NFL free agency is always filled with overspending teams eager to make a splash in the market. Players cash in, fans get excited but at the end of the day, few of the marquee signings end up turning into on the field success for a franchise. With the 2010 NFL Draft inching closer and the free agency period having been open for a few weeks, which teams have made the biggest mistakes so far? Here’s a list of the top 3 2010 NFL free agency blunders to this point.
1. New York Jets Cut Thomas Jones and Sign LaDainian Tomlinson – I love LaDainian Tomlinson, but the truth is that at this point in their respective careers, Thomas Jones is a vastly superior back. Their production wasn’t even close last season, and Tomlinson has been steadily declining over the past three seasons.
As great as LT is, he’s also a player who whether for injury, defensive game planning or other reasons has been a no-show in most of his team’s biggest playoff games, not a good thing for a Jets team eager to continue building on their success from this year.
I understand that Shonn Greene is the starter, that LT will be used in a more limited role and that the Jets have a great offensive line to open up holes for him. But you cannot make the argument that they improved their team by ditching Jones for LT in 2010.
2. Cleveland Browns Signing Jake Delhomme – Delhomme signed a deal with the Browns that nets him about $1 million for every three interceptions he tossed in his miserable 2009 season. Clearly neither Derek Anderson nor Brady Quinn was the solution in Cleveland, but how is Delhomme going to be any better? Even if you want to bring the guy in to fight for the starting job against somebody else, how can you justify signing him for $7 million for the 2010 season? Any of the Eagles three quarterbacks were available including Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb, and there was a handful of both better and cheaper NFL quarterbacks available than Delhomme.
3. Chicago Bears Signing Brandon Manumaleuna for $15 million – I fully support the Bears signing Julius Peppers to a lucrative deal and bringing in the very capable Chester Taylor to help in the backfield. But $15 million to Brandon Manumaleuna, a blocking tight end, with $6 million of that for this season alone and $8.7 million over the 2010-2011 seasons is ridiculous. Salary cap or not, that kind of money is not justified for this kind of player.
Of course there were many other questionable signings and moves in the 2010 NFL free agency period already (Nate Burleson to the Lions for $25 million, $11 million guaranteed; Antrel Rolle for $37 million to the Giants), and there will be more head-scratchers in the future. But these are the 3 biggest blunders of the young NFL off season, as teams continue their 2010 NFL Draft preparations.