Free agency isn't cheap. The regrettable deals below from a team perspective are examples of teams taking on too much risk, often out of desperation.
NOTE: All contract figures are from Over The Cap or from numbers filed to the NFL Players Association and the NFL.
Todd Gurley, running back, Atlanta Falcons: Some team was bound to give Gurley a second chance. I was just surprised the Falcons gave him a $6 million second chance, along with a presumed starting job. Gurley fits the scheme coach Dan Quinn wants to run, but committing this much to Gurley without being able to give him a physical when the Falcons were so short on cap room was a high-risk, low-reward gamble by general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Finding a running back is what the draft is for!
Robert Quinn, defensive end and Jimmy Graham, tight end, Chicago Bears: I thought Graham might have to retire unless he was willing to take a contract near the veteran's minimum. Instead, GM Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy envision him turning back the clock to his days with the New Orleans Saints. Of all the deals in free agency, Graham getting $9 million in 2020 felt the most desperate.
Ereck Flowers, offensive tackle, Shaq Lawson, defensive end and Kyle Van Noy, linebacker, Miami Dolphins: After a season of austerity, Dolphins GM Chris Grier bought high on a number of free-agent stocks. Flowers somehow got nearly $20 million per season despite being on three teams in the last two years. Most of his five seasons have been an abject disappointment, and his improvement to "fine" last year apparently had everyone dusting off their 2015 pre-draft profiles.
Jamie Collins, linebacker, Detroit Lions: I don't really trust most players after they leave Bill Belichick. That's especially true for Collins, who already struggled once when he left New England for a losing team back in 2016. Even Collins' resurgent 2019 season with the Pats became problematic toward the end when he wasn't completing his assignments, and Belichick benched him in the playoffs. The $18 million guaranteed over two years was far more than I expected the market to pay Collins.
Randall Cobb, wide receiver, Houston Texans: It's not Cobb's fault that the Texans traded DeAndre Hopkins. It's also not his fault that his bounceback season in Dallas had two Texas teams bidding up his price to $9 million per season, with the first two years guaranteed. Cobb has taken a lot of punishment in his career, which is reflected in his production. He hasn't topped 800 snaps in a season since 2016, according to Pro Football Focus, and he topped 800 yards last year for the first time since 2015. This contract feels typical of the magical thinking going on in Houston these days.
Vic Beasley, defensive end, Tennessee Titans: If Beasley couldn't be trusted in big situations in Atlanta, there's little reason to think that will change in Tennessee. He makes this list because he cost twice as much based on his first-round draft pedigree. A fourth-round pick with the film Beasley has put up the last three years would not have come close to earning $10 million on a one-year contract.
Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell, New York Giants linebackers: This is a classic case of a team overpaying for mid-level players in free agency because they can't draft or develop at the position. The Giants' linebackers have been a problem for years, so GM Dave Gettleman paid Martinez like a pass rusher: $19 million guaranteed and $22 million over the next two years. He would have been a lot better off just spending a little extra money on new Raider Cory Littleton or signing Joe Schobert, who went to Jacksonville. Fackrell was less of an issue -- he received $4.6 million for one year -- but it was another deal that had the look of an organization just hoping to climb back to the middle.