When the NFL begins free agency, mass media explodes. They treat every signing like a franchise-changer. Yet, for all of this hyperbole, many signings fail to live up to the hype. Four FPC editors sat down to pick one free agent they think will struggle
Dean Williams (Titans)
I think Bears tight end Trey Burton will be struggle to live up to the expectations this year. Granted, he is talented, but not the only weapon that offense employs. If Allen Robinson is healthy, he will command many targets. The Bears already good defense got even better in the offseason. Why wouldn’t they run the football with Jordan Howard and control the clock. I also worry about the wear and tear of the season. Burton is around 230 lbs and has never had to be the person in the NFL. To return the value a lot are projecting for him he must be the guy in that offense.
Phil Schwegler (Bucs)
One of the biggest Training Camp Storylines heading into the 2018 season would have to be the battle of the Cleveland Browns’ return to winning. By now, everyone should be aware that the infamous Hard Knocks series would be featuring the Cleveland Browns. The Browns just about completely overhauled their offense bringing in players with decent resumes to help bring winning back to the football side of Cleveland.
The biggest battle will be between former Buffalo Bills quarter back Tyrod Taylor, and the number one overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Baker Mayfield. Who will take the reins of the new and improved Browns offense?
The easy answer is Taylor, but can he live up to be the savior of the losing Browns? In my opinion, I would not rely on Taylor being the starter for the Browns come week one. Yes, Taylor is a veteran who has plenty of games under his belt, but what about those mental intangibles quarterbacks are supposed to have?
Losing can do things to a player that can take them down a dark road with little hopes of return. The Browns have made themselves famous for being the “easy win” team in the NFL. So, my question is, if the Browns start losing game after game, can Taylor bounce back mentally? This is where I believe Mayfield could take the Browns’ Franchise as his own.
Taylor will be playing on a team that he cannot rely on the defense to help keep him in the game. At one point in the 2017 season, the Bills had one of the best defensive units in football. Coming back to the Browns, this is not the case at all.
In my opinion, this is Mayfield’s job to lose. He will have a big learning curve, but I would not put Taylor on the shelf of “best quarter back free agents of 2018” just yet. Sure, Taylor has that freakish ability to do unnatural athletic feats, but Mayfield has that explosive play capability just waiting to happen. Keep in mind, Mayfield threw 119 touchdowns in his three years in college. The time should be now for the Cleveland Browns to involve their new shiny number one overall pick into the team’s franchise for many years to come.
Ben Pfeifer (Colts)
A very common answer to this question will certainly be a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes. However, another player on the second year gunslinger’s team will be the one who does not live up to media attention: Kareem Hunt. As a rookie, Hunt led the NFL in rushing yards with a staggering 1,327 and eight touchdowns.
He added 455 receiving yards and three scores through the air to his totals. However, before last season, Spencer Ware tore his PCL ruling him out for the entire year. In 2016, Ware rushed for 921 yards and caught 33 balls for 447 yards, with five total touchdowns. When on the field, Ware is undeniably talented and the Chiefs would be foolish not to utilize him. He will likely take away from Kareem Hunt’s touches. Patrick Mahomes taking over the starting job will likely see the Chiefs airing the ball out more, taking away from more of Hunt’s touches. Despite his talent, a step back from Hunt seems inevitable in 2018.
Terrance Biggs (Raiders)
In order to replace Jarvis Landry, the Dolphins signed Albert Wilson. For an average of eight million per year, Wilson gets to fill the void. If you look at some of his stats, Wilson’s productivity pale in comparison to his predecessor. That is to say, seven career receiving touchdowns feel old. In addition, Wilson only started 26 of 55 possible games. Miami plunked down decent cash purely on speculation. Not to mention, their quarterback situation remains murky at best.