Robert Hunt

Five Worst Deals of 2024 NFL Free Agency

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For the most part, it’s easy to pick out the best NFL free-agent deals, but what about the worst deals in 2024 NFL free agency? What are the deals that already look like are going to turn into mistakes when all is said and done? After all, a review of free agency has to look at both the good and the bad.

5 Biggest NFL Free Agency Mistakes in 2024

Obviously, time will only tell if one of the free agent deals signed this offseason turns out to be among the worst NFL contracts ever.

But there are a few that we have our eyes on already. With that said, here is a list of the worst deals in 2024 NFL free agency.

Kevin Byard to Bears

The Bears did a lot of good things in free agency, but signing Kevin Byard to a two-year, $15 million deal wasn’t one of them. While he was a Pro Bowler as recently as 2021, Byard is on the wrong side of 30, so his days as an elite safety could easily be over.

There was also no need to be so quick to sign a safety with Quandre Diggs and Justin Simmons also available. Given Chicago’s cap flexibility, the Bears could have been more aggressive in the safety market and done a better job of improving their defense.

       

Calvin Ridley to Titans

The Titans made a couple of potential mistakes this offseason, but the four-year, $92 million contract they gave to Calvin Ridley is by far the biggest. Ridley went over 1,000 receiving yards last year in his first season back following his suspension in 2022. But he also had the benefit of working with Trevor Lawrence.

He won’t have that luxury in Tennessee, where the jury is still out on Will Levis. While it makes sense to surround Levis with a wide receiver like Ridley, he’s not necessarily the classic safety valve of a receiver. Plus, if Levis doesn’t work out, the Titans will waste money on a high-priced receiver with nobody to get him the ball.

Josh Jacobs to Packers

There’s nothing wrong with moving on from the aging Aaron Jones, but the Packers appear to have overpaid for his replacement. Green Bay is giving Josh Jacobs a four-year deal worth $48 million. That’s a high price for any running back in today’s NFL, much less one who averaged just 3.5 yards per carry last season.

Jacobs has averaged four yards per carry or less in three of his five seasons in the league. Outside of the 2022 season when he led the NFL in rushing, Jacobs has been a below-average running back, which is even more reason why this is a terrible mistake by Green Bay.

Robert Hunt to Panthers

While the Panthers had a large amount of cap space to play around with this offseason, that still doesn’t justify spending $100 million over five years on Robert Hunt. That deal comes with $63 million in guaranteed money, which is way too much for Hunt.

       

We’re talking about a nine-figure contract for an offensive lineman who’s never even made the Pro Bowl. Obviously, the offense line was a huge key for Carolina heading into the offseason, so it’s hard to fault the Panthers for being aggressive. But there should have been a better way to use the funds available to them than making Hunt the second-highest-paid right guard in the league.

Justin Jones to Cardinals

The Cardinals are one of those teams that was desperate enough this offseason to make some bad decisions. Giving Justin Jones $31 million over three years with a guarantee of $26.75 million is one of those mistakes.

To be fair, Jones is likely to improve Arizona’s pass rush, one of the worst in the league last season. But Jones also has just 12 sacks in his six seasons. He doesn’t profile as a player who should be getting that much guaranteed money and should be considered a major addition worth that kind of money.

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