Pick Six  


Biggest free-agent busts in NFL history


The free-agency period begins on Tuesday and it's one of the most exciting times of the year. And one of the most optimistic, too. With every signing comes the hope that this will be the year your team makes it all the way to a Super Bowl championship.

Well, not you, Cincinnati.

For most fan bases, this is a great time of year. But first, words of caution before you rush out to purchase a Mike Wallace-Dolphins jersey; sometimes a big-name free agent won't be enough to push your team over the top. Consider it a piece of advice from a guy who roots for a team which signed Albert Pujols last year, and Josh Hamilton this year.

Sometimes these big free-agent victories don't always work out. With that in mind, I present to you the biggest free-agent busts in NFL history.

And without further ado ...

  • Larry Brown/Desmond Howard

    The Raiders have made a ton of mistakes in free agency. I mean a lot (hello, Javon Walker). But the Raiders had this weird fascination with Super Bowl MVPs in the 1990s, going after Larry Brown and Desmond Howard in successive seasons. It's like the Raiders watched only one game per season, the Super Bowl, and that was it. Needless to say, neither guy garnered much of an impact.

  • Neil O'Donnell

    If the Raiders only watched Super Bowl XXX when they decided to sign Brown, it's clear the Jets didn't watch the game as they signed O'Donnell, who threw the game away. O'Donnell joined the Jets and went 0-6 in an injury-shortened season. The Jets finished 1-15, brought in Bill Parcells, and O'Donnell was quickly sent on his way.

  • Jake Delhomme

    Delhomme was like the NFL-version of Rick Ankiel -- a solid player who, for one night, just lost his marbles. For Delhomme, his night came in the 2008 NFC divisional playoffs when he threw five interceptions against the Cardinals. Delhomme threw just eight touchdowns with 18 interceptions the following year and this led the Browns to sign him to a five-year, $42-million deal. This made the signing of Jeff Garcia look rational. At least Garcia landed a playmate out of the deal.

  • Adam Archuleta

    The Redskins have a long history of big-name free-agency signings. Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith and Dana Stubblefield come to mind. But at least those guys had a history of being top NFL players. The Redskins just lavished money on Archuleta for no reason. What's more baffling is the Redskins had Ryan Clark on their roster, too. So the Skins get a mulligan for Dana, Deion and Smith (and really, he wasn't too bad), but you can't forgive them for Archuleta, who also netted a playmate.

  • David Boston

    When Boston signed with the San Diego Chargers, I quickly shot a note over to a Chargers staffer I was friendly with to congratulate him on the deal. Only in a world where Ryan Leaf exists can Boston escape the notoriety of being the biggest bust in San Diego sports history. And this should show you it's hard for sports fans to trust anything associated with the word "Boston" in it. Well, except for Sam Adams and Bill Burr.

  • Albert Haynesworth

    No surprises here. Could you imagine any other person to top this list? Haynesworth signed a seven-year, $100-million deal which turned out to be a bigger heist than the Ocean's 11 movies. Haynesworth's time in Washington was punctuated by failed conditioning tests and complaints about the team's defensive schemes under Mike Shanahan. Let's just say he didn't get all of the $100-million, but he should be ashamed for any of the money he did get.


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