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3/04/2008 01:41:00 PM
Worst Free Agent Signings of All Time
Carl Pavano has had this look on his face for most of his Yankees tenure.
Al Bello/Getty Images
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com
The NFL free agency period has been a whirlwind of mediocre players, massive contracts and sportscasters and writers clucking in disbelief. Hey, it's not just a football thing -- average athletes can get overpaid in every sport! Here's our top-five worst free-agent signings of all time.
1. Larry Brown to the Oakland Raiders: OK, so he was coming off a Superbowl MVP award and a visit to Late Night with Conan O'Brien, but the 5-year, $12.5 million deal the Raiders signed Brown to seemed a bit excessive. Two seasons later, the Raiders agreed with everyone else and let Brown go.
2. Jon Koncak to the Atlanta Hawks: Koncak was already a Hawk, a reserve center with limited skills. The Pistons signed Koncak to a huge offer, which the Hawks trumped with a 6-year, $13 million deal, making him one of the highest paid players in the NBA. He didn't earn much sympathy in Atlanta by posing for Sports Illustrated with money raining around him.
3. Carl Pavano to the Yankees: After impressing as a young pitcher with Montreal and Florida, Pavano signed a 4-year, $40 million contract with the Yankees before the 2005 season. You might think that by now Yankees fans wouldn't mind wasting $40 million, but you'd be wrong. Since inking with the Yanks, Pavano has recorded all of four wins and suffered more strange injuries than...
5. Grant Hill to the Orlando Magic: After drawing rave reviews early in his career with Detroit, Hill agreed to a 7-year, $93 million deal with the Magic. He brought with him a foot injury that he couldn't kick, and he ended up playing in only 200 games over 7 seasons.
5. Jeff Garcia to the Browns: After working his way up through the CFL to the NFL, eventually guiding the 49ers to the playoffs, Garcia cashed in with a 4-year, $25 million contact with the Browns. His spent his first year in Cleveland criticizing the coaching staff and throwing nearly as many interceptions and touchdowns. Less than a year after they signed him, the Browns waived Garcia.
What's the worst free agent signing of all time? Let us know below...
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
How can you leave Juwan Howard's $100 million dollar contract off this list. He was a waste of money. As a whole, the NBA signed more terrible free agents to huge contracts than any other professional league.
Juan Gonzelez with the tigers. Not only did he not produce on the field, but he was considered a cancer in the clubhouse and criticized the Tigers and the city of Detroit in to media. He also spent significant time on the D.L.
The Knicks signed Jerome James to a 5 year, 30 million contract after he was SCHOOLED in the second round of the playoffs as a member of the Supersonics by Tim Duncan, who was on his way to his third NBA Championship and third NBA Finals MVP award.
What were the Knicks thinking?
Never mind, I already know the answer: They weren't!
The really sad part is this is just one of many free agent mistakes the Knicks have made.
Nick Esasky and the Braves (not his fault he developed vertigo)
Danny Tartabull and the Phillies (gave the Phillies 7 at-bats before fouling a ball of is toe and retiring - he went 0-7)Come to think of it the Phillies are full of them: Lance Parrish, Gregg Jeffries, Adam Eaton, Andy Ashby, etc.
Darrell Porter, St. Louis Cardinals. Darrell Porter had three good weeks the entire time he was with the Cardinals. Fortunately, that was during the playoffs and World Series in 1982. They invested way to much money for three weeks.
Jose Canseco by the Yankees. Not only do you get an overpaid cancer, but he brought the pharmacy with him, hurting the rest of the players. Other signings just wasted money; Canseco hurt teams on an entirely different level.
What about Albert Belle? 5 years, $65 million with the Orioles? The guy had one solid season in '99, a sub-par season in 2000 then was forced into retirement.. he was a disease in the clubhouse. Before Belle, the Orioles were a stud team in the AL .. he drove their stars out of town and ultimately made the organization into the laughing stock they are right now
How could you not include the MN T'Wolves signing Joe Smith to an under the table deal costing them several first round draft picks, and banning them from signing him for a year, he plays a year with the Pistons, then they sign him again....he was terrible.....
Juwan Howard stole moley from the NBA from the moment he was drafted... he signed that $105 million contract with the Heat and never even sneezed at mediocre... He was traded for Obinna Ekezie! How good was he??
