AFC’s worst offseason moves: Raiders, Ravens will regret QB calls

    NFL teams typically offer rosy views of their offseason, touting outstanding drafts and impressive signings in free agency. But we’re here to throw cold water on those overly optimistic outlooks.

    We asked Yardbarker NFL writers to highlight the worst offseason move by each AFC team. A few of these may surprise you. 

    AFC East

    BUFFALO BILLS | Signing WR Curtis Samuel | With his impressive rushing ability, Samuel can be a dynamic piece in Buffalo’s offense, but he hasn’t done much in his career to warrant his three-year, $24M deal with the team. Samuel has only eclipsed 700 receiving yards once in his career (2020), which doesn’t exactly justify making him the 37th-highest-paid wideout in the NFL.

    MIAMI DOLPHINS | Not re-signing center Connor Williams | Although Williams could miss time in 2024 due to last year’s season-ending ACL tear, he’ll still likely be a more effective starter once he returns than free-agent signing Aaron Brewer. Williams is still a free agent and will likely start negotiating with teams once he’s further along in his rehab, so Miami should strongly consider bringing him back to improve its spotty O-line depth.

    NEW YORK JETS | Trading edge rusher John Franklin-Myers to Broncos | The Jets sent a reliable starter in Franklin-Myers to Denver for a 2026 sixth-round pick, which saved them just $7.3M in cap space. Franklin-Myers took a lower annual salary with Denver, signing a two-year, $15M deal, which only makes it more head-scratching that the Jets didn’t try to renegotiate his contract.

    NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS | Not spending more in free agency | New England may have lucked out by not giving WR Calvin Ridley a massive contract in free agency, but the Patriots missed a fantastic opportunity to bolster their roster in preparation for rookie QB Drake Maye’s arrival. Despite entering the new league year with the NFL’s most cap space, New England barely made any upgrades and now finds itself with the lowest projected win total among teams (4.5 games), per FanDuel Sportsbook. — Colum Dell

    AFC West 

    DENVER BRONCOS | Replacing safety Justin Simmons with Brandon Jones | The Broncos released two-time Pro Bowler Simmons and signed Jones to a three-year, $20M deal, a move that could prove to be a mistake. Jones only logged three interceptions in five seasons with the Miami Dolphins and has yet to make a Pro Bowl.

    KANSAS CITY CHIEFS | Trading cornerback L’Jarius Sneed | In March, the Chiefs dealt Sneed to the Tennessee Titans, creating a hole in their secondary. Sneed’s backup, Joshua Williams, may not be a viable replacement, as he has allowed eight passing touchdowns in two seasons.

    LAS VEGAS RAIDERS | Refusing to draft another quarterback | Following the draft, Raiders general manager Tom Telesco indicated they didn’t want to reach on a QB; however, intriguing prospects such as Spencer Rattler (New Orleans Saints) and Joe Milton III (New England Patriots) would’ve provided depth. Vegas QBs Gardner Minshew II and Aidan O’Connell are competing for the starting job, but neither looks like the answer.

    LOS ANGELES CHARGERS | Trading wide receiver Keenan Allen | In March, the Chargers dealt six-time Pro Bowler Allen to the Chicago Bears to save cap space. But Los Angeles should’ve considered keeping Allen and could regret this move if second-round pick Ladd McConkey from Georgia doesn’t become a No. 1 WR. — Clark Dalton

    AFC North

    BALTIMORE RAVENS | Not re-signing QB Tyler Huntley | If Lamar Jackson stays healthy, the Ravens won’t have to deal with the consequences of not re-signing Huntley, who joined division rival Cleveland. However, Huntley has played in 20 games since 2020, a hint Baltimore will eventually have to roll with journeyman Josh Johnson in place of an injured Jackson at some point.

    CINCINNATI BENGALS | Trading RB Joe Mixon | Mixon’s name has been tossed around as a potential trade candidate the past two years, but dealing him to the Texans for a 2024 seventh-round pick remains a head-scratcher. To make matters worse, the Bengals have only signed veteran Zack Moss to help fill the void left by the franchise’s third all-time leading rusher.

    CLEVELAND BROWNS | Signing LB Devin Bush | The Browns lost starting linebackers Anthony Walker Jr. (Dolphins) and Sione Takitaki (Patriots) in free agency and followed that up with signings of Jordan Hicks and Bush. Hicks is a reliable veteran, but it’s risky rolling with Bush, who continued to build his case as a first-round bust last season with just 37 tackles in Seattle.

    PITTSBURGH STEELERS | Trading WR Diontae Johnson | The Steelers got cornerback Donte Jackson, who will play opposite second-year CB Joey Porter Jr., in the deal with Carolina for Johnson, but filling one hole has opened up another. Pittsburgh still needs a No. 2 wide receiver to pair with George Pickens because new additions Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins are not the answer. — Aaron Becker

    AFC South

    HOUSTON TEXANS | Giving DE Danielle Hunter a $49M contract | The Texans wanted to upgrade their pass rush, but they lost 27-year-old DE Jonathan Greenard (12.5 sacks in 2023) to Minnesota in free agency. The Vikings are paying Greenard $5.5M less per season than what Houston is paying Hunter, and the latter will be 30 on Oct. 29 and is closer to the end of his career.

    INDIANAPOLIS COLTS | Drafting a pass rusher over cornerback in Round 1 | The Colts were tied for the fifth-most sacks in the NFL last season, so adding to a group that already produced at a high level was a luxury that came at the expense of the secondary. First-rounder Laiatu Latu, a defensive end, may turn into a perennial double-digit sacker, but defensive backs Quinyon Mitchell, Terrion Arnold, Nate Wiggins and Kool-Aid McKinstry would have made more sense in the draft given the high quality of WR groups Indianapolis must defend in the AFC South.

    JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS | Not re-signing WR Calvin Ridley | This one is twofold because losing Ridley makes the Jags’ offense weaker, and his joining the division-rival Titans was just pouring salt in the wound. Jacksonville compensated by signing Gabriel Davis and drafting Brian Thomas Jr. in the 2024 NFL Draft, but it took up two roster spots and invested more than $40M to replace one player.

    TENNESSEE TITANS | Failing to add another OT | Using the seventh overall pick on Alabama OT JC Latham and having OT Nicholas Petit-Frere for a full season will help. But Tennessee is still thin at tackle, with too many players who are a liability if called upon to start for a game or two. After shoring up guard and center, the Titans failed to deepen their biggest position of need beyond just drafting Latham. — Michael Gallagher

    Source link

    Related articles



    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Share article

    Latest articles


    Subscribe to stay updated.