NFL free agent grades: The most regrettable deals signed so far

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In the NFL, free agency is very similar to buying a new car. It involves extensive research and negotiations and when you finally strike a deal you’re genuinely happy. That is, until you drive the car off the lot and it begins depreciating. NFL free agents, like new cars, can depreciate the second they sign their big contracts.

Some players prove to be worth their free agent contracts and then some others, well … not so much. Buyer’s remorse is common in the NFL as a big free agent acquisition one year can be a salary cap causality the next. Take the Miami Dolphins for example. Miami was active on the first day of free agency with a number of big moves. The Dolphins signed one of the top linebackers on the market in Dannell Ellerbe, but followed it up by releasing Karlos Dansby, a prize free agent acquisition just two seasons ago.

The out with the old, in with the new operating procedure can lead to younger, more valuable players. It can also lead to contracts that teams will soon regret. Here’s a look at a few of the most regrettable contracts signed thus far.

Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins


Mike Wallace is the biggest signing thus far and while he is a good player, the Dolphins paid him like an elite wide receiver. Wallace received a five-year, $65 million deal which includes $30 million in guaranteed money. Wallace may be one of the elite deep threats in the NFL — even with a down 2012 — but it’s hard to make an argument that he deserves to be the third-highest paid wide receiver in the NFL.

If NFL teams started from scratch tomorrow and drafted wide receivers, where would Wallace come off the board? The top 15? The top 10? Maybe, but he surely would not be the third wide receiver off the board. Instead, Wallace’s bloated contract is a result of a team desperate to add a playmaker and a limited available talent pool. If Miami didn’t overpay for Wallace, they risked losing him to Minnesota or another team. The Dolphins got their man, but the question now is how long will they enjoy paying him $13 million a season.

Dannell Ellerbe, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins kept their wallet open after signing Wallace, agreeing to a five-year, $35 million deal with Ellerbe. The deal includes $14 million in guaranteed money. That is a lot to pay for a linebacker who’s been plagued by injury and has 14 career starts. Ellerbe played well at the end of last season and may have been the Ravens‘ best defender in the postseason, but he is now one of the 20 highest-paid
Via: SB Nation

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