On Tuesday, we discussed the best free-agent move in the NFC North.
Now, NFC North reporters Rob Demovsky (Green Bay Packers), Ben Goessling (Minnesota Vikings), Michael Rothstein (Detroit Lions) and Michael C. Wright (Chicago Bears) look at the other side -- the worst free-agent moves in the division:
Demovsky: I know Rothstein said yesterday that the Bears' signing of Pernell McPhee was the best free-agent move in the division. Mike, I have to disagree with you. The Bears are giving McPhee $15.5 million in guaranteed money as part of a five-year, $38.75 million deal. For a part-time player, it sure looks like they overpaid. Remember, McPhee played only 47.2 percent of the defensive snaps last year for the Baltimore Ravens despite being available for every game. Sure, you could say he maximized his opportunities, getting eight sacks (including playoffs) while playing less than half the time. The Bears were desperate for defensive help as they convert from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme, but this is what happens in free agency when teams are desperate. They overpay.
Goessling: For me, it's the Bears giving $10 million guaranteed to wide receiver Eddie Royal after trading Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets. I get the Bears needed another target for Jay Cutler, and Royal will, in theory, be the No. 2 receiver behind Alshon Jeffery. But Randall Cobb -- who's four years younger and coming off a 91-catch, 1,287-yard, 12-TD season -- only got $3 million more guaranteed than a guy who's never crossed the 1,000-yard mark in the NFL. The four clubs in the NFC North largely stayed out of the deep end of free agency, so even a deal like this isn't going to be a killer. But that price seems to be a little too much.
Rothstein: No team in the league went overboard with free-agent moves but Chicago signing Ray McDonald was poor for a lot of reasons. McDonald has not been charged with a crime but has been suspected of domestic violence twice in the past year. That alone should be a red flag for any franchise choosing to bring McDonald in, but the way the Bears justified the signing was somewhat baffling. Saying they were impressed by talking with McDonald's parents and that he was willing to pay his own way on a flight to Chicago, for someone who has pulled in more than $5 million over the past three years, doesn't really mean much. I'm fine with second chances in a lot of cases, but this seems like a big risk for a franchise with a new coach, new general manager and a franchise trying to instill a new thought process.
Wright: Scroll through Minnesota's moves thus far in free agency and just pick one. It's fine to bring aboard low-profile players to compete for roles. But in this case, the head coach had three years of experience coaching safety Taylor Mays in Cincinnati. So Mike Zimmer should know Mays might "compete" for a starting job, but it's probably more likely he'll spend 2015 in Minnesota as a backup. Safety was a position of need for the Vikings, yet they brought in a player who started just four games in Cincinnati playing for Zimmer (10 starts total over five years in the NFL). Mays will help on special teams, could moonlight at linebacker and knows Zimmer's system. But this just doesn't look like an impact signing from this vantage point.