10 worst moves of the NFL offseason
The 2019 offseason has seen an unexpected number of trades as well as big names moving from one team to another. There’s been quite a shakeup throughout the league, with some moves standing out compared to others.
Previously we took a look at the 10 best moves thus far in 2019, but what about the opposite end of the spectrum? Which teams and players are bad combinations? Which moves are simply bad fits?
Here’s a look at the 10 worst offseason moves across the NFL.
10. Seahawks bank on Jason Myers
The Seahawks had Myers in camp last season before cutting him in favor of Sebastian Janikowski, but now he’s back on a four-year, $16 million deal. The money makes sense for a kicker who connected on 91.7 percent of his field goal attempts, but can he deliver another similar season? In his previous two seasons with the Jaguars, Myers connected on 79.4 percent and 73.3 percent of his field goals, respectively. He’s also struggled on his point after attempts, missing a combined 15 over the last four seasons. The deal is essentially a gamble for Seattle, who hope to get 2018 Myers as opposed to 2015-2017 Myers. Short of getting his very best, that’s a hefty investment in an otherwise sketchy kicker.
9. Colts gamble big on Devin Funchess
After several so-so seasons in Carolina, Devin Funchess got the boot last year, essentially finding himself excommunicated. He was allowed to walk into free agency without restriction, and many expected him to seek out a one-year, prove-it deal midway through the offseason. Instead, the Colts, carrying over $100 million in salary cap space, decided to splurge on the under-performing product, signing him to a one-year, $10 million deal. Making the deal even more curious is that the Colts added in an additional $3 million in potential escalators and incentives. That means Funchess, who has never eclipsed 65 receptions or 850 yards, could become one of the highest-paid receivers in all of football. Comparatively, he’s already earning more in average base salary than the likes of Michael Thomas, Amari Cooper, DeSean Jackson, Sterling Shepard and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
8. Bills sign Frank Gore, get older at running back
The Bills will open the 2019 regular season with 31-year-old LeSean McCoy as their primary running back. At No. 2, the team had Chris Ivory, but released him in favor of the 35-year-old Frank Gore. That decision seems more than curious for a team in rebuilding mode with several players predominantly under the age of 25. Moreover, the running back position is perhaps the most demanding of all the team’s units and often requires fresh legs. While Gore does still have some gas left in the tank, it’s a curious pairing for both parties. The Bills aren’t en route to the Super Bowl, so Gore’s presence and impact will be minimal at best. The cost may be insignificant, but his addition in Buffalo doesn’t seem to fit short-term or long-term.
7. Browns re-sign penalty machine Greg Robinson
Greg Robinson had underwhelmed since being selected second overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, but suddenly revitalized his career after taking over at left tackle in Cleveland mid-way through last season. In fact, from Week 9 forward, Robinson didn’t allow a sack and stabilized the line. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Robinson has a long history of under-performing, which is highlighted by a very serious problem with penalties. Even during what was his greatest career stretch a year ago, Robinson was penalized 10 times over the team’s final seven games. Nine of those 10 penalties were holds, which was four more than anyone else in the NFL from Weeks 10-17. And his 10 total penalties? Yeah, they led the league as well. That’s a lot of issues for a player earning $7 million in 2019.
6. Chiefs trade away Dee Ford to 49ers
After recording 13 sacks a season ago, Dee Ford being shipped to San Francisco came as a surprise to many. The curiosity was compounded by the Chiefs’ decision to part ways with linebacker Justin Houston, which they claimed was a result of cap restrictions. Ultimately, they didn’t feel Ford (or Houston) fit Steve Spagnuolo’s incoming 4-3 scheme, which is more an indictment of the coach than the player. And while a 2020 second-round pick is a relatively solid return, it does little to solve Kansas City’s current issues at the linebacker position or the now-compounded issues in their secondary. Overall, the defense will take a major hit in the absence of their most game-changing pass rusher.
5. Raiders sign Vontaze Burfict
The addition of Vontaze Burfict the player isn’t necessarily a bad move for the Raiders, but with the player comes the person. Burfict has a long history of dirty plays and is viewed as a potential danger to others on the field. He’s not exactly know as a locker-room leader and brings along a ton of baggage — not a good combination for a team rebuilding and on the move. As far as the player, Burfict is getting up there in age, has a dangerous history of concussions, and is no longer the tackling machine who made the Pro Bowl in 2013. That’s not to say he doesn’t have anything left in the tank — he does — but was it enough to warrant signing a player who is widely viewed as a loose cannon? The honest answer is no.
4. Bengals throw money at Bobby Hart
Seeing average offensive linemen signed to bloated contracts isn’t something new to the NFL, but seeing a well below average offensive lineman cash in to the tune of three years and $16.15 million certainly is. That’s what the Bengals are on the hook for after re-signing Bobby Hart, who gave the team little reason to believe he was suddenly going to morph into a star following an awful 2018 campaign. Once upon a time, Hart called himself the “best right tackle” in football, but he’s not even the best right tackle on the team despite getting a hefty bag of cash and starting role going into 2019. It is truly a puzzling move that’s highly unlikely to yield any positive results.
3. Redskins sign Ereck Flowers, move him to guard
Ereck Flowers is one of the biggest busts of the 2010s, entering the league as a first-round pick of the Giants in 2015 before completely bombing out. His time in New York was highlighted by poor play, a poor attitude and rumors of him quitting down the stretch in 2017. Flowers eventually lost his job to Nate Solder and was shifted to right tackle, where he continued to struggle. The Giants eventually pulled the plug and released Flowers late last season. He caught on with the Jacksonville Jaguars and his former head coach, Tom Coughlin, but it wasn’t enough to get him on the right track. The long-time tackle showed no improvement, and Jacksonville opted not to re-sign him. For some reason, however, the Redskins got the idea that they could sign Flowers and move him inside to guard. In theory, it sounds like a wonderful plan. In practice, it’s not going to end well for Washington.
2. Giants trade Odell Beckham Jr., sign Golden Tate
Odell Beckham Jr.’s time in New York was like a roller coaster, with as many lows as there were highs. However, the relationship between him and the team remained strong right up until the final minutes. Team co-owner, John Mara, acknowledged Beckham sometimes gave him headaches, but said it was nothing that “couldn’t be managed.” Moreover, the Giants had no real need to trade one of the best receivers in the league, but they did anyway, shipping him to the Cleveland Browns in the biggest surprise trade of the offseason. Dealing Odell away created an immediate area of need, which the Giants addressed by signing Golden Tate to a somewhat lucrative deal of his own. And while Tate is a quality player, he’s nowhere near Beckham’s talent level and doesn’t necessarily fit into an offense that has a mirror image of him already on the roster (Sterling Shepard).
1. Steelers trade Antonio Brown for peanuts
The relationship between the Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver Antonio Brown had soured to the point where there was irreparable damage. There was no way Brown could return return to the team and mend fences from ownership on down, and he was demanding to be traded anyway. However, in their haste to end the relationship, the Steelers slipped up and sent Brown to the Raiders for nothing more than a third-round pick and fifth-round pick — hardly the “significant compensation” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the team would be seeking or the sort of haul that a player of Brown’s caliber should have drawn. They could have gotten more, but they allowed Brown to dictate the pace.