Player movement is the norm in today’s NFL. Nothing changed ahead of the 2019 NFL season. We have seen more of the league’s top players change teams than ever before. This is because teams are seemingly more aggressive to acquire players, and players dictate where they want to play.
Unfortunately, sometimes these roster moves don’t always go according to plan. If the fit isn’t right or expectations aren’t met, teams and players get burned.
With that said, I thought it would be useful to look at some of the major transactions to see who might want a do-over.
Five Worst Player Acquisitions of the 2019 NFL Season
Death, taxes, and John Elway making questionable quarterback acquisitions. Yes, that is right, “the Duke of Denver” struck out on another quarterback, and it is arguably his worst attempt yet.
It was clear to anyone with eyes that Flacco had clearly peaked in 2012 and was no longer a desirable starter. Heck, even if you didn’t have eyes, the Ravens’ urgency to move on from Flacco (once they could) should’ve told you everything you need to know.
The move made no sense at the time and to no one’s surprise, completely blew up in Elway’s face. I won’t deny that Drew Lock‘s encouraging finish to the season lessens this blow but still an indefensible move nonetheless.
4. The Cleveland Browns Trading for Odell Beckham Jr.
The NFL world exploded when word broke that the Giants had traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns. Many thought that adding a receiver of Beckham’s caliber to an ascending offense could lift Cleveland up from the bottom of the standings and into the playoff hunt.
As we all know, no one could save the Browns from themselves this season. Yet, Beckham was a part of the dysfunction that dragged them down.
He had career lows in yards, catches, and touchdowns (out of the seasons where he played in 12+ games) and some of that can be because of his situation. However, he also had a career-high in drops and looked uninterested in playing for the Browns.
Now, I am not saying that Beckham will never work in Cleveland. It was underwhelming to see one of the best players in the league fail to rise above a less than ideal situation.
3. The New York Jets Signing Le’Veon Bell to a Lucrative Deal
Ahh. The ole “don’t pay running backs” argument strikes again. I hate to be that guy, but it’s true, Le’Veon Bell is another example of why giving running backs big money is a bad investment.
To those who aren’t familiar, the root of the “don’t pay running backs” argument is that running backs are largely a product of their environment. In other words, the blocking and scheme bolster a productive running game much more than the individual talent of any running back.
Well, that was proven once again this year with Bell’s first season with the Jets. Bell went from running in one of the most effective running schemes and behind one of the best offensive lines with the Steelers to a mediocre scheme and a terrible offensive line with the Jets, and his production suffered.
He finished the season with 789 rushing yards and didn’t have a game in which he ran over 100 yards. To put it in even more perspective, the Jets were 31st in rushing. This isn’t because Bell got significantly worse as a player. His situation was awful.
The Jets basically paid for expensive frosting with no cake when they signed Bell. They should’ve focused on improving their offensive line and not hiring Adam Gase if they really wanted to improve their run game.
2. The Jacksonville Jaguars Guaranteeing Nick Foles $50 Million
On the surface, signing Nick Foles seemed like logical move for the Jaguars. They were a year removed from an AFC Championship appearance, and seemingly a quarterback away from making another deep run in the playoffs. Adding the 2017 Super Bowl MVP in Foles appeared as the last piece to what the Jags thought was a championship puzzle.
Well, anyone who is familiar with Foles knows that he has been streaky throughout his career. He is capable of going on runs as he did with the Eagles. But he can also have stretches of poor play at the drop of a hat.
That said, investing in him with the hope that he would be playoff Foles for a full season was a gamble and sometimes you gotta know when to hold them and know when… Okay, I will leave the gambling advice to Willie Nelson, yet the point remains true.
Were the Jags wrong for kicking the tires on Foles? No. But does that mean they should’ve gone all-in on him by giving him a massive contract? *Insert the Jalen Ramsey “You tell me” GIF.*
1. The Oakland Raiders Trading for Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown was clearly heading off the rails after the 2018 season. Sure, no one could’ve seen just how toxic he was going to become, but the red flags to not trade for him were right in front of the Raiders. Yet, Jon Gruden decided to pull the trigger anyway.
The only tangible asset they had to give up to get Brown was a third-round pick. However, Brown was the highlight of their off-season. To crash and burn the way he did hurt this team in a much deeper sense.
The Raiders told everyone that they traded Khalil Mack because they couldn’t afford him. So, to go and give a crazed Brown and all the baggage that came with him a new contract beginning in the 2019 NFL season was a terrible look. The whole situation was a mess and easily could’ve been avoided if the Raiders had read the writing on the wall.