More than 200 players have signed new contracts this NFL offseason. Some will flourish, some will make no difference at all, and others will flop spectacularly. Here are the newbies most likely to fail in 2020.
Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers: Come on. The old man’s passer rating plummeted by 17 points in his age-38 season. Maybe he can be revived by some familiar coaches and stronger pass protection in Indy, but there’s a better chance Rivers is toast.
Cincinnati Bengals CB Trae Waynes: The former first-round pick has accomplished nothing in five shaky, inconsistent seasons, and yet he somehow landed a deal with a $14 million average annual salary in Cincy. The Bengals were trying to impress presumed top pick Joe Burrow by showing them they know how to participate in free agency, but instead they embarrassed themselves.
Detroit Lions OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai: You get the sense the Lions think they’ve secured a rising stock just before it takes off, but Vaitai is overrated. He has started just four games over the last two years and has always been an inconsistent pass-blocker. He won’t deliver on the expectations created by a ridiculous five-year, $45 million deal.
New York Jets OT George Fant: I don’t know what in the world drove the Jets to give an eight-figure salary to an undrafted offensive lineman who was literally never a reliable or productive player in his four years with the Seattle Seahawks, but there’s no way this pans out. Fant isn’t even worthy of a prime backup job.
New York Giants CB James Bradberry: Good, not great player. Never been consistently reliable. Never been to a Pro Bowl. And yet now he’s the fourth-highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. With a lack of support in New York, he’s destined to disappoint.
Miami Dolphins CB Byron Jones: The five-year veteran has been to one Pro Bowl and has two career interceptions, but the Dolphins gave him $16.5 million a year and $54.4 million guaranteed. He’s not a game-changer, which will make it almost impossible for him to live up to that salary.
Denver Broncos RB Melvin Gordon: Sadly, the Broncos will feel pressure to play Gordon because he’s making $8 million a year. But that will backfire, because he’s not as good as Phillip Lindsay, and maybe not even Royce Freeman if the 2018 third-round pick can take a step forward. He’s averaged 4.0 yards per carry just once in five seasons. Tremendously overrated player.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady: The expectations couldn’t be higher, but precedents and trends suggest Brady will run out of gas. That’s if he hasn’t already. Over the final seven regular-season games of his New England career, the 42-year-old completed just 55.4 percent of his passes, posted an 80.9 passer rating, and had a 5.9 yards-per-attempt average.