For every brilliant decision made around the league, you can find at least one move that defies logic in the worst possible way. We certainly saw plenty of the latter during the 2019 NFL offseason.
Here’s a look at the 10 worst, starting with a front office move that could have lasting ramifications for one of the highest-profile teams in the league.
Jets make Adam Gase interim G.M.
The New York Jets should have fired former general manager Mike Maccagnan when they fired former head coach Todd Bowles. However, the weird timing of the team’s move to finally do that was dwarfed by the Jets’ decision to make Gase the interim G.M. We’re talking about a coach who went 13-19 the past two years in Miami and has exactly zero experience with personnel decisions. Right off the bat, Gase made sweeping moves that illustrated he won a contentious power struggle over Maccagnan. Since then, the team has languished in its attempts to replace the former personnel head.
Raiders sign Burfict and Incognito
Vontaze Burfict is known for being one of the dirtiest players in the NFL. Richie Incognito is best known for his role in the bullying scandal in Miami, along with a long string of shocking off-field incidents that illustrate some deep-seated issues he has never resolved. Both men were thought to potentially be finished in the NFL because of their dark histories. Both of them signed with the Oakland Raiders. Sure, teams “can’t have all boy scouts,” in the words of general manager Mike Mayock. But the fact both of these infamous players landed on the same team says quite about about the questionable leadership in Oakland.
Lions break the bank for Flowers
Second-year head coach Mike Patricia has not tried to hide his efforts to turn the Detroit Lions into another version of his former team, the New England Patriots. This offseason was full of eyebrow-raising moves that accentuated his efforts. None of them was as stunning as Detroit’s decision to pay Trey Flowers $56 million guaranteed on a five-year, $90 million contract. Flowers is an excellent player, and he was a key defender for New England. Yet he is also a pass rusher who has tallied a grand total of 21 sacks the past three years.
Giants trade OBJ for relative peanuts
Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the elite receivers in the NFL today. He’s averaged 92.8 receiving yards per game since entering the league and has 44 touchdowns in 59 career games. The New York Giants gave him a contract commensurate with his talent in 2018 and vowed a trade was out of the question. One year later they traded him to one of the league’s up-and-coming teams for the No. 17 and No. 95 overall picks in the draft, along with safety Jabrill Peppers. In no way did the Giants come away from that deal with “fair” compensation. Especially when you remember they are eating $20 million of OBJ’s signing bonus.
Redskins spend crazy money for Collins
One of the early winners of the free agency frenzy this year, former Giants safety Landon Collins landed a record-breaking haul to sign with a divisional rival. Good for him. But the Washington Redskins broke the bank for a strong safety whose best work happens inside the box. In four seasons as a pro, Collins has eight interceptions, but five of them came in his remarkable 2016 campaign. Worse, he clearly declined last year. Looking at the contract details, Collins will bring in $44.5 guaranteed on what is essentially a three-year deal with an out in 2022. That’s just not smart business.
49ers take a punter in fourth round
Field position is important. Punters who can consistently flip field it and/or pin offenses inside the 20 are valuable. Those two facts still do not justify what San Francisco did selecting punter Mitch Wishnowsky out of Utah with a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. First of all, Wishnowsky is 27 years old. Worse, he actually struggled to consistently flip the field for the Utes during his tenure at Utah, and had three of his punts blocked last season — leading the nation.
Jaguars bank on Foles
Nick Foles has carved out a place in NFL history for the way he led the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl win — the first in franchise history. He has demonstrated the ability to play at a high level in this league. That is what the Jacksonville Jaguars are hoping to see from him the next few years after paying him big-time money in free agency. However, throw out the 2013, 2017 and 2018 seasons and we’re looking at a quarterback who has a record of 12-14 as a starter while throwing 29 touchdowns and 25 interceptions in his four other campaigns. Which version of Foles will the Jaguars see?
Desperate Broncos overpay for protection
Ja’Wuan James has been the definition of average since being selected 19th overall by the Miami Dolphins in 2014. Last year, Pro Football Focus ranked him 34th among qualifying offensive tackles in the NFL. Worse, durability has been a big issue for the former Vols star, who has hit injured reserve with season-ending injuries in two of the past four seasons. Denver, desperate for offensive line help, ponied up a four-year deal worth $51 million for him, nevertheless — one of the worst value signings in free agency.
Texans keep gambling with health of Deshaun
Looking at the Houston Texans following the 2018 season, it was clear that fixing the team’s porous offensive line (which gave up 62 sacks last year) had to be the primary focus. Rookie general manager Brian Gaine tried to address the problem by adding former first-round bust Matt Kalil, then spending the 23rd overall pick of the draft on small-school offensive tackle, Tytus Howard — one of the biggest reaches in the entire draft. Star quarterback Deshaun Watson better have his head on a swivel.
Giants draft Daniel Jones No. 6 overall
The New York Giants were easily the biggest NFL offseason losers, for a number of reasons. General manager Dave Gettleman was already having a terrible offseason before the draft. Then he took quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick, sparking a downright revolt among Big Blue nation. New York took the Duke product (who had bad tape against good college teams) over the likes of Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock. Now, Jones will forever be linked to those two, along with the other quarterbacks selected after him in the 2019 NFL Draft.