Spending big money early during the so-called NFL free agency legal tampering period oftentimes leads to poor choices. That certainly happened this year, as multiple players were given deals that they will ultimately never live up to.
So, which players might end up causing their new teams a fair amount of regret after the first day of the negotiating window in 2019?
Landon Collins, safety, Washington Redskins
Collins is a phenomenal in-the-box safety, so we’re not trying to bash him here. Yet the guy reportedly landed a contract that includes $31 million guaranteed at signing and averages 14 million per year. That’s the kind of money an elite cover safety should land. As good as Collins is at what he does, he’s hardly that. He is a glorified linebacker who makes his living at or near the line of scrimmage. Washington will be good against the run. Yet in today’s NFL, you need guys who cover deep.
Trent Brown, offensive tackle, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders vastly overpaid to land Brown, who wasn’t as good as some think he was last season with the Patriots. We dug into this a bit in some detail after Oakland reportedly made Brown the richest left tackle in NFL history. Following in the footsteps of Nate Solder, who also benefited from playing with Tom Brady, Brown isn’t an elite pass-protecting left tackle, yet he set the market because he was the best of a bad bunch this year. Derek Carr better have his head on a swivel going against the likes of Von Miller, Joey Bosa, and Melvin Ingram.
Hart didn’t land a mega-deal like Collins or Brown. Yet he did haul in a deal nobody thought was possible A former New York Giants castoff, Hart was an unmitigated disaster last season playing right tackle for the Bengals. He was one of only four offensive tackles to give up 10 sacks or more in 2018, and on top of that Hart was hit with 11 accepted penalties. Yet Cincinnati gave him a deal worth up to $21.15 million, including $7.4 million in 2019. There’s no way to put a positive spin on that.
One day later, and I’m personally still shaking my head at the deal Jacksonville agreed to with Foles. He’s getting over $50 million guaranteed on a contract that averages $22 million over four years. This, for a player who has spent most of his career as a backup, and who was clearly not as magical last year as he was when Philly won the Super Bowl. For a deeper dive into why Jacksonville’s deal with Foles is fool’s gold, read here. The bottom line is that the Jaguars aren’t a Super Bowl contender any more, and giving Foles a boatload of money (bidding against themselves in the process) isn’t going to help them become one.