Free agency: Bargains and busts

  • Updated: March 9, 2013 - 5:23 PM

Unlike the NBA, the NFL and its teams frown on their best players skipping from town to town while in the prime of their careers. So it’s worth understanding that the best players slated for this year’s free agency already have been taken off the market through franchise tags and multi-year deals in advance of Tuesday’s kickoff.

What’s left are a few gems and a whole lot of question marks, red flags and older name players well past their prime. Judging any deal obviously depends on the compensation involved. But as a rule of thumb, here is one person’s potential pitfalls to avoid and seven players to keep an eye on:

The rules in 2013

Over 28 in 2013? Move along, pal

The typical NFL player declines too rapidly and sometimes without warning. Signing older players can saddle a salary cap with too much “dead money” that’s still on the books while the player is out of the league. Sorry Wes Welker, Greg Jennings, Sebastian Vollmer, Osi Umenyiora, Dwight Freeney, Charles Woodson, Ronde Barber and Brian Urlacher, to name a few.

Running backs? No thanks

Unless Adrian Peterson hits the market, skip running backs with high mileage. There are too many good, young, cheap models available to go spending money on a used one. Sorry Ahmad Bradshaw, Reggie Bush, Felix Jones, Steven Jackson and slippery little LaRod Stephens-Howling.

Injuries? No way, no how

A doctor can clear a guy, but if the guy’s body is breaking down, it’s breaking down. Jake Long is 28 and might be the best left tackle of his generation. But are you willing to pay more than $10 million a year to a man who might be heading down the same path that Tony Boselli traveled? Sorry Jake, Brent Grimes, Danny Amendola, Fred Davis and Kenny Phillips.

Former first-rounders? Beware

Watch out for household names. If a former first-round draft pick is on this list in his 20s, he’s either a major injury risk, unreliable or he’s been a flop for the past four years. Take on a resurrection project only when it’s financially easy to bail when it fails. Sorry Sedrick Ellis, Glenn Dorsey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Seven to select

Keenan Lewis, CB, Steelers

Pittsburgh not only stands to lose the best receiver and overall player available (Mike Wallace), it’s also in danger of losing the best cornerback. He’s a big, confident corner on the rise. And he’s only 26.

  • related content

  • NFL free agency: Spending big often fails

    Sunday March 10, 2013

    Gambling on big-money free agents has been anything but a sure thing over the years, particularly when it comes to wide receivers .

  • Reggie Bush

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia - A. Harang 12:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Atlanta - A. Wood 12:07 PM
Toronto - R. Dickey
Chicago WSox - C. Sale 12:08 PM
Detroit - A. Sanchez
Cleveland - D. Salazar 1:10 PM
Minnesota - P. Hughes
Cincinnati - H. Bailey 1:15 PM
St. Louis - C. Martinez
San Diego - T. Ross 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Baltimore - C. Tillman 3:05 PM
Boston - C. Buchholz
Milwaukee - K. Lohse 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - J. Locke
Miami - M. Latos 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. deGrom
LA Angels - C. Wilson 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
NY Yankees - M. Tanaka 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Oakland - J. Hahn 6:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Arizona - R. De La Rosa 8:05 PM
San Francisco - C. Heston
Colorado - J. Lyles 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Texas - C. Lewis 8:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Washington 11:30 AM
Toronto
New Orleans 2:30 PM
Golden State
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Chicago
Dallas 8:30 PM
Houston
Minnesota 2:00 PM
St. Louis
Detroit 2:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
NY Rangers
Winnipeg 9:30 PM
Anaheim
Houston 6:00 PM
D.C.
Orlando City 6:30 PM
Columbus
Toronto FC 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Seattle 8:00 PM
Colorado
Vancouver FC 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake
Sporting Kansas City 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Where will Adrian Peterson be playing in 2015?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close