The 2017 NFL offseason saw flurry of activity as several big name players moved to new franchises, which ten of those are most likely to disappoint?
No free agency signing comes without a great deal of risk, even those which were highly hyped during the most recent 2017 NFL offseason. A player may have thrived in a previous situation, with the right surroundings and then a change of scenery becomes a bad thing. A wideout may not gel with his new quarterback, like what happened to Mike Wallace when he joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2015.
After blossoming with the Steelers early in his career, Wallace made his way to Miami. After a couple semi-productive seasons with the Dolphins, he became an afterthought for the Vikings during his one year with them. He then quietly joined the Baltimore Ravens and had a 1,000-yard receiving season, proving he really just was a terrible fit in Minnesota.
Maybe a defensive linemen is a bad fit in a new scheme. This happened when the Washington Redskins signed former San Francisco 49ers star Dana Stubblefield. A Pro-Bowler in the Bay, Stubblefield recorded just seven sacks in three seasons for the Redskins.
Of course, there could also be the player who is just looking to get paid and then seems to quit. Again the Redskins come to mind as they dished out huge money to former Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. He proved to simply not care and the team was ridiculed mercilessly for the free-agent move.
There could be some similar sad stories of players who were signed during the 2017 NFL offseason, and here are the ten biggest candidates to disappoint in their new surroundings.
Sep 11, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys strong safety Barry Church (42) in game action against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. New York won 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
10. Barry Church, SS — Jacksonville Jaguars
No team was more active in the 2017 NFL free agency period than the Jacksonville Jaguars. While they got some talented players, the numbers aren’t in their favor for them to all work out. One such player who could very well disappoint is former Dallas Cowboys safety Barry Church.
Church has the reputation of a strong leader who is a sure tackler. However, he’s been the leader of a much maligned Dallas secondary for years. As their top defensive back the team became well-known for surrendering huge chunks of yards, missing opportunities for turnovers, coming up short in the biggest moments and whiffing on tackles.
The strong safety was not immune to any of this. He rarely created turnovers for Dallas – seven in five years — and dropped two easy ones in a late-season 10-7 loss against the New York Giants. He also missed his share of tackles, and struggles at times in coverage.
While in Big D, none of that was a huge issue because Church was a hard worker that overachieved as a former undrafted free agent. He now joins the Jaguars as a high-profile free agent pickup on a hefty salary. His production compared against his compensation will lead many in Jacksonville to consider the move less than impressive.
Nov 13, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Prince Amukamara (21) runs out of the tunnel before a football game against the Houston Texans at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
9. Prince Amukamara, CB — Chicgao Bears
We go from a Jacksonville Jaguars addition, to one of their departures. In 2016, the Jags signed former New York Giants defensive back Prince Amukamara to a one-year deal for him to prove he deserved a long-term contract. He didn’t do enough to impress them as he had 49 tackles, six pass deflections and zero interceptions on the season.
Although the Jaguars passed on giving Amukamara a new deal, the Chicago Bears decided to roll the dice on the former No. 19 pick out of Nebraska. Like his most recent employer though, the Bears weren’t sold enough on him to offer a multi-year deal. The defensive back was inked to a one-year deal, although the $7 million salary he received at least hints that they expect him to be a decent starter.
Whether or not he can do that is up in the air. Each of his previous teams not only decided against re-signing him, but they then handed over huge cash to outside free agents to replace him. The Giants reached out to former St. Louis Rams corner Janoris Jenkins before the 2016 season and this year the Jaguars decided they would rather pay former Houston Texans defensive back A.J. Bouye like a top corner.
None of this bodes well for his future in Chicago, but they could be about to sign someone other than him to a mega deal next season.
Nov 30, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) carries the ball against Denver Broncos outside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) in the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
8. Jamaal Charles, RB — Denver Broncos
This one is painful to even admit, but the days of Jamaal Charles being a dominant running back are way in the rear view mirror. It’s a sad reality that when a player at his position starts to struggle with injuries, things get bad fast. Turning 30 years old this past December won’t help the former Kansas City Chiefs star either.
