NFL: Three Free Agents to Consider Staying Away From

With the NFL offseason on the horizon and closing by the day, many NFL free agents are getting ready to find new teams.  Free agency this season is relatively high-end, with lots of elite and quality players of big positions hitting the market.  Many of these players will ring in a high price tag from teams who are needy for specific positions.  With that said, some players are not worth nearly what teams may be considering throwing at them in FA.

In this article, I will be going over three free agents that teams should really consider avoiding if possible due to various reasons.  This could be anywhere from on the field poor performance to off the field issues plaguing their career. 

Juju Smith-Schuster – Free Agent WR – Pittsburgh Steelers

Starting off we have one of the off-the-field issue type free agents in Juju Smith-Schuster.  Now granted, Juju is a pretty above-average receiver on the field.  While he’s not an elite receiver and has some drop issues, he really would not be the worst option for solely his on-the-field play.  The issue that comes in is how cocky he has become, to a point where it is hurting the team in the process.

Throughout the season, we all saw Juju’s TikToks, which were normally fine for the most part, just fun and games.  But he took it to a somewhat disrespectful and antagonizing level when he started dancing on teams logos pregame.  This amped teams up to the point where they would play to get revenge on him for this.  We saw Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen in the pregame huddle talk to his team about this concept:

The Steelers would then go on to lose 26-15, in which Juju had 6 receptions and 55 yards.  Now some may be saying, “oh well it was only a one-time thing, he learned from it right?”  Wrong.  He did not learn from it.  He then went on to do it again THE NEXT WEEK against a division rival in the Bengals.  At the time the Bengals were 3-10-1 and in the mix for the #1 pick.  

Related Article – Pittsburgh Steelers: Free Agent Landing Spots for JuJu Smith-Schuster

Needless to say, the free agent’s on-the-field performance was hampered by his mentality again.  He had 3 receptions for 15 yards and a fumble, which he got absolutely laid out on, in a karma sort of play.  

If an NFL team is looking to go after him, they really need to get rid of his “greater than thou” mentality and get him to focus on football.

Cam Newton – Free Agent QB – New England Patriots

Now we switch almost to the exact opposite issue, on the field play rather than off the field.  While Cam Newton can get a little chippy at times, he is much more controlled with it.  The issue with free agent Cam Newton as of last season is his ability to throw the deep ball consistently, or accurately pass it outside screens and short passes.  Out of starting QBs, he threw the third to last amount of 20+ yard passes, behind Drew Brees and Jared Goff.  He also had one of the more obvious and glaring issues, which is his interception to passing TD ratio.  He had 10 interceptions all season, while only racking up 8 passing touchdowns all year. 

Looking at 10 interceptions, that really would not be that bad, if he threw the ball a lot more and they were on more receptions.  The issue is he runs a lot of the time, and those 10 picks were on pretty minimal attempts.  He had multiple instances this year where he got benched for Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer due to solely poor play.  

Cam could definitely do well in a few specific systems, however, they would have to be very run and defense intensive.  Not many teams run a system like this anymore, so his landing spots are minimal currently.  If he can find a solid spot, I think he could still be a reliable starter, just not passing much.

Patrick Peterson – CB – Arizona Cardinals

To wrap things up, we have a new NFL free agent Patrick Peterson.  This addition to the list is more speculation rather than actual issues in his game, however, it is still something to consider.  He has been pretty consistent to date, grabbing 3 interceptions, 61 tackles, and 8 passes deflected.  The issues start to show with his age and his ability diminishing as of late.

Despite having a solid stat line for a 30-year-old CB, this is mainly due in part to him doing a lot of the heavy carrying at that position for Arizona.  We need to look at him allowing a 67.1% completion percentage against him this season, and allowing 8.4 yards per target against him.  Keep in mind this is yards per target, not reception, so it’s every single time the ball is thrown his way.  For those interested, his yards allowed per reception is 12.5.  When the ball was thrown his way, he allowed a 98.2 passer rating, which is relatively poor as a CB1.

Overall, he could definitely still be a reliable option for a team needy for a CB, but he should definitely not be paid anything over the CB2 range.  Any team that does so would be asking for trouble, as they would have to deal with that cap hit if he keeps regressing hard. 

Who do you think should be avoided as a free agent? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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