Free agency, in many cases, is a losing game for NFL teams. While there are exceptions to the rule, it’s tough to get good value out of a player who is signed as a free agent. Some deals, though, are just worse than others. Today, we’re going to break down the top ten worst NFL free agency contracts in 2015 (so far).
1. QB Josh McCown (Cleveland Browns - 3 years, $14 million, $6.25 million guaranteed)
The Browns, as per usual, have made one of the most inexplicable choices of the offseason. The simple question “Why?” is probably the most apt one to ask at this point. Sadly, folks, I have no good answers for you. McCown, who did, to his credit, have vague success at the Chicago Bears, absolutely bombed at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. I simply cannot explain why the Browns have decided to pay him like he might make a difference for them on the field.
2. LB David Harris (New York Jets - 3 years, $21.5 million, $15 million guaranteed)
Harris, at 31-years-old, is an aging lineman. There’s no two ways about it. I understand the Jets wanting to keep him around, but not to the tune of $15 million guaranteed. That gives Harris the fourth-highest amount of guaranteed money of any ILB in the league. I just don’t see the logic behind paying someone on the downside of his career this much to stick around.
3. CB Byron Maxwell (Philadelphia Eagles - 6 years, $63 million, $25.5 million guaranteed)
It might seem crazy to put the Maxwell deal this high on today’s list, but hear me out. Maxwell is a good player, a former member of the Legion of Boom (which may have inflated his market value), but I just don’t think he’s worth the kind of money that Chip Kelly and Co. are giving him. Maxwell could prove me wrong and live-up to this deal, but he just isn’t one of the league’s top four or five corners and that’s, unfortunately, how he’s being paid. I don’t see this panning out value-wise in the long run.
4. WR/KR Dwayne Harris (New York Giants - 5 years, $17.5 million, $7.1 million guaranteed)
While Harris showed great promise as a kick-off return man for the Dallas Cowboys in 2013, his talent seemed to wane in 2014. Furthermore, Harris simply isn’t that good of a receiver. He’s also 27-years-old. Why the Giants wouldn’t look for a younger, more skilled special teams guy in the draft is beyond me. This contract is among the most befuddling of the offseason to this point.
5. OLB Dan Skuta (Jacksonville Jaguars - 5 years, $20.5 million, guaranteed amount unknown)
The powers-that-be in Jacksonville seem to be overpaying left and right this offseason. The Skuta deal, though, takes the cake for me. Skuta was a second-string player behind Aldon Smith for the San Francisco 49ers last year. While he is a decent pass rusher, the Jags had the second-best pass rush in the NFL in 2014, so Skuta seems like a completely unnecessary addition. Maybe they just felt like throwing some millions around. Twenty of them, to be exact.
6. TE Julius Thomas (Jacksonville Jaguars - 5 years, $46 million, $24 million guaranteed)
Like I said, the Jags are having a field day overspending right now. I’m not going to sit here and deny that Thomas is a good player, but I also won’t say that a good chunk of his success hasn’t come from playing with Peyton Manning. Jacksonville just gave Thomas more guaranteed money than the New England Patriots are giving to Rob Gronkowski. Ruminate on that for a minute.
7. DT Ndamukong Suh (Miami Dolphins - 6 years, $114 million, $60 million guaranteed)
I like Suh. I wanted Suh in Indy. I don’t think Suh (or anyone, save perhaps J.J. Watt) is worth this kind of money. It isn’t even that a have a problem with Suh becoming the highest paid defensive player in football; there’s a case for that. It’s that the ‘Fins have bigger fish to fry. Unless they upgrade some of the guys around Suh (and get a deal inked with their QB), I don’t see how they expect to bring home the Lombardi, especially when they’re in the same division as the New England Patriots.
8. RB Frank Gore (Indianapolis Colts - 3 years, $12 million, $7.5 million guaranteed)
While I’m not upset about Gore coming to my city to play for my team, the Colts guaranteeing him $7.5 million is on the absurd side. Indy needs a solid RB, no doubt about it, and Gore certainly is that. However, Gore’s receiving prowess has diminished recently and, at 32-years-old, he simply isn’t the player he was six or seven years ago. Worth this contract? I say not.
9. DE Pernell McPhee (Chicago Bears - 5 years, $39 million, $15.9 million guaranteed)
McPhee, who has shown flashes of greatness, is coming-off of his best season in the NFL, racking-up 7.5 sacks. On the flipside, McPhee has started just six games in his career. I’m not saying that McPhee will never live-up to this deal; we don’t have enough of a sample of his work to say, really. I am, however, concerned that Da Bears are just getting a little desperate and putting big money into contracts that may not be worthwhile as time marches on.
10. RB LeSean McCoy (Buffalo Bills - 5 years, $40.0 million, $26.5 million guaranteed)
McCoy wasn’t actually a free agent when he was traded away last week, which is why he’s last on today’s list. I decided it was worth including him because the deal the Bills gave him is just this side of crazy. McCoy is good and at 26-years-old, he has plenty of life left in him, but Marshawn Lynch he is not. I don’t understand how the Bills came to the conclusion that this massive contract was a good idea. Let’s blame Rex Ryan and call it a day.