There have been several bad free-agent signings in NFL history, and today we look at the worst of the worst for each team.
The NFL free agency period is one of the most exciting times of the offseason. Plenty of star players relocate to different teams, and the speculation of what could happen the following season begins as each team makes their respective moves.
While there have been several free-agent signings that have paid dividends, like Reggie White and Tom Brady, there have also been several duds that teams hope you have forgotten about. Today, we look at the worst free-agent signing from every NFL franchise.
Who are the worst NFL free agent signings?
Arizona Cardinals: RB Emmitt Smith
In many ways, you can’t blame Arizona for signing the legendary running back. The Cardinals had a small fan base at the time and needed to put butts in seats- enter Emmitt Smith. Having the NFL’s all-time leading rusher on their roster was guaranteed to draw interest, both locally and nationally. That said, this was a financial disaster for the organization.
Smith surprisingly left Dallas after the 2002 season, and Arizona welcomed him with a two year deal worth $7.5 million. In his first year with the Cardinals, Smith only carried the ball 90 times in ten games, totalling a meager 256 yards and two touchdowns. For what Arizona was paying him, Smith averaged about $14,700 per rushing yard in 2003.
While his first year in Arizona was dreadful, 2004 was actually much better. Smith had 937 yards and nine touchdowns and ended his career on a respectable note. Regardless of how he went out, though, the production that Arizona got in return didn’t come close to what they needed after giving Smith such a big contract.
It was more of a marketing strategy than anything, but it still fell hard. That’s what happens when you pay a 34-year-old running back that kind of money.