Big-Ticket Free-Agency Follies, 2019 Edition:
The biggest free-agent contracts for players who changed teams in 2019, with the eight free-agent signees who got at least $25-million guaranteed with their new teams:
- Zero of eight have been big stars fully justifying their pay.
- Three of eight have been moderate to good contributors: Thomas, Flowers and Collins.
- Four of eight will miss half the season or more with injuries: Mosley, Alexander, James and Foles.
- One of eight has been a significant disappointment: Bell.
Foles is in almost a separate category, both injured and underperforming.
The injured, or the bad:
• Foles, who missed half the season with a broken clavicle, was benched for poor play in his third start back. He likely is done for 2019.
• Mosley has missed all but 114 snaps with the Jets with a groin injury. He’s on season-ending IR.
• Bell, averaging 3.2 yards per rush (1.1 yards less than his career average), has been wholly unimpactful for the Jets.
• James has been sidelined all but 32 snaps with a knee injury this year. He’ll make $17 million, total, in 2019.
Alexander, PFF’s 43rd-rated linebacker, was lost with a torn pectoral in game eight. It’s the second straight year he’s played half a season or less.
The healthy, and the pretty good:
• Flowers has played but 63 percent of the snaps—way down from his last two Patriot years. He has seven sacks and 29 QB hurries.
• Collins has played all 910 Washington defensive snaps and been a good run defender and middling pass defender.
• Thomas hasn’t made the splash plays other Ravens defenders have, but he came in with injury question marks and has been a relative ironman, playing 95 percent of the snaps and providing good leadership.
Moral of the story: It was a bad year for spending big in free agency.
(Note: Green Bay pass-rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith have been a boon to the Packers in remaking their pass-rush, but neither got a deal with $25-million fully guaranteed. Maybe that’s a moral to the story—that it’s smart to pay big and guarantee only a moderate sum, which could be effective in luring players like Smith and Smith. They were rising stars but not worthy to most teams of huge guarantees.)
Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America here.