Every NFL team makes at least one stupid move every offseason, whether it’s signing a player who doesn’t pan out, getting rid of a guy who should’ve stayed on the roster, or drafting someone who doesn’t make a bit of sense. Live and learn, right? As the regular season rapidly approaches, I thought we’d take some time today to look at the top ten biggest mistakes of the 2015 NFL offseason.
1. The Carolina Panthers signed QB Cam Newton to a massive contract this offseason. Newton’s set to make $30 million this year, after leading his team to a 7-8-1 record in 2014. Sorry, but I just don’t see this kind of money for a guy who’s managed to win just one playoff game in his career. In fact, all I see are cap issues in the very near future…
2. Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly had all kinds of tricks up his sleeve during the 2015 offseason. From bringing in Tim Tebow to letting LeSean McCoy walk, his moves left everyone scratching their heads. The team’s biggest mistake, though, was the contract given to RB DeMarco Murray. Murray is incredible, undoubtedly, but he’s already 27-years old and injury prone. Five years and $40 million for a guy who’s had only one real breakout season? Excessive, Philly.
3. The Oakland Raiders made fewer questionable moves than usual under the tutelage of new head coach Jack Del Rio. However, the Rodger Saffold disaster was bad enough to compensate. The team signed the LT to a massive contract, rescinded the offer after he failed his physical, and were forced to pay well over market value for LT Donald Penn. In short, the Saffold Saga (as I’ve deemed it) prevented Oakland from signing a premiere tackle for QB Derek Carr.
4. In a bid to improve their dismal team, the Jacksonville Jaguars went on a bit of a spending spree this offseason. If they had signed players like, oh, CB Darrelle Revis, I would understand. They didn’t, of course. In fact, one of the team’s biggest contracts (four years, $24.5 million) went to CB Davon House, who was previously a back-up for the Green Bay Packers. That's why you just asked, "Davon who?" House has started 14 games in four years. This ought to go well.
5. What would a list of offseason mistakes be without the Cleveland Browns? In a bid to be completely honest, I don’t hate everything the team has done this year (and I think Danny Shelton was a heck of a draft pick), but they’ve still got a complete mess at QB. The Browns organization’s biggest failure this offseason was their inability, again, to sign a veteran QB who can actually play. Options were limited, but I still don’t see Johnny Football or Josh McCown cutting it, even with a solid defense to keep the other team’s score down.
6. The San Francisco 49ers arguably had the worst offseason in the league this year. The team couldn’t manage to hang onto anyone. They lost three key players to retirement and Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Chris Culliver, and Mike Iupati (just to name a few) to free agency. The team’s biggest mistake, though? Letting head coach Jim Harbaugh go. Harbaugh was one of the most successful head coaches in NFL history, so khaki pants and crazy antics aside, I still can’t wrap my head around that decision.
7. Although the New Orleans Saints got a decent deal when they traded TE Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks, I still believe letting him go was a mistake. The team has had a dismal few years and leaving QB Drew Brees without his go-to guy probably wasn’t the best call, especially when there’s nobody to take his place. Graham is a fairly irreplaceable player, particularly on a roster that bad.
8. Former Legion of Boom-er CB Byron Maxwell was picked-up by the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, as Chip Kelly continued his quest to completely change his roster. While Maxwell is absolutely talented, the Eagles signed him to a six-year, $63 million deal with $25 million guaranteed. Nobody is surprised that Maxwell got overpaid. Everyone should be surprised that he’s now guaranteed more than both Richard Sherman and Joe Haden. Think of your salary cap, Philly.
9. Although OL La’el Collins was eventually signed by the Dallas Cowboys, I think it was a huge mistake that nobody picked him up during the 2015 NFL Draft. As one of the top five offense linemen in this year’s class, Collins was a safe bet. The drama that surrounded him on draft day made everyone a bit gun shy, but teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans sure missed out on this one.
10. I hesitated to include the Super Bowl XLIX champion New England Patriots on this list, but I think this move was a pretty big mistake. CB Darrelle Revis stepped up to the plate in a big way when the team lost CB Aqib Talib to the Denver Broncos in 2014. Letting Revis walk after just one season was a questionable move, especially since he wound-up inter-division with the New York Jets.