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Top Five Worst Free Agency Signings In NFL History

  • Jim Racalto

Well well, the NFL free agency frenzy is upon us once again. While most teams are looking to upgrade, find the missing piece, or add depth, some teams just make decisions that leaves fans and analysts alike shaking their heads. There’s been plenty of free agency blunders throughout NFL history since free agency began, let’s take a look at the five worst ones:

5. David Boston, WR – San Diego Chargers

Boston signed a seven-year, $47 million dollar deal with the Bolts in 2003. Although he played fairly well in his first season, it was not nearly good enough to warrant his price tag. He had several conflicts with coaches and team mates, and was shipped to Miami after only one season in San Diego. He has been out of the NFL since 2006.

4. Larry Brown, CB – Oakland Raiders

Larry Brown turned his “heroics” from Super Bowl XXX into a decent payday from the Raiders, $12.5 million over five years. But, by “heroics” I mean intercepting passes that Neil O’Donnell threw right to him in the Super Bowl. How that made anyone feverishly covet this guy is beyond me. He played two disastrous seasons in Oakland, complete with a four-week suspension and rampant ineptitude.

3. Javon Walker, WR – Oakland Raiders

In 2004, Walker had a Pro-Bowl season, snagging twelve touchdowns and over 1,300 yards receiving. This made him a coveted free-agent in 2005. This is where the disappointment began, as Walker was never able to regain his 2004 magic being injury plagued. The Raiders threw $55 million at him for six years, after which he only played in seven games. The stats of those games are trivial.

2. Adam Archuleta, S – Washington Redskins

Archuleta is the defensive equivalent to Walker, minus the injury bug. This guy was a tackling animal for the Rams after being drafted by them in 2001, and his stellar play made him one of the most sought-after guys after the 2005 season ended. The Redskins signed Archuleta to a seven-year, $35 million deal, after which he regressed severely, being relegated to special teams duty. He particularly had trouble with the deep ball, and expressed displeasure in the way the ‘Skins were using him. He was traded to the Bears after that disaster of a season with Washington.

1. Scott Mitchell, QB – Detroit Lions

How this Miami Dolphins backup who had previously only started seven games in his career became a hot commodity still makes me wonder to this very day. Granted, he had some solid seasons, and even led the Lions to the playoffs in 1995 and 1997. But his play was overall inconsistent, and definitely not worth the $11+ million, three-year deal he received in 1994. He eventually lost his job to then rookie Charlie Batch in 1998.




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Jim Racalto

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11 Responses to Top Five Worst Free Agency Signings In NFL History

  • Scott Mitchell gets dogged way too much. This guy threw for over 4,00 yds his first yr as the Lions starting QB and they did get there butts kicked by Philly that yr in the playoffs Scott still had a great season. NFL Network named him the 10th best left handed qb and number 9 was every other left handed QB to play in the NFL. I am not claiming that Scott Mitchell was some great QB but he did solidify the QB position for a few season in Detroit. How could a guy who made 11 million over 3 yrs be the worst free agent signing ever. You could make this list with just Washington Redskin free agent signings. Haynesworth tho is the worst free agent signing of all time.

    • I agree with you Justin. The year he threw for 4000 yards Brett Favre was the MVP and Scott Mitchells statistics were just as good as Favres if not better. The reason Favre got the nod I believe was back then the media loved Favre and he could do nothing wrong.

  • I think Albert Haynesworth is the worst free agent signing in NFL history…he’s worse than all these guys combined

    • Smed puts right on the line. I just watched NFL 10 worst free agent signing and have read a couple others and not one mentions Haynesworth. He got more money then all of them combined and did zero. How could he not be the absolute worst.

    • who are these geniuses that come up with these lists and find obscure names to publish as the greatest busts of all time and worst free agents of all time, but ignore as Smed says Albert Haynesworth? Don’t get me wrong, I’m laughing all the way on the “misfortunes” of the Redskins (I’m a lifelong Cowboys fan!), but this is one area that Dan Snyder has won hands-down, no room for discussion–Haynesworth is absolutely without question the worst signing ever and probably for all time. I think he had NO intention of even playing with so much guaranteed money. Even if he did play to his potential, there is no way one player is worth that kind of a haul (Peyton Manning in his prime included)

      • Yeah he’s gotta be on there. I’m really not sure why the author didn’t put the name on there. However, one guy shouldn’t make the list terrible right? I’m pretty sure most people would agree with some of the other selections he has on there. I do agree though, Fat Albert has to be on there

  • I would argue Orlando Pace – Chicago Bears

  • How the hell is Albert Ainsworth not at the top of this list?

  • Albert Haynesworth?

  • Albert Ainsworth? Scott Nipchell or Orlando Space were so much worse!

  • Smed has it right. Haynesworth got more money then ALL of these guys combined and did absolutely nothing. At least Mitchell did SOME good things. Haynesworth couldn’t even pass his physical and when he finally did, all he was, was a low key rotation player. He hardly even started. In the past Redskins haven’t done well on the free agency market, maybe this year it will be differant.

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