It’s been nearly 30 years since true free agency became a reality in the NFL. There have been plenty of hits but here’s a look at each team’s biggest miss.
The current free-agent system in the National Football League began in 1993. One year later, the salary cap was in place. And now the NFL offseason, in some ways, has become a game of its own.
The following is a look at each team’s worst veteran addition. Some got big money and simply different perform. Others were cut loose by a club and the second (or third) chance just didn’t pay off. Injuries are a factor here as well as a few franchises – unfortunately – just didn’t or haven’t gotten much on their investment.
Of course, it’s all subjective. But it’s once again an opportunity to head down memory lane. But in these instances, there was a little veering off the highway.
NOTE: Various contract numbers via Spotrac.
NFL: Worst free agent signings for every team
Arizona Cardinals: CB Robert Alford (2019)
Yes, he’s currently on the roster after being released and re-signed earlier this year (via Jess Root of CardsWire.com). But the team has yet to see the six-year NFL veteran on the field. Robert Alford picked off 10 passes with the Atlanta and also took a Tom Brady interception 82 yards for a score in Super Bowl LI. But he has been shelved for two straight years with injuries. Kliff Kingsbury is surely hoping his third year with the club proves to be the charm.
Atlanta Falcons: CB Dunta Robinson (2010)
He was the 10th overall pick in 2004 by the Houston Texans. Former University of South Carolina standout Dunta Robinson was sensational during rookie season with six interceptions, three forced fumbles, 19 passes defended, and three sacks. He would pick off 13 passes in six years with the franchise. In 2010, he signed a six-year, $57 million deal with the Falcons. But he picked off only four passes and was done with the club after three years.
Baltimore Ravens: QB Elvis Grbac (2001)
In 2000, the wild-card Ravens captured Super Bowl XXXV. The season began with quarterback Tony Banks and after eight contests moved onto Trent Dilfer. Including playoffs, the Ravens allowed 188 points in 20 games. But head coach Brian Billick and the club went in a different direction behind center. Elvis Grbac’s lone year in Baltimore saw him commit 23 turnovers in 14 regular-season outings. And he served up three picks in a playoff loss at Pittsburgh.
Buffalo Bills: CB Vontae Davis (2018)
Brendan Meyer of ESPN.com goes into detail about what happened to a player who inked a one-year, $5 million deal with the Bills in 2018 and lasted just under one half of football with his newest employer. Vontae Davis picked off a combined 22 passes in nine seasons with Miami (9) and Indianapolis (13) and was a two-time Pro Bowler with the Colts from 2014-15. But he stunningly opted to “retire” during the team’s Week 2 home loss to the Chargers.