Top Ten NFL Free Agents Who Are Likely to Be Overpaid in 2014Which NFL Free Agents Will Earn More Than They're Worth Next Season?
Watch For These NFL Free Agents to Be Overpaid Starting in 2014.
With the NFL’s free agency period officially beginning at 4:01 tomorrow afternoon, fans around the country are sure to be glued to their phones and televisions all day long. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone if you call in sick. This year, as always, free agency is a gamble (fortunately, I’m a betting woman). In most cases, there are valid reasons, be it character issues, performance problems, or health concerns, that lead teams to let players enter the free agent market. However, it is rare that another club isn’t willing to risk more than it probably should to add a certain name to its roster. Today, we look at the top free agents who are likely to be overpaid this year.
1. Eric Decker (WR) - Decker doesn’t top this list because he’s not talented; he’s a solid No. 2. Because he played with Peyton Manning, though, I think the odds are good that someone will give Decker the No. 1 money he’s looking for. Decker just isn’t worth it, especially without the team he had around him at Denver inflating his numbers. Are you listening, Ryan Grigson?
2. Branden Albert (OT) - Albert served the Chiefs well, but he’s a serviceable starter, not the single best left tackle in the league; I’m giving that distinction to Cleveland’s Joe Thomas. Albert and his camp are clearly looking for more money than Andy Reid and Co. are willing to part with. There are a ton of teams looking for someone solid at this position, though, so it seems next to inevitable that multiple clubs will go after Albert and he’ll eventually wind-up getting his massive contract.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew (RB) - The problem here is the Jaguars. On the open market, Jones-Drew is likely to be viewed as a great player who stayed in a bad system for too many years. However, Jones-Drew’s numbers dropped significantly after his 2012 foot injury and he’ll be 30 in a year (that’s getting into old folks home territory for a RB). Signing Jones-Drew to anything more than a one-year deal is a gamble I wouldn’t be willing to take.
4. Michael Johnson (DE) - Johnson, who racked-up 11.5 sacks in 2012 compared to just 3.5 in 2013, has clearly had a few consistency issues. That said, Johnson is a talented pass rusher who is likely to be courted by multiple teams. If a bidding war ensues, Johnson is almost sure to be paid more than he’s actually worth.
5. Michael Vick (QB) - This is a tough one. It’s no secret that Vick is gunning for a starting job somewhere and there are a LOT of teams with QB needs this off-season. At the end of the day, though, paying Vick a starter’s salary when he might simply end-up serving as a mentor to a younger player isn’t a smart move for any club.
6. Julian Edelman (WR) - Edelman had a breakout season in 2013, which may have overexcited some teams who are currently suffering from wideout woes. However, it is important to remember that, without Wes Welker on the field for the Pats, Tom Brady had to put the ball in somebody’s hands. Edelman served his purpose in New England’s system this year, but I don’t see a repeat performance in 2014.
7. Brandon Pettigrew (TE) - During the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Pettigrew had 154 receptions, which resulted in 1,499 yards and 9 TDs. During the past two years, though, Pettigrew has fumbled as many times as he’s made it into the end zone, which is a decided issue. Nonetheless, look for Pettigrew’s potential and size to net him the kind of large contract he’s looking for, regardless of his recent downturn.
8. Donte Whitner (S) - Whitner is lucky that he’s been on the 49ers roster. Playing a part in two consecutive deep playoff runs has only increased his value. Plus, his inconsistencies might be more noticeable otherwise. Clearly Whitner isn’t a bad player (his 11th-hour interception during the 2013 NFC Championship was remarkably significant, for example). Since teams have to wonder which Whitner will show-up from week to week, though, paying him top money is a definite risk.
9. Shaun Phillips (DE/OLB) - Phillips looked good at Denver in 2013, putting 10.0 sacks in the books. This should be enough to entice some teams around the league. Phillips, will, however, celebrate his 33rd birthday during this off-season, so a lengthy, expensive contract likely isn’t the best option. This doesn’t mean a desperate team won’t give him one, though.
10. Anquan Boldin (WR) - Boldin is on this list solely because of his age. At 34 years old, there’s no guarantee that Boldin can continue to put-up the awesome numbers he has for most of his illustrious career. While signing Boldin to a short contract might briefly bolster a struggling team’s receiving corps, I don’t think his value will hold for the full duration of a long-term deal.