Nine signings that GMs will regret the most
We keep hearing that teams (well, the owners) can't wait for 2010, the so-called uncapped season, because they will use the opportunity to drastically reduce player salaries. It is the financial black cloud hanging over any future collective bargaining negotiations. The owners view it as their big hammer, the biggest negotiating tool they can use to show the players how life and a lower payroll will be without a ballooning salary cap.
Of course, the union is snickering at these claims. They don't believe the owners, many of them who want to be competitive, will be able to really control themselves. They have never shown any signs in the past. In every free-agency period, they have thrown cash around like it is Monopoly money while the players laugh all the way to the nearest bank.
They did it again this year, judging by the following — this offseason's riskiest signings.
1. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks: Yes, Housh led the Bengals last season with 92 receptions, but only for a paltry 9.8 yards a catch and four touchdowns. Yes, he is a solid receiver, but Seattle paid him like he's a No. 1 receiver, and at 32 years old he'll make $7 million. Next season the price tag rises to $8 million plus.
In a bidding war, he was able to collect $14.5 million over two seasons. The Seahawks have this thing about paying decent receivers, thinking they are as good as Larry Fitzgerald or Steve Smith. They did the same, exact thing with Deion Branch a few years back.
2. C Jake Grove, Dolphins: This ex-Oakland center and former second-round pick is a blue-collar type player, the kind that Bill Parcells loves ... when he plays, that is.
Grove missed 14 of 32 games over the last two seasons with the Raiders, yet based on that dependency he was rewarded with $14.5 million in guaranteed money. I have said all along that offensive linemen have been rewarded the most during the halcyon days of free agency. One team's good player is paid by another team as some superstar.
3. CB Andre Goodman, Broncos: This cornerback was a very average player in his first few years in the league, but he started 16 games last season in Miami and had his best year with five interceptions, the most in his seven-year career. He has 12 overall. In seven seasons.