03-02-2005, 12:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
10 players to be wary of
The 10 players to be wary of on the free-agent market
Posted: Wednesday March 2, 2005 11:03AM; Updated: Wednesday March 2, 2005 12:04PM
Chris Hovan had a career-low 1.5 sacks last season, playing in only nine games.
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Things rarely work out neatly in NFL free agency, and the correlation between making big splashes and making the Super Bowl is tenuous at best. For every addition of a Jevon Kearse, who helped the Eagles in snap their NFC title game hex, there have been far more boondoggles along the lines of Hugh Douglas to Jacksonville.
There are both solid bets and risky propositions to be wagered on. Here are 10 free agents teams should be wary. (Click here to see 10 players who are the best bets.).
10 To Be Wary Of
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ Chris Hovan, defensive tackle -- He had the big reputation and got a lot of pub early in his career for being the Vikings' next John Randle, but it turns out his act didn't have much staying power. Hovan is nothing more than a reclamation project at this point, and if he does wind up playing for Arizona and his former Minnesota head coach Dennis Green, he's going to have to find a way to recapture some of the intensity and high-motor style of play that got him noticed out of Boston College in the first place.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ Reggie Hayward, defensive end -- We're not down on Hayward, an emerging talent who has totaled 19 sacks in the past two years for Denver. It's just that history says pass rushers will get overpaid in free agency, and they rarely produce at the same level they did for their former teams (see Kearse, Marcellus Wiley and, although he moved via a trade, Adewale Ogunleye). Hayward will get big money based more on potential than production, and that's always dangerous.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ Plaxico Burress, receiver -- Burress has all the tools in the world, but something seems to be missing from his game. If he combined Hines Ward's fire with his physical and athletic gifts, he'd be an unstoppable package. But Burress never was able to dominate in Pittsburgh the way he should have. Teams giving him a huge deal should consider themselves forewarned: Burress may not be cut from the No. 1 receiver mold, and may be more comfortable in a complementary role.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ Kevin Carter, defensive lineman -- Carter already has been overpaid once in his career -- when he was traded by St. Louis to Tennessee in 2001 -- but it's not likely to happen again. Entering his second decade in the NFL, Carter no longer can expect to be paid like a pass rusher, because he can't generate steady heat any more. He played well after being shifted inside to tackle full time last season, and that's where he can still help a team.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¢ Kurt Warner, quarterback -- Warner surprised me with how well he played in New York, helping the Giants get off to that strong 5-2 start. And it's true Eli Manning won only one game after he took over the No. 1 job. But Warner now thinks of himself as a clear-cut starting quarterback again in this league, and he's not. If he has enough protection and isn't asked to make things happen downfield, he's OK. If not, things can get ugly real quick. You worry that Warner may not take a No. 2 role quietly at this point.
2 of these guys we were rumored to be going after-figures.