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10 NFL free agents who could be fool's gold

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 2/13/2019 Seth Trachtman, Yardbarker
a person standing in front of a crowd © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

NFL fans are always excited about free agency, but not every signing works out for the teams. Here are 10 players who could be fool's gold in the 2019 free-agency class.

Ezekiel Ansah, DE

NFL teams salivate over elite pass rushers, and Ansah has certainly been that at times for the Lions. However, more recently he's struggled to stay on the field, with two sacks in 13 games during 2016 and four sacks in seven games last season. In between, Ansah had 12 sacks in 2017, but he's a massive risk for what's likely to be a big contract.

Le'Veon Bell, RB

Bell held out for all of 2018 and now expects to be the highest-paid running back in football. It remains to be seen if he will get the money he'd like, but James Conner's success in replacing Bell last season could be a huge red flag for some teams. Also, Bell averaged only 4.0 yards per carry in 2017 and has played a full 16-game season only once during his five-year career. For the price, this signing could turn into a disaster.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB

Bridgewater settled for a one-year deal last offseason but now one more year removed from a major knee injury, the former first-round pick figures to get more money and a shot at starting. Though, it should be noted that he really struggled while starting for the Saints in Week 17, albeit with other backups, and was far from spectacular as Minnesota's starter in his first two seasons. It would be foolish for a team to count on Bridgewater as its starter in 2019.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S

Clinton-Dix is a former Pro Bowl safety with the Packers and hasn't missed a game during his five-year career. Green Bay traded the former first-round pick seven games into the season partially because it wanted to look at the youth behind him. But it's still ominous that a team looking to make the playoffs would trade its former Pro Bowler less than halfway into the season for a fourth-round pick. Clinton-Dix's play had dropped off a bit in Green Bay, so there's reason for teams to be nervous.

Randall Cobb, WR

Cobb certainly isn't going into free agency at the height of his value, after playing only nine games last season due to injuries. Even before that, there were major signs the former Pro Bowler had lost a step after his breakout 2014 season. He hasn't reached 700 yards receiving since 2015, but with his past upside and ability to serve as a return man, Cobb could still get a significant contract. The signs of a rebound aren't great as he nears age 30.

Jared Cook, TE

Since free agency became a major part of sports, teams have had reason to be nervous about big numbers in players' walk years. Such is the case with Cook, who had a career year in 2018 with 896 yards receiving for the Raiders. It should be noted that the team didn't have many other weapons, especially after trading Amari Cooper midway through the season. Cook will be 32 in April and has disappointed after getting a big contract in the past.

Dee Ford, OLB

Ford struggled to reach his potential as a former first-round pick until his fifth season in 2018. He made the Pro Bowl after recording a career-high 13 sacks and 55 tackles, along with a league-high seven forced fumbles. The word on Ford was that he couldn't stay healthy before last season, so expecting a second straight year of health could be playing with fire.

Dante Fowler, DE

Teams are always willing to pay for upside, and Fowler certainly has that after being drafted third overall in 2015. He hasn't been as productive as hoped after an early-career knee injury but does have 16 sacks over three seasons between Jacksonville and the Rams. Fowler turns just 25 in August but has yet to prove he's worth big money.

Earl Thomas, S

Thomas will get big money from somewhere despite fracturing his leg early last season and burning bridges in Seattle. He's made six Pro Bowls and been an All-Pro three times in his nine-year career, but injuries have become a big issue for Thomas recently, as he is averaging less than 10 games per season over the last three years. Entering his age 30 season, Thomas is a major risk with a multiyear deal.

Daryl Williams, RT

Williams appeared in only one game last season due to a major knee injury after emerging as a 16-game starter for the Panthers in 2017. That's eye-opening, as Williams also had leg injuries during the first two seasons of his career. He will likely be looking for a big contract as one of the top tackles in a thin market, but Williams' history of injuries should give teams pause.

Related slideshow: Bold 2019 predictions (Provided by Yardbarker)


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