Even though it’s been seemingly unfolding (unofficially, for the most part) for days, the NFL’s 2021 free agent market truly opens at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday when the new league year begins – and players with expiring contracts can officially switch teams and trades can officially be processed, allowing Matthew Stafford to finally join the Rams and Carson Wentz to onboard with the Colts.
But though free agency is often a good way to supplement a roster, it’s also historically served buyer-beware lessons – especially to teams that tend to be overly reliant on quick-fix approaches.
Here are 21 free agent busts over the years who might just give GMs pause before they dole out that next mega-contract:
21. S Earl Thomas, Ravens
Once a valued member of the Legion of Boom, he eventually wore out his welcome in Seattle. Thomas was subsequently lured to Baltimore with a four-year, $55 million offer in 2019. In fairness, he made the Pro Bowl in what turned out to be his final NFL season but was embarrassingly trucked by Derrick Henry in the top-seeded Ravens’ stunning playoff ouster to the Titans. Baltimore cut bait the following August after Thomas punched teammate Chuck Clark in practice.