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Worst 2013 Fa Signings

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After checking in on the league's best free-agent bargains, it's now time to look at the players who have failed to live up to their open-market expectations. As mentioned last week, the best teams build through the draft while spending wisely in free agency. Nothing can derail a franchise more quickly than a misguided dispersion of resources on players who are unable to produce in line with their lofty price tags -- whether it's because they already have passed their prime, have lost motivation by newfound security or simply are a bad fit in their new situation.

The old adage that free agents are often paid for what they have done rather than what they will do is a scary one, given the often precipitous drop-off seen every year among veteran players, combined with the yearly influx of draftable players with comparable skill sets for just a fraction of the price.

Many will cite the comfortable nature of bidding on a known NFL commodity as an advantage of free agency, but, as we've seen through the years, there are few guarantees in the NFL, and the list below is just a quick sample of the volatile nature of free agency.

Here are the worst free-agent signings of this past offseason so far:

The flashy signing

Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins (5 years/$60 million)

One of the most heralded offseason signings has gotten off to a rocky start, as Wallace is grading at minus-4.2 from PFF through six games. Before diving into the numbers, the thought of him drawing coverage and opening up the field for other receivers should at least be acknowledged, but I'd venture to guess the Dolphins expected to get more than a $60 million decoy. So, although there is some validity to the point that Wallace is getting extra attention from opposing defenses, the production has to match the contract at some point.

On the season, Wallace has caught 27 of his 53 targets (51 percent) for 357 yards and a touchdown. He has dropped 18 percent of his catchable passes, fifth highest in the league, and his 1.49 yards/route run ranks 38th out of the top 51 qualifiers. Wallace was brought in to expand Miami's deep passing attack, but he has caught only three of his 11 targets beyond 20 yards, good for 13th among the top 22 qualifiers. This might be the biggest area of concern for the Dolphins, as Wallace's catch rate on such throws has declined steadily since peaking at 48.3 percent in 2010, dropping as low as 19.4 percent last season. If that trend continues, Miami's investment won't look sound in a few years because Wallace doesn't appear to have the skill set necessary to evolve into a possession receiver, meaning the big plays are a must.

The cheaper replacement

Brandon Myers, TE, New York Giants (4 years/$14.3 million)

Although the salary numbers are not egregious, this is more about the Giants choosing to move on from Martellus Bennett, who netted an extra $6 million from the Chicago Bears for the same number of years. Bennett isn't necessarily a Pro Bowler, but he's been a steady run-blocker (despite a slow start this season) while providing an adequate target on short and intermediate routes. Myers had the gaudy fantasy stats a year ago with 79 catches for 806 yards, but his overall game paled in comparison with Bennett's. His minus-20.4 run-blocking grade ranked dead last, and he's only slightly better this year at minus-4.6. As a receiver, Myers has caught only 20 of his 33 targets for 223 yards and a 1.06 yards/route run that ranks 22nd among tight ends. When you add it all up, Myers has PFF's second-lowest overall grade at minus-8.8.

The cornerback trio

Cary Williams, Philadelphia Eagles (3 years/$17 million)

It's been an up-and-down season for Williams, who has snuck two good games in among a series of bad ones, culminating in a minus-6.5 overall grade that ranks 73rd among cornerbacks. Although the coverage numbers aren't terrible (1.04 yards/cover snap, ranks 24th) they don't tell the whole story for Williams. What the numbers don't show is Williams' four penalties, including three pass interference calls against the San Diego Chargers, and his benefiting from a rare Peyton Manning overthrow after being left in the dust by an Eric Decker double move that would have been an easy 80-yard touchdown. He also has missed six tackles on the season, tied for seventh most among cornerbacks.

Chris Houston, Detroit Lions (5 years/$25 million)

Houston re-signed with Detroit after back-to-back strong seasons with the Lions, but it hasn't been a great start under his new deal. He ranks 67th at the position with a grade of minus-5.2 overall, and his 1.98 yards/cover snap comes in 71st out of 75 qualifiers. Just as Williams was burned on a double move, so too was Houston this past Sunday, as Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green broke free on an out-and-up -- although Houston did not benefit from an overthrow. Instead, Green had to slow down for the underthrown pass but Houston was still unable to prevent the touchdown as he whiffed on the tackle. There was much debate over Houston's return to Detroit, and it hasn't looked like a good signing to this point.

Derek Cox, San Diego Chargers (4 years/$20 million)

Rounding out the trio of similarly paid cornerbacks, Cox ranks 68th among cornerbacks with a grade of minus-5.3, and his 1.62 yards/cover snap ranks 64th at the position. He's been a part of a disappointing Chargers pass defense, although an inadequate pass rush certainly hasn't helped, particularly after Dwight Freeney was lost for the season. Unlike the other cornerbacks on this list, Cox hasn't had any disastrous outings, but he has graded negatively in all but one of his seven games.

You get what you pay for

Bryant McKinnie, OT, Baltimore Ravens, (2 years/$6.3 million)

McKinnie now suits up for the Dolphins, but, to be fair, McKinnie makes this list for his work after signing with Baltimore, so the Ravens get the credit above. Although the price tag itself was not taxing, McKinnie's poor play got him benched and subsequently traded to Miami, where he likely will push out the next man on this list, Tyson Clabo. The Ravens brought McKinnie back after a solid late-season run that coincided with their Super Bowl championship, but he and the entire Baltimore offensive line regressed into one of the league's worst this season. He ranks 67th among offensive tackles with a minus-11.8 grade, and his minus-9.5 run-blocking grade is second from the bottom.

Tyson Clabo, OT, Miami Dolphins, (1 year/$3.5 million)

The Clabo signing looked like a good one for the Dolphins because he came at a cheap price and had played quite well a year ago for the Atlanta Falcons, grading at plus-21.3. This season has seen a sharp decline in Clabo's play, as his minus-13.4 grade ranks right behind McKinnie at 68th overall among tackles. His minus-10.9 grade in pass protection is better than only four other offensive tackles, and his eight surrendered sacks is tied for the league lead. The addition of McKinnie should push second-year tackle Jonathan Martin to the right side, leaving Clabo the odd man out.

The flop

Michael Huff, FS, Baltimore Ravens, (3 years/$6 million)

Replace Ed Reed? That was the intention when Huff was brought in this offseason, but he lasted only one start before getting ousted from the starting lineup. He was right in the thick of the 49-27 drubbing at the hands of the Denver Broncos on opening night, grading at minus-3.8. His misplayed wide receiver screen to Demaryius Thomas helped Manning pen new chapters in the record books, and it likely landed Huff on the bench for the foreseeable future. He has seen the field for only 97 snaps this season, and, although he certainly is talented enough to bounce back from his early struggles, the Reed-replacement tour has been put on hold for the time being.

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As a Miamian I can say first hand that these guys HATE HATE HATE Clabo. He is tanking here big time. What's sad is that people up there in TATF still think his being cut is why we're losing. Laughable.

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The Dolphins appear to be learning the hard way what the Eagles should have taught everyone and the Redskins before that: Throwing money around during free agency does not make a quality team.

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As much as I'm a fan of the guy, S-Jax has to be in there. He's been injured a lot, which isn't his fault, but he's done very little in the time he HAS had.

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