4 Biggest NFL Free Agent Busts So Far This Year

Max Staley
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Delving into the top-level talent in the NFL's free-agency pool is generally one of the biggest risks a franchise can take. While these signings often work out, as the Green Bay Packers' revamped defensive line has proven this season, paying up for the wrong guy can really set a franchise back.

With that in mind, here are the four biggest busts from the 2019 free-agency period thus far in the 2019 season.

4. Ja'Wuan James, OT, Denver Broncos (4-Year, $51 Million)

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John Elway correctly identified that the Denver Broncos needed help on the offensive line, but it doesn't look like he paid the right guy. Ja'Wuan James was always an injury risk, missing at least eight games in two of his five NFL seasons with the Miami Dolphins, but those red flags didn't stop Elway from signing him to a deal worth $51 million. James has managed to play only 32 snaps across two games for Denver in 2019, and the Broncos' pass blocking has been horrendous as a result, allowing a sack rate of 9.3 percent, which is the fifth-worst mark in the NFL.

3. Buster Skrine, CB, Chicago Bears (3-Year, $16.5 Million)

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The Chicago Bears had the most dominant defense in football last season, and while regression was always a possibility, they've fallen off significantly in 2019. Some of that blame should fall on the secondary, and Buster Skrine's play has a lot to do with that. Skrine has never been a particularly reliable corner, grading out as ProFootballFocus's 72nd-rated CB in 2019. Chicago also elected to sign Skrine over re-signing Bryce Callahan, PFF's 14th-highest rated corner in 2018, who is only making $1.5 million per season more than Skrine for the Broncos. The Bears were up against the cap in the offseason, but electing to pay Skrine over Callahan (who, admittedly, has dealt with injuries in 2019) clearly hasn't worked out.

2. Landon Collins, S, Washington Redskins (6-Year, $84 Million)

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The Landon Collins signing seemed like a bad idea for the Washington Redskins at the time, and it only looks worse now. Through eight games, Collins weighs in as the 26th highest-graded safety in the league, per PFF. That's not bad, but when you pay someone that kind of money, you're expecting franchise-altering production, not league-average play. Washington also seemingly chose to pay Collins over seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, who is still involved in a lengthy holdout.

1. Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York (4-Year, $52.5 Million)

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When the New York Jets signed Le'Veon Bell this offseason, the move was widely criticized. The running back position has widely been devalued recently, yet New York shelled out over $50 million to a guy that elected to sit out the entire 2018 season. By all accounts, Bell has actually been an outstanding teammate this year, but his play on the field has left a lot to be desired. Bell hasn't reached 75 rushing yards in a single game this season, and he has only recorded 100 yards from scrimmage once, in Week 2. For context, Bell had at least 75 rushing yards or 100 yards from scrimmage in 11 of his 15 games played in 2017. For a Jets' team that has holes all over the roster, paying Bell that much money likely wasn't the best use of New York's cap space.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. 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.