Each March, the NFL free agency period sees players signing outrageous contracts with teams desperate to upgrade their rosters. Although these players have the right to get as much money as they can, they typically get paid more than they are worth. The 2013 free agency period was no exception. These five players got more than they deserved and may find themselves unemployed in a year or two because of their large cap number.
1) Andy Levitre, Tennessee Titans
There is no question that Levitre is a solid player. In his five seasons with the Bills, he never missed a single game. Additionally, he showed his versatility by playing guard, center and left tackle during his time with the Bills. The problem is, he is at his best when playing the guard position. Guards are easily replaced through the NFL draft or by picking up a former tackle off of the waiver wire. The Bills have shown how effective this can be in the past couple of seasons. Ultimately, his $7 million a year salary is much more than he should have gotten.
2) Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins
Mike Wallace is a speedy receiver who also has the height to catch jump balls thrown his way. The only problem with Wallace is that he is only good when running in a straight line. Against college defensive backs, this wouldn’t be a big deal. If he were running track, this might be a strength. However, against NFL defensive backs, you have to be able to do more than just run in a straight line. The Dolphins will ultimately regret playing roughly $12 million a year for a guy who may not be any more productive than Brandon Marshall.
3) Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
There have been rumors that Bowe takes plays off and doesn’t give his best effort on the field. If these rumors are true, it will spell trouble for the Chiefs. When you consider that Alex Smith isn’t going to dazzle you with down the field throws, Bowe may have a hard time putting up the type of numbers that justify getting paid more than $10 million a season. Additionally, you have to worry about what might happen if he gets injured. No matter who you are giving that type of money to, you are taking a gamble that may or may not pay off. Kansas City was probably better off drafting a receiver or trying to sign another receiver for Smith to throw to.
4) Leodis McKelvin, Buffalo Bills
When he was drafted with the number 11 pick in the 2007 draft, many experts thought that the Bills were getting one of the best corners in the draft. Unfortunately, McKelvin has not panned out. However, that didn’t stop the Buffalo Bills from handing him $5 million a year to be a punt returner and maybe even play a little cornerback. While some teams may have matched that deal in free agency, it’s a price that may be a little too steep for a guy who may only play a few snaps a game on defense.
5) Jake Long, St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams signed Jake Long to a contract that will pay him $8.5 million a year. While that doesn’t sound like a lot for a premium left tackle, you have to consider that Long has not played like an all-pro for the past couple of seasons. Injury issues and overall declining play have left many people scratching their heads as to why St. Louis would give him so much money. If the move doesn’t pan out, it will represent another big investment in the offensive line that has not worked out for the Rams. Quarterback Sam Bradford is never going to develop if there is no one to protect his blindside. The good news for Long is that he is set for life even if he doesn’t play up to his most recent contract.
Free agency in the NFL has always featured signings that were too absurd to believe. The good news this year is that no one was signed to a contract worth $100 million or more. As the free agency period settles down, there are unlikely to be any more signings for large amounts of money. Therefore, it is safe to say that these five players will be among those who got paid way too much by teams desperate to sign anyone with name value.