How about LeCharles Bentley to the Browns?? The man was an All-Pro center, signs the richest contract ever for a center, and then has a career threatening injury the first day of training camp. Still hasn't played in a game.
How about LeCharles Bentley to the Browns?? The man signs the richest contract ever by a center, and then suffers a potentially career ending injury the first day of training camp. Still hasn't played in a game.
Tariq Abdul-Wahad! Denver re-signed him before the 00-01 season. Fortunately for them, they traded him to Dallas the next season (along with Raef, etc). In that 7 year deal, he earned approx. $33,750,000 and averaged 2.62 minutes per game. (he never even suited up after 02-03).
Lawrence Phillips to the 49ers didn't break the bank, it just broke Steve Young. I still have nightmares about watching Phillips miss that block on Aeneas Williams, followed by Young laying motionless on the ground. Any signing that costs your football team its franchise, hall of fame quarterback has got to make the list.
I have two...and they're both by Dan Snyder and his sycophant, Vinny Cerrato and they both occured in 2006. First was Adam Archuleta who they made the highest paid safety in the league (to team up with the BEST safety in the league, God rest his soul) and the other was for Brandon Lloyd who had all of 25 receptions and no TD's and was paid a $10 million bonus on top of annual salaries for 2006 and 2007. Can it get any worse?
I knew cleveland would make the list, but a worse cleveland signing was Wayne Garland in the 1970s, 10 years, millions of dollars, and 1 blown shoulder later the Indians were saddled with a contract that kept them under .500 into the 1980s.
Leaving out the mentally ill basketball contracts in the 90s, and football contracts (because you can cut your losses) how can you not put any former Pirates (Derek "operation shutdown" Bell 2yr/11M, Pat Meares 6M/year, Kevin "thanks roids for the 6y/36M contract we won't be needing ya anymore" Young and a way over the hill Joe Randa.
I sawy someone put Michael Jordan? Six championships. At any point in his career (even the Wizards) he was the biggest draw in sports. He was the only reason the Wizards had season ticket holders. How about that white guy from the Pacers who had 2 good games and got a 50 somehting million dollar contract....Austin Croshere. Oh yeah he was Isiah's favorite player and that's why he was re-signed. Enough said.
There are 3 things that make a free agent signing really bad. 1) Overpaid 2) Underperformance 3) Tying up cap money
So while Pavano, Garcia and Brown were bad moves, they really didn't come close to #3 because Pavano doesn't affect the Yanks spending and Garcia and Brown were waived so they didn't have to pay them the full amounts(depending on what was guaranteed).
That being said the Knicks are still feeling the affect of Allan Houston, and that contract was 7 yrs ago. Any list without him in the top 5 is a joke.
I have to agree with the one person who mentioned the Phillies. Year after year they find these stiffs, and last year was nothing new. Freddy Garcia, Adam Eaton. Come on people! I think the Phillies need a new scout in charge of talent, because they are not winning anything right now.
New York Mets... Kevin Appier, Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar... Trading away Scott Kazmir for Zambrano... Yeah not Carlos...Trading Tom Seaver for Doug Flynn et al., Kaz Matsui... I'm done venting. Let's go Mets!
Adam Foote by the Columbus Blue Jackets for over 4M/yr...he was given the captaincy immediately, stunk his first 2 years there, and forced a trade back to Colorado (and ONLY Colorado) while the CBJ were still in the playoff race. A captain bailing on a team like that is pathetic...
Let's not forget the Redskins signing of Super Bowl winning/Pro Bowler/MVP QB Jeff George. Wait, he didn't win a Super Bowl? How about an MVP award? Well, he's at least been to the Pro Bowl right? No? Geez, he was a bad signing.
I can't believe no one has mentioned this, probably because they're still trying to forget (or maybe they already have) or maybe they're still amazed by his most recent one (10 yrs, $275 million), but remember Alex Rodriguez's contract with the Texas Rangers?
It was 10 years, 252 million dollars and worth than the stadium he'd play in! It didn't really pay off as Rodriguez would win just one AL MVP and the Rangers would not win a playoff series, winning a grand total of one game in three divisional series.