Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Bryce Paup. Hugh Douglas. Jerry Porter. The names that litter the Jags history of bad free agent signing isn’t as long as most. Only because we are still a relatively young franchise. I tell you though, some of the deals we have made has been devastating to this franchise. This young group of talent advisors and money men had a great year in 2013, bringing in good talent at great prices. As the years progress and you are hopefully improving, intelligent free agent signing become more and more paramount. The crop of 2014 signings have been well thought out and good for our present and future. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all finishes out. I had a list of potential free agents that I would have cringed if we had selected them. Luckily either we have no interest or the said players have signed elsewhere. Here is my list of players that I hope or am glad we have avoided.
- Jason Campbell/QB – The signing of Chad Henne probably made this consideration mute, but being we have a coach who believes in competition, it’s still possible. I have labels for most of the avoid free agents. Campbell is a “Hopes Crusher”…a guy who has had many opportunities, has earned many opportunities, and just never shows up when needed. Let’s not bring him in here and let him get our hopes up…only to fail again.
- Michael Bush/RB – another “Hopes Crusher”, Bush shared carries with Darren McFadden for many years. DMC ot hurt every year and yet Bush was never able to grab the reign. He leaves Oakland for Chicago, is given a chance to shine when Matt Forte was injured and again disappointed. We don’t need that stink on our young players.
- Ben Tate/RB – “Hopes Crusher” persignified. If he had even shown a smidge of the talent that he was capable of last year, the Texans would have probably re-signed Tate and considered releasing an expensive and possible injured Arian Foster. Tate had to know this. Most players would be motivated by this prospect, but Tate withered under the pressure. There is NO WAY I’m paying a guy the year after that display. Good Luck Cleveland!!!
- Eric Decker/WR – Falls under “Product of the System“. I actually think Decker is a good receiver. My issue is that he is a #2 WR. Because of the numbers he put up with Peyton Manning and the timing of his free agency, he was paid #1 money. We could not afford to do that…no matter how unsteady our WR corps are.
- Jacoby Jones/WR – Falls under the “Unlikable” and “LOOK AT ME” labels. From the appearing on “Dancing With the Stars”, to the goofy end zone dance, to his entire demeanor…it just screams LOOK AT ME!!!! The 2014 Jaguars needs to be a team, not a team with a few individuals who are begging to get on “Sportscenter”. By the way…He got his ass kicked by a stripper on a party bus…I’m just sayin…
- Brandon LaFell/WR – “Hopes Crusher” to the fullest extent. This guy has 5 years to just claim the #2 spot and could never make it happen. Good luck with another reclamation project New England. You’re going to need it.
- Owen Daniels/TE – This one is “Fragile Shipment“. This guy has always been talked about as belonging in the upper echelons of TEs. But its always prefaced with a “projected over a 16 game season, his numbers would have been…” because he is always getting hurt. Nothing is more frustrating to a coach, team, and it’s fans than an incredibly talented player who’s always in his civies on the sidelines. AVOID PLEASE!
- Jermichael Finley/TE – I hate this combination. Here it goes…Finley has the labels “Fragile Shipment”, “Hopes Crusher”, and “Unlikable“. Fragile because he has been constantly injured. Crusher because Green Bay waited years for him to reach his potential and he just never did. They had to move on. Unlikable because Finley is on record saying he deserves to be paid like the best TE’s in the league. No you don’t.
- Alex Mack/C – Though technically a transition player, he would cost a lot of money to obtain his services. Money that would seem well spent in the current, but would become a “Salary Cap Killer” in the future. An anchor that would weigh us down, and at an interior lineman position to boot. You just can’t do that!
- Clinton McDonald/DT – Clinton had a great year in 2013. With the numbers he put up, he would warrant a nice free agency contract. But buyer beware! The 5.5 sacks he put up were the first sacks of his 4 year career, along with his first INT. He had more pass blocks and stuff plays than any other time in his career. He tied his career best in tackles and fumble recoveries. So what do we take from this? Did it just click this year? Is he a product of the “Seahawk Way” ? All I know is one of the scariest labels are the “Contract Year Wonders“. Guys who lag along getting a check until they realize if they don’t buck up, the gravy train is pulling out of the station. Problem is that when they sign on that line, they usually go back to their slacking ways and you just spent starter money on a player with a reserve mentality. I will assume if Gus Bradley doesn’t even bring him in for a looksie, then my evaluation has merit.
- Walter Thurmond/CB – Thurmond was actually brought in for a evaluation, but luckily signed elsewhere. By the same rational I had with Clinton McDonald, if Coach Bradley actually brought Thurmond in, then my desire to discount him as a “Product of the System” can’t ring true because Bradley was still obviously smitten by him. So I will latch on a familiar subject for Jag fans…”Substance Abuse Issues“. Thurmond has already been suspended once for PED infractions. It may have been remote. He says it was a mistake and it won’t happen again….But so did Justin Blackmon…I’m just sayin…
Eleven evaluations. Nine on the offensive side. That is because I feel we have a lot of work over there, and also because I have been very happy with the defensive free agents brought in so far. I’m sure more action will take place before the draft. Let’s see how it goes.
Talent and financial decisions made by Michael McDonald.
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