Every NFL Team's Worst Free Agent Signing- AFC East

Updated on September 10, 2018

These teams paid big money to high profile players with the hope that they would help their team to a championship, but all they got in return was regret. Today, I name each AFC East squad's worst free agency pickup.

Buffalo Bills- Derrick Dockery and Langston Walker

Dockery (#66) Walker (#68)
Dockery (#66) Walker (#68)

They both signed huge contracts and failed to live up to expectations.

A third round pick in 2003 out of Texas by the Washington Redskins, Derrick Dockery was used as a backup as a rookie at left guard and right tackle. By 2004, he gained the starting job at left guard. Together, he and left tackle Chris Samuels formed a solid tandem on the left side of the offensive line. Dockery started 29 consecutive games for the Redskins despite being amongst the league leaders in false starts.

A second round pick in 2002 out of California by the Oakland Raiders, Langston Walker played in 66 games with 33 starts in five seasons. He was also frequently used as a field goal blocker including a potential game winner against Denver in 2004.

In 2007, the Buffalo Bills signed the two linemen in free agency. Dockery signed a seven-year deal worth $49 million deal with a $18 million signing bonus, the third largest in league history for a guard. Walker signed a five-year deal worth $25 million including a $10 million signing bonus. The two played in all 16 games over the next two seasons, but were both released after the 2008 season. They may have given up the fewest sacks at that point in franchise history in 2007, but they didn't help the team much in those seasons as the Bills finished 7-9 in back to back years. Walker was expected to replace Jason Peters at left tackle after Peters left for Philadelphia, but both he and Dockery were cap casualties as the team sought to not spend nearly $100 million between two offensive linemen. Dockery played four more seasons between Washington and Dallas before retiring after 2012 while Walker returned to Oakland for two more years and retired in 2010.

Miami Dolphins- Jay Cutler

The team called him out of retirement and he couldn't get the team back to the postseason.

A first round pick in 2006 out of Vanderbilt by the Denver Broncos, Jay Cutler started his rookie season as the backup to Jake Plummer. Despite a 7-4 record, head coach Mike Shanahan benched Plummer in favor of Cutler. Cutler would go 2-3 as a starter, throwing nine touchdowns and five interceptions. In 2008, he had his best statistical season throwing for 4,526 yards and 25 touchdowns but the Broncos lost their final three games to finish 8-8 and missed the playoffs. Cutler was traded to the Chicago Bears in 2009 for Kyle Orton. The following year, he helped Chicago reach the NFC Championship. Cutler initially retired after 2016 to pursue a broadcasting career.

In 2017, the Miami Dolphins signed Cutler out of retirement to a one-year, $10million contract after starter Ryan Tannehill tore his ACL. The move reunited him with his former Chicago offensive coordinator, now Miami head coach Adam Gase in the hope that he would keep the Dolphins' playoff hopes alive. Cutler would go on to start 14 games, going 6-8 in those starts, while throwing 14 interceptions to just 19 touchdowns. The team would've been better off sticking with Matt Moore or even trying to call Tony Romo out of retirement. The fact that someone gave Jay Cutler another shot just goes to show how desperate some teams can be.

New England Patriots- Adalius Thomas

Unlike most bad free agency signings, he wasn't exactly a flop.

A sixth round pick in 2000 out of Southern Mississippi by the Baltimore Ravens, Adalius Thomas played behind Peter Boulware as the team won Super Bowl XXXV. He quickly became known for his versatility, being able to play anywhere along the front seven. In 2004, he started all 16 games for the first time in his career. In 2005, Boulware was regulated to a situational pass rusher and Thomas was named the starting outside linebacker, where he accumulated 84 total tackles and 9 sacks. He also saw limited time at cornerback during that season. He returned three turnovers for touchdowns, making him the NFL's leader in non-offensive touchdowns that season. Thomas earned his second Pro Bowl selection in 2006 as part of a Ravens defense that finished first in the league en route to a 13-3 record. He was a first team All-Pro after setting a career high 106 tackles and 11 sacks in what was ultimately his most complete season.

In 2007, Thomas signed with the New England Patriots on a five-year, $35 million contract with $20 million guaranteed. Initially, this was looking like a fine signing as he was a key contributor to the team's near perfect season. Thomas played mainly inside linebacker before Roosevelt Colvin was lost for the season and moved to outside linebacker. In 2008, he continued to play on the outside and was leading the team with five sacks before landing on injured reserve with an arm injury. By 2009 things began to unravel. Thomas was one of four Patriots sent home as a result of being late for a morning meeting on a snowy Wednesday morning prior to the Patriots' Week 14 matchup. The next day, he told the media that he called the team saying that he was stuck in traffic but was still sent home upon arriving. He also continued to question the perceived motivational aspect of the decision fro head coach Bill Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff, saying "Motivation is for kindergartners. I'm not a kindergartner." He was again deactivated for the game against the Panthers. He was released by the team one day after the 2010 NFL Draft.

New York Jets- Neil O'Donnell

I'll be honest with you, I have no idea what the Jets were thinking here.

A third round pick in 1990 out of Maryland by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Neil O'Donnell sat on the bench his rookie year, started eight games in 1991, and became the full time starter in 1992. That year he threw for 2,283 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions while being named to the Pro Bowl. In 1993, he threw for a career high 3,208 passing yards and his 1.4 interception percentage was the second lowest of his career. In 1995, he helped Pittsburgh to Super Bowl XXX but threw two interceptions in the second half that would ultimately cost the Steelers the game.

In 1996, O'Donnell signed with the New York Jets on a five-year, $25 million contract, the largest in Jets history at the time. O'Donnell proceeded to go 0-6 as a starter before a shoulder injury ended his season. The Jets would finish 1-15 in 1996. His performance improved in 1997, but he soon fell out of favor with new head coach Bill Parcells and was benched for Glen Foley. After refusing to renegotiate his contract, he was released before the 1998 season. He would play six more seasons, primarily as a backup, between Cincinnati and Tennessee before retiring in 2004. The decision to sign O'Donnell to such a pricy contract was head scratching considering what transpired in Super Bowl XXX. The fact the Jets were so desperate for a quarterback that they signed a guy who threw the two worst interceptions in Super Bowl history, the deal seemed destined to fail. On his best day, Neil O'Donnell was never going to be a guy who could take lesser talent and make New York a contender. Add in his lack of mobility and questionable toughness and leadership, he is easily the worst Jets free agency signing ever.

People's Poll

Which AFC East team's signing was the biggest disappointment?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://howtheyplay.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)