The 13 Worst Signings From NFL Free Agency

There are many ways to screw up a free agency signing.

You can overpay for a guy, sign a guy you don’t need, or sabotage your cap space with a pricey player.

All of these things happened this year.

Among the biggest losers: the Giants, Colts, Raiders, and Lions.

Golden Tate (wide receiver), Detroit Lions

Contract: five years, $US31 million

Age: 25

Why it's bad: He's still young. But $US13 million guaranteed to a third wide receiver with modest numbers is a lot, especially for a team with as many holes as the Lions.

Austin Howard (offensive tackle), Oakland Raiders

Contract: five years, $US30 million

Age: 26

Why it's bad: The Raiders have money to burn, but so do the Jets. There's a reason New York didn't match the ridiculous $US30 million price that Oakland offered.

Tyson Jackson (defensive end), Kansas City Chiefs

Contract: five years, $US25 million

Age: 27

Why it's bad: Despite his high draft position, he was a rotation player for most of his time in Kansas City and only have nine career sacks.

Vontae Davis (cornerback), Indianapolis Colts

Contract: four years, $US39 million

Age: 25

Why it's bad: Davis is getting paid like a top-line corner. In reality, he's a wildly inconsistent player who can be a liability as easily as he can be an asset.

Jairus Byrd (safety), New Orleans Saints

Contract: six years, $US54 million

Age: 27

Why it's bad: Byrd is a great player, but the back-loaded structure of his deal could kill the team's flexibility next year when they try to re-sign Jimmy Graham.

Charlie Whitehurst (quarterback), Tennessee Titans

Contract: two years, $US8 million

Age: 31

Why it's bad: Whitehurst is a significantly worse back-up QB option than Ryan Fitzpatrick. With Jake Locker's injury history, it makes no sense.

Rashad Jennings (running back), New York Giants

Contract: four years, $US14 million

Age: 28

Why it's bad: He was the 43rd best running back in the NFL last year, according to AdvancedNFLStats. No need to spend $US3 million guaranteed on that.

Donald Brown (running back), Indianapolis Colts

Contract: three years, $US10.5 million

Age: 26

Why it's bad: History has told us that signing a mid-tier running back in free agency is a waste of cap space. You can always find guys like Brown on the scrap heap at the end of the free agency period.

Brandon Pettigrew (tight end), Detroit Lions

Contract: four years, $US16 million

Age: 29

Why it's bad: You do not need to give an ageing tight end who had two TD catches last year $US8 million guaranteed, Lions.

Shawn Lauvao (guard), Washington Redskins

Contract: four years, $US17 million

Age: 26

Why it's bad: This is a pretty straight-forward overpay. Lauvao got basically the same contract as the best guard on the market, Geoff Schwartz.

Karlos Dansby (linebacker), Cleveland Browns

Contract: four years, $US24 million

Age: 32

Why it's bad: He's odd, and he got more money than the guy the Browns cut to make room for him, D'Qwell Jackson.

Donte Whitner (safety), Cleveland Browns

Contract: four years, $US28 million

Age: 28

Why it's bad: Another instance of the Browns letting a guy go and replacing him with someone worse for the same amount of money. TJ Ward went to Denver and got $US5 million less than the Browns gave Whitner.

Rodger Saffold (offensive tackle), Oakland Raiders/St. Louis Rams

Contract: five years, $US42.5 million/five years, $US31.7 million

Age: 25

Why it's bad: This was a disaster for the Raiders. They backed out of their deal with Saffold at the last minute, claiming he had an undisclosed shoulder injury, and ended up losing their own tackle Jared Veldheer, who signed with Arizona.

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