For a stretch Charles was one of the more dominant backs in the game. He topped 1,000 yards in each season from 2012-2014 and was just as dangerous as a receiving threat out of the backfield. Then in 2015 injuries started creeping up. A torn ACL ended his 2015 season after just five games, and he never returned to form during his brief appearance in 2016. That season he managed to play as a reserve in just three games and had only 12 carries on the year before a meniscus injury sent him to the sidelines again.
Charles then spent a long time in free agency looking for a home. Eventually the Denver Broncos came calling and the two sides agreed upon a one-year deal. Fans shouldn’t get their hopes too high as eight games played and 83 carries over the past two years doesn’t bode well for the future.
This may feel like picking on the Washington Redskins now, but it really isn’t. They just have a terrible track record when it comes to signing free agents, especially when they go outside of their scheme fit. They did this recently when signing defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, who excelled as a three-technique tackle for divisional rival Dallas. Hatcher came over on a hefty contract and they moved him to the end spot in their 3-4 line and he underperformed.
Again they went after a lineman from their 4-3 foes in the NFC East and signed Terrell McClain after he had a good year in Dallas. The problem is history is not on their side, nor McClain’s.
The tackle out of South Florida was picked in the third round by the Carolina Panthers, but was released after ending the season on IR. He then spent time in New England and Houston before finding a home in Dallas the past three seasons.
During that span, he struggled with injuries and missed all but two games in 2015. He finally stayed healthy in 2016 and had a career high 40 tackles. The Redskins are now counting on him to not only stay healthy, but to play a position he wasn’t particularly great at while with the Texans early in his career, rather than what he did in 2016 when he played so well.
Dec 4, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (8) waits in the tunnel before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
6. Mike Glennon, QB — Chicago Bears
How can you believe in someone as a starter when the team that just signed him to a three-year $45 million deal turned right around and traded three picks to move up one spot to draft another quarterback? The Chicago Bears did exactly that when they gave former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon a free agent contract, then traded from pick No. 3 up to No. 2 in order to secure North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s services.
Maybe the hope is Trubisky can sit for three years and learn under Glennon, but it probably isn’t. The real truth is Glennon’s contract can basically be turned into a one-year deal with a minimal cap hit if they move on from him after this season, so he’s kind of a lame duck as it sits. The best bet for him is to put some good film out there for his next team to study, but his long-term future is surely not in Chicago.
This sets him up for a rough year. The team already lacks talent around him, and now he won’t have the same command he could have if it were evident that he was the man. At least one good thing about all this is that the fans who booed the Trubisky pick may be ready to see him play sooner than expected.
Dec 6, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) runs the ball past New York Giants defensive end Damontre Moore (98) and New York Giants corner back Prince Amukamara (20) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Giants 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
5. Brandon Marshall, WR — New York Giants
Veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall stayed in the same stadium this offseason despite switching teams. He went from the New York Jets to the New York Giants after asking for his release from the Jets following a dismal season for Gang Green.
Now with the Giants, there’s a lot of hype surrounding this acquisition. That hype makes sense as they already have one of the best young receivers in the game in Odell Beckham Jr. as well as a strong slot receiver in second-year pro Sterling Shepard. They also drafted tight end Evan Engram, who really is just an oversized wide receiver and will also perform a sort of slot receiver role.
On paper this quartet is extremely dangerous, especially in a pass-first offense with a quarterback like Eli Manning who is known to get rather hot at times throwing the ball. The problem is teams rarely ever see that “paper dominance” turn into real success. Something usually gives and it’s easy to assume the under-performer will be the 33-year old receiver who is coming off a down year, rather than the All-Pro in OBJ or either of the young up-and-comers.
Marshall was a great player at one point, but it’s hard to see him really making a huge impact on a team with so many weapons and only one ball to go around.
