Free agency is viewed as a fool’s errand for many GMs, but all of them participate to some degree. It’s a high risk, high reward game.
Especially the risk part.
A wrong move can wreck a locker room, ruin a season, or irreparably damage a salary cap for years to come.
The biggest Packers misstep ever came courtesy of our old friend Mike Sherman when he signed Saints defensive end, two-time Pro Bowler Joe Johnson to a 6-year $33 million contract. That may seem modest by today’s standards, but this deal was from 2002, when the salary cap was only $71 million. They had to restructure Frank Winters’s contract to fit the deal under the cap. In return, he played 11 games, netting six sacks and getting cut two years later.
Useless Joe Johnson.
But other teams have fared worse. In 2009, the Redskins signed Albert Haynesworth, who coincedently had a dominant season in his contract year, to an unheard of 7-year $100 million contract. He played 20 games, put up Mike Neal numbers, and was dumped for a fifth-round pick in 2011.
It has served as cautionary tale ever since, the high water mark in free agency failure…
But there’s a new leader in the clubhouse!
No, I’m not talking about the Buccaneers paying $11 million+ per year to a 30 year-old receiver. That can’t be it because, much like the draft, you can’t judge a free agent deal until at least a year has passed.
Now, 365 days ago, the Texan signed Brock Osweiler to a 4-year, $72 million deal. They got 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, which seems great compared to what they got today.
Now, they didn’t get a fourth-rounder for him, that would have been a steal compared to what actually happened. They had to package up a second round pick and a sixth round pick with Osweiler to get that fourth rounder.
How’s that for ouch?
Not only was he terrible, his contract was too awful to allow them to cut him. They had to give up a premium draft pick to get rid of him.
How do you think that conversation went?
“Hey, you guys want Brock Osweiler?
“Come on, we’ll give him to you for free.”
“No, we don’t want that loser.”
“What if we threw in a third round pick?”
“We’ll give you a third round pick if you take him.”
“… make it a second.”
And the worst part, to add painful insult to all that injury, is the team that robbed them: the Browns. The Cleveland Browns. Yes, those Cleveland Browns. Not even the Jaguars, but the Browns. You got jobbed by the f#cking Browns! That’s the rotten mushy brown cherry on top of the frozen taco-diarrhea sundae.
The worst free agent deal in the history of the world.