The NFL’s first wave of free agency is in the books. While some NFL contracts handed out over the past week were real bargains, others such as Christian Kirk’s massive deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars could lead to major headaches over the next few years.
The six worst deals of the first wave of NFL free agency
Look, Pro Football Network gets it. Some teams need to overspend to bring in “upgraded” talent to their historically unsuccessful franchises. But at some point, overpaying becomes bad business when a team spends Pro Bowl money on a perfectly nice role player.
Even teams with stellar cap space can bear the brunt of a bad deal, especially in years where money can outweigh talent in a numbers game. While everyone would like to believe that position battles in the offseason are all staged in earnest, the truth is that sometimes a brutal cap number can make the difference in a decision.
Below are six deals from the first wave of free agency that could lead to problems for teams down the road.
Christian Kirk, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Contract: Four-year, $72 million ($37 million guaranteed)
Listen, as much as this list is a slight against spending, it’s also the celebration of jobs well done by agents. Kirk’s agent, Zeke Sandhu, deserves a round of applause for this doozy of a deal. Kirk is making top-10 money despite never catching more than 80 passes in a season.
Kirk, at 26, has never been the top option in an offense or collected more than 1,000 yards in a season. Nevertheless, Kirk is making Pro Bowl-caliber cash for a Jaguars team that desperately needs a top-flight playmaker.
B.J. Hill, DT, Cincinnati Bengals
Contract: Three-year, $30 million ($13 million guaranteed)
The Bengals acquired B.J. Hill in a player-for-player swap with the Giants last season. The Bengals sent failed first-round pick Billy Price to the Meadowlands, and Hill became an under-the-radar contributor in their defensive line rotation.
Hill had a strong year with 50 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He’s a solid role player who should be a consistent part of the trenches in Cincinnati for a bit. That said, now he’s making more per year than veterans like Shelby Harris and Michael Brockers.
Cam Robinson, OT, Jacksonville Jaguars
Contract: Franchise tag, $16.7 million (fully guaranteed)
The Jaguars didn’t mess around with money even before the first wave of free agency, placing the franchise tag on left tackle Cam Robinson for a second consecutive year. While Robinson seemingly took a step back in performance last season, the Jaguars were content on paying him top dollar anyway.
Robinson wasn’t even in PFN’s Top 100 Free Agents list before he was tagged. And if the Jaguars like him so much, why not try to find a long-term deal that lowers his cap number?
The likely logic here by the Jaguars — flawed or not — is they have a homegrown veteran left tackle for at least another year. Thus, they can spend the first overall pick on Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson.
Bryan Anger, P, Dallas Cowboys
Contract: Three-year, $9 million (guaranteed money unreported)
Bryan Anger is coming off his first Pro Bowl and a phenomenal season at Jerry World. That said, he’s now making low-level starting running back money.
A reminder: Dallas just traded their best wideout for peanuts and let another key playmaker bounce to Miami for a reasonable contract. Yet, they are pretty cool with signing Anger, a solid if not spectacular punter, to a top-flight contract.
Anger is set to make more money per year than running back Josh Jacobs, a former first-round pick, averaged on his Day 1 rookie contract.
Foyesade Oluokun, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Contract: Three-year, $45 million ($28 million guaranteed)
Foyesade Oluokun led the league in tackles last year. So, with that being said, let’s talk about how he’s getting a nearly identical contract to Philadelphia Eagles pass rusher Haason Reddick, who is coming off back-to-back double-digit sack seasons.
Oluokun is a nice player, and he will fit in well with the Jaguars’ new defense. However, he’s not worth mid-level EDGE money.
Again, PFN understands the Jags’ need to overpay for talent. But Oluokun is now making more money per year than Shaq Thompson, Lavonte David, De’Vondre Campbell, and Jerome Baker. That’s wild, no matter how many tackles Oluokun packs on.
Will Dissly, TE, Seattle Seahawks
Contract: Three-year, $24 million ($10.34 million guaranteed)
When Will Dissly’s deal was reported, some got dizzy over the numbers. Again, PFN applauds his agent for this deal, but the Seahawks could regret it, even in the short term.
Dissly is coming off a season where he caught 21 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown. Now, he’s making more money than Darren Waller and Tyler Higbee.
Dissly has 76 catches for 900 yards and 9 touchdowns in his four-year career. In the 2020 season, Waller, who makes less than Dissly, had 90 catches for 1,196 yards and 9 touchdowns.
O.J. Howard, Hayden Hurst, and Tyler Conklin all signed for significantly less money than Dissly.