10 worst free agent signings though Week 4
In our previous article, PFF listed the top 10 free agent acquisitions from this past offseason, in terms of value thus far in 2015. While the teams that acquired those 10 players should feel great about their decisions, some teams may be wishing they had their money back. Let’s take a look at the bottom 10 free-agent acquisitions, in terms of value, through the first four weeks of 2015:
1. Byron Maxwell, CB, PHI (six years, $63 million, -5.7)
The acquisition of Maxwell was one of the most notable moves of the offseason, with many questioning whether he was truly a player worthy of his contract, or simply a product of Seattle’s system. He has performed poorly for the Eagles thus far, grading negatively in the first three games (before being injured in the fourth).
Despite Maxwell having two pass breakups, opponents have completed 21-of-25 passes against him for 315 yards and a 145.4 NFL passer rating. His 2.30 yards per coverage snap is the highest in the NFL.
2. Brandon Browner, CB, NO (three years, $18 million, -11.1)
PFF’s lowest-graded cornerback through four weeks, Browner has looked out of place in New Orleans, complementing his normal penchant for penalties (a league-high 7) with poor pass coverage. While Browner has yet to give up a touchdown pass, he has surrendered 25.9 yards per catch, and missed three tackles. His 2.24 yards per coverage snap is tied for second-most in the NFL.
3. DeMarco Murray, HB, PHI (five years, $42 million, -2.3)
After a tremendous year in 2014, Murray has struggled mightily after transitioning to Philadelphia. While offensive line play has certainly contributed to his abysmal 1.6 yards per carry through three games (he missed Week 3 with an injury), he has only 59 yards after contact, which is good for only 46th out of 61 qualifying RBs, and his seven missed tackles forced are good for only 25th. He was first and second in those categories in 2014, respectively.
4. Jared Odrick, DE, JAX (five years, $42.5 million, -7.4)
Signed to complement Sen’Derrick Marks, Odrick has struggled in Mark’s absence. After posting a +9.0 PFF grade for Miami in 2014, Odrick has been the NFL’s lowest-graded 4-3 DE with poor grades both against the run (-3.2) and rushing the passer (-4.1). His pass rush productivity of 3.3 percent ranks third-lowest among 22 qualified 4-3 DEs, with his run stop percentage of 5.7 percent coming in at 15th out of 30.
5. Curtis Lofton, ILB, OAK (three years, $18 million, -8.2)
This signing was puzzling at the time, given Lofton’s performance over recent years ( -21.5, 0.0, -7.6 PFF grades over the past three seasons). Little is different with a change in scenery, as Lofton has the fourth-worst grade amongst ILB’s, despite playing the 12th-most snaps. Opposing QBs are 16-for-16 throwing in his direction, including two touchdowns and a 148.2 NFL passer rating. His stop percentage of 4.6 percentage ranks 29th out of 36 qualifying ILBs.
6. Orlando Franklin, G, SD (five years, $35.5 million, -4.4)
In a year where many relatively-cheap free agent O-linemen have performed poorly, Franklin has stood out due his poor pass blocking (he is tied for fourth amongst guards in QB hurries allowed, with nine, in just 2.5 games). His run blocking grade (+0.3) has been a positive, but there’s no doubt San Diego was expecting more when they signed Franklin for $7.1 million per year.
7. Antonio Cromartie, CB, NYJ (four years, $32 million, -4.7)
In his return to the New York Jets, Cromartie has been shaky against the run (-1.5) and in pass coverage (-2.5). While opposing quarterbacks have completed just 9-of-16 passes against him, three of those passes have gone for touchdowns, and he has committed three penalties. Cromartie has also missed two tackles, and has failed to make a run stop through four weeks.
8. Michael Oher, LT, CAR (two years, $7 million, -9.9)
Oher has struggled for of the past few years (-20.2, -17.1, -16.6, -11.6, -11.3 PFF grades over the past five season), suggesting that, even at $3.5 million per season he was no bargain. The poor play has continued even with his transition to Carolina, where he has rated as the fourth-worst run blocking offensive tackle in the NFL. He has also committed two penalties, surrendered two sacks, and given up seven QB hurries.
8. Greg Jennings, WR, MIA (two years, $8 million, -7.2)
A few free agent wide receivers in Jennings’ price range have performed poorly this season, but the Dolphin has been the worst of the bunch, with the second-lowest PFF grade amongst WR in the NFL. Targeted just 15 times, Jennings has managed seven receptions on those targets for a total of 54 yards, including 8 yards after the catch and three drops.
10. Chris Culliver, CB, WAS (four years, $32 million, -4.1)
While Culliver was solid in 2014 (+8.0 PFF grade) for San Francisco, many were surprised Washington was willing to give him $8 million per season in free agency. Through three games (he missed Week 2 with an injury) he has given up seven completions on only 11 targeted throws, good for 13th in coverage snaps per reception.
But these completions have gone for 15.6 yards per reception and a touchdown, good for a 126.7 NFL passer rating. He has also produced zero stops in the run game, and committed two penalties. The sample size is small here, and there is plenty of time for Culliver to turn it around, but thus far, he hasn’t produced at a level commensurate with his contract.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out PFF’s best 10 free agent signings through Week 4 of the season.