list because let’s face it… It’s a massive pile of football feces. Yes, this is NFL excrement at it’s bumafied worst. If you don’t have something to vomit in, you might want to find a garbage can or something because this list is bound to make you nauseous.
Larry Brown CB Raiders– Brown was gifted two interceptions in Super Bowl XXX when Neil O’Donnnell (remember that name) did his best to ensure the Cowboys won their 3rd championship in four years. Leave it to Al Davis throw a 5-year $12.5 million deal at Brown only to see him prove how awful and overvalued he was in Dallas. Brown will always have the highlight of telling NFL Films during the ’93 NFC Championship Game that “I own Jerry Rice.” How’d that work out for you in ’94, Larry?
We can’t leave out another Raiders gem… Desmond Howard KR/WR Raiders– Two years, two Super Bowl MVP signings for Al Davis. Howard electrified the Packers offense and kick return game in ’96, but he was never a player that got open at the NFL level. Two forgettable years with the Raiders and he never justified the $6 million he stole.
Speaking of terrible free agent wide receiver signings… Andre Rison WR Browns– Rison was a beast in Atlanta in the early 90′s. You could pencil him in for 80 catches, 1,000+ yards receiving, a ton of bad dancing and horrific spending habits. But the Browns thought they were one player away and signed “Bad Moon” to a 5-year $17 million deal only to see him play like he finally realized he had to live in Cleveland. One season in Cleveland, 47 measly catches and three TD’s.
Javon Walker WR Raiders– Holy shit, I’m actually starting to feel bad for Raiders fans. Walker was a productive player for the Packers and Broncos, and was, of course, overpaid by the Raiders to the tune of a six-year $55 million contract. Walker was a shell of his former self and seemingly broke down before the ink was dry on his contract. He caught only 15 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown for the Raiders.
Deion Sanders & Bruce Smith Redskins– The 2000 NFL off-season saw Daniel Snyder’s Redskins claim the title of off-season stupidity and it hasn’t stopped since. Sanders was given $56 million over 7 years and lasted one year in Washington. Smith on the other hand signed for the sole purpose of setting the NFL’s sack record. Smith got $23.5 million over 5 with a $4.25 million signing bonus just to set the sack record in Washington. At least Deion gave back part of his $8 million signing bonus.
If only Snyder signed those guys in 1992…
Adam Archuleta S Redskins– $35 million over 7 years for a player that was never worth the hype. If anything, all Archuleta did was capitalize on the athletic white safety thing and the Skins couldn’t wait to scoop him up. Sweet call, especially when the Skins had Ryan Clark on their team at the time. I wish this was all a joke because I’m repulsed at all things Raiders and Redskins right now.
Neil O’Donnell QB Jets– It’s not a shit show list without an appearance from the Jets. O’Donnell signed a 5-year $25 million deal with the Jets in ’96 and proceeded to win 8 games in two years lead a 1-15 season (he was 0-6 as a starter) and prove his Super Bowl flop was no joke.
Lawrence Phillips RB 49ers– The man most responsible for the career ending concussion for Steve Young. Phillips was his typically embarrassing self with the Niners and piled up 144 yards rushing in 8 embarrassing games in the Bay. $5.6 million for a team in cap hell never made sense, and Phillips made sure the Niners remembered it.
Jeremiah Trotter LB Eagles– Two years after his Sanders and Smith disasters, Dan Snyder was at it again with Trotter. 7-years and $36 million for a guy that was old and couldn’t run anymore. But hey, at least the Redskins recaptured their off-season title.
You thought we were done with the Skins, didn’t you?
Jeff George QB Redskins– There are so many Skins on this list, I feel like I’ve put each guy on here twice. The ultimate enigma was given $18 million by Snyder to not win games and make sure everyone in Washington hated him too.
Albert Haynesworth DT Redskins– $100 million and $41 million guaranteed. Those are the insane numbers that this lazy ass-hat was given by Snyder and he proceeded to urinate all over the dreams of Redskins fans. Snyder would have been better served throwing that money off a boat. Haynesworth’s embarrassing lay down job vs the Eagles is the only highlight that should ever be shown by NFL Films when talking about him.
You won’t believe this, but there’s precedence in Washington for overpaying a defensive tackle. Dana Stubblefield took $36 million of Snyder’s money after a 15 sack season with the Niners in ’97 and motivated himself to record 7 sacks with the Skins from ’98-’00.
Ahman Green RB Texans– Why not pay a 30 year old running back that had six 1,000 yard seasons with a better team? Green rushed for 554 yards in two years and proved it’s hard to play running back in the NFL without legs.
David Boston WR Chargers– Boston signed a 7-year $47 million contract with the Chargers that included $12 million guaranteed. He lasted one year in San Diego, was traded to Miami, routinely got hurt and got busted for performance enhancing drugs. Cool sign.
Alvin Harper WR/Lazy Fuck Bucs– After torching the 49ers in back-to-back NFC Championship Games in ’92 & ’93, Harper was viewed as a big play receiver that was bound to make a name for himself once he fled Dallas. But what Tampa Bay realized, was Harper was the beneficiary of being the 3-time champs’ 4th option on offense. Harper stole $10.6 million in ’95 and put up 65 receptions, 922 yards and three touchdowns. Gaudy numbers, huh?
Ugh, I need a shower after compiling that list. This is the danger of NFL free agency. It’s sexy to sign a big name and think his skills will easily translate to your team, but there are too many examples of where the player just doesn’t fit a team’s system. That, and it’s impossible to ignore the lazy “I just got paid” and I’m rich, bitch” mentality of players that have never seen that much money before. It’ll happen again this year, and it’s likely to cost a GM his job down the road. But hey, at least the NFL Network is nice enough to hire some of the worst former GM’s in the league to tell us how other teams should be built.