Dec 18, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Calais Campbell against the New Orleans Saints at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Saints defeated the Cardinals 48-41. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
4. Calais Campbell, DE — Jacksonville Jaguars
Back to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who now have two players on this list. It’s not that they made any really bad moves, it just so happens they overpaid for a couple of their new guys. Like with Church earlier, former Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell is a good player, but the problem is the salary. Jacksonville signed the 6-8, 300-pound veteran to a huge four-year, $60 million contract.
It’s a lot of money for an end that has never cracked double digits for sacks in a single season, and even more for a guy who is set to turn 31 years old in September. Jacksonville would have been much better served focusing on youth, rather than getting someone like Campbell who will keep younger players on the bench, rather than on the field improving.
What he can bring to the team is strength against the run and a strong presence on the line for others to learn from. What it will keep coming back to is that giant contract of his. $15 million per season is a lot of money for a young defensive lineman, and as Campbell gets older it will only look like more of an inflated salary.
Nov 22, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) sits on the bench during the fourth quarter of a 29-13 Seattle victory against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
3. Marshawn Lynch, RB — Oakland Raiders
One of the bigger offseason moves during the 2017 NFL offseason was the Oakland Raiders unexpected pursuit of former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. After his retirement following the 2015 season there were rumors on and off all season that he may come back last year. He didn’t, but the rumors started up again when the year was in the books. After plenty of talk, Lynch found himself part of his hometown team.
Many have expected the union of Lynch and his childhood team to have positive results, especially since their former starter Latavius Murray headed north to join the Minnesota Vikings. However, the brakes on this move being a success should be tapped just slightly.
There’s no denying Lynch was a beast during his heyday in Seattle. There’s also no denying his style of play resembled a battering ram trying to plow through a concrete wall.
Lynch was one of the toughest runners in the game, but as he aged, the hits started to leave their mark. His last season in the league Lynch was only able to play in seven games and averaged just 3.8 yards per attempt in those games. Taking a year off and getting a little older isn’t the best recipe for a running back to suddenly get better.
Oct 16, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (11) spikes the ball after scores a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee won 28-26. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
2. Terrelle Pryor, WR — Washington Redskins
One of the more surprising storylines last year revolved around the sudden emergence of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, who had over 1,000 yards receiving in his first full season as a wide receiver. Pryor entered the league in 2011 out of Ohio State, but had to join the league via the NFL Supplemental Draft once he was unable to go back to school for off-field issues.
The Oakland Raiders gave him a chance to play his original position, but the results were less than impressive. Pryor went 3-7 as a starter and completed just 56.3 percent of his passes for 1,953 yards. He had more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (7) and was eventually dealt to the Seattle Seahawks. He went from there to the Kansas City Chiefs before finally trying the Cincinnati Bengals, where he also failed to catch on.
After his latest attempt, Pryor switched positions to wide receiver and was able to get on with the Browns. With them starved for wide receivers he became their number one target and parlayed that into a one-year, $8 million deal with the Washington Redskins.
He now joins a team with better complementary receivers than he had in Cleveland, which means he won’t get the ball forced to him as often as he did in 2016. The results may not be what the team expects, as his receptions and yardage total is likely to drop in 2017.
After spending the past ten seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Adrian Peterson was in search of a new home this offseason. He needed quite a bit of time to find a landing spot, but eventually was able to secure a deal with the New Orleans Saints.
He heads to New Orleans with 2,418 career rushes for 11,747 yards and 97 touchdowns. He’s 16th all-time in the NFL in rushing, but Peterson’s best years are clearly behind him. He’s missed 28 games over the past three seasons. And when on the field in 2016, he really performed poorly. Peterson looked like a shell of himself while rushing for 72 yards on 37 carries in just three games.
His decline was reminiscent of the end of Houston Texans running back Arian Foster’s career. Foster started to struggle mightily with his health and in 2015 he played in just four games while averaging a measly 2.6 yards per carry. He was cut by Houston and after taking his time to find a new home he joined the Miami Dolphins and managed to play in just four games again, while averaging just 2.5 yards per rush. Eventually he retired due to injury.