The Duel

3 Biggest Free Agent Busts From the 2019 NFL Season

Jason Schandl
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The 2019 NFL season is nearing its end, and for 28 teams the focus has already turned to the offseason and the 2020 NFL season.

One of the biggest parts of every offseason is free agency, and for as much as teams will be looking for key pieces to improve their franchise, it's just as important to avoid sinking money into players who don't pan out. These busts can really set franchises back significantly.

Here's a look at three of the biggest such busts from the 2019 NFL season.

3. Nick Foles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Nick Foles on the bench during a game against the Falcons.
Nick Foles on the bench during a game against the Falcons. / Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Don't be so quick to give Nick Foles a pass just because he was injured. The Jacksonville Jaguars signed him to replace Blake Bortles as their franchise QB. Foles went on to play in just four games, attempting 117 passes. He averaged a measly 6.0 adjusted yards per pass attempt (AY/A, which weighs in TDs and INTs) in those games. For comparison, Bortles averaged 6.2 AY/A in Jacksonville, with that average jumping to 6.5 in his last four seasons. Foles was soundly outplayed by sixth-round rookie pick Gardner Minshew, and now the Jags are stuck with a fat contract on the books for a player that should be their second-string QB.

2. Justin Coleman, CB, Detroit Lions

Justin Coleman during a game against the Denver Broncos.
Justin Coleman during a game against the Denver Broncos. / Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

A former Seattle Seahawk and New England Patriot, Justin Coleman played on defenses that ranked above average in Football Outsiders' pass defense DVOA rankings in three of his first four NFL seasons. The wheels totally fell off in his first season with the Detroit Lions though. Not only did he fail to lift the Lions' secondary, as they improved from 31st to just 29th in DVOA, but his individual numbers were brutal. Coleman was targeted 103 times in coverage, allowing 65 completions, 817 yards and 6 touchdowns with just 1 interception on those passes. That's 8.7 AY/A, which, for context, would have been tied for second among QBs in the regular season.

1. Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets

Le'Veon Bell during a Week 15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Le'Veon Bell during a Week 15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. / Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Averaging 3.2 yards per attempt in 2019, Le'Veon Bell was tied with Ty Montgomery for second among New York Jets RBs, trailing Bilal Powell. With 5.9 yards per target, he ranked sixth among Jets with 30-plus targets on the year. After he held out in the 2018 season, the Jets gave Bell a massive contract that included the fourth-most guaranteed money ($27 million) for anyone at the position. One year in, Bell has brought very little to the offense, and there have already been rumblings of a potential trade. Bell has 1,926 NFL touches (playoffs included) to his name, and a big, long-term contract for a struggling player at a position known for its short shelf life is about as bad as it gets.


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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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