Teams have found some real diamonds in NFL free agency over the past several years. The defending NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles signing Haason Reddick last offseason was a prime example of this.
On the other hand, teams that have struggled to remain relevant continue to pay big bucks for players who are either on the decline or just not as good as narratives suggest.
With NFL free agency set to open here soon, we figured it made sent to take a look at five players who will be overvalued by teams once the market’s bell rings.
Marcus Peters, cornerback, Baltimore Ravens
There was a time not too long ago that Peters was among the best ball hawks in the game. In stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Ravens from 2015-19, the former first-round pick registered a combined 77 passes defended and 27 interceptions. That latter number led the league.
After performing well with Baltimore back in 2020, Peters missed the entire 2021 campaign due to a torn ACL he suffered immediately ahead of Week 1. He returned this past season to give up a 64.3% completion and 113.7 QB rating when targeted. At 30 years old, the expectation is that Peters will have to settle for a short-term deal. If not, some team might rue its decision down the line.
Marcus Davenport, EDGE, New Orleans Saints
It’s still pretty crazy to look at what the Saints yielded in a trade up for Davenport in the 2018 NFL Draft. Moving up from 27 to 14th overall with the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans gave up a 2019 first-round pick and another mid-round selection.
The small-school product never really panned out in the Bayou. This past season saw him record one-half sack and eight quarterback hits in 15 games (nine starts). That came after a career-high nine-sack performance back in 2021. At just 26 years old, we wouldn’t be surprised if someone took a chance in NFL free agency that Davenport can live up to his billing. We just don’t expect it to happen.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
Despite what Smith-Schuster might think of himself, he’s no better than a No. 3 receiving option on a good offense. In his final three seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, this former USC standout caught 154 passes for 1,512 yards in 33 games. This span also saw him average a mere 6.7 yards per target.
Even after joining NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs this past season, Smith-Schuster didn’t return to earlier-career form. He caught 78 passes for 933 yards. That’s a far cry from the 26-year-old receiver putting up 1,426 yards as a member of the Steelers back in 2018. Some team will pay cash for Smith-Schuster’s previous track record. We’re just not expecting him to live up to expectations.
Related: 2023 NFL salary cap tracker
Devin Singletary, running back, Buffalo Bills
Devin Singletary never turned into the backfield threat the Bills hoped for when they made him the starter in 2020. However, he is still a talented combo back who could be a worthwhile addition for a team that prefers a run game-by-committee approach. Furthermore, at 25, his best years are still ahead of him. At least, that’s the narrative that could be painted here.
Now that the likes of top-end running backs Tony Pollard, Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs are off the market, we can expect interest in Singletary to increase. It will end up being fool’s gold given what he had to work with in Buffalo and his lack of consistent production.
Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver, Los Angeles Rams
Speaking of failing to live uo to expectations, Beckham Jr. has not put up a 1,000-yard season since back in 2019. He has not caught as much as 60% of his targets since 2018. A rift with both the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns earlier in his career also adds an element here that shouldn’t lead to a strong market in NFL free agency. Add in the fact that OBJ missed the entire 2022 season due to a torn ACL, and this is magnified further.
Despite all of this, Beckham Jr. had a robust market late last season. The Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills were among the teams in on him. At that point, OBJ’s asking price was reported to be similar to the five-year, $57.5 million contract Michael Gallup signed with the Dallas Cowboys last offseason. We’re just not buying it.