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TSN.ca's top ten NFL free-agent busts of all-time

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Mike Hetherington, TSN.ca Staff
3/11/2014 5:11:25 PM
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As free agency officially opened in the NFL on Tuesday at 4 pm et., TSN.ca presents the top ten free-agent busts of all-time in the league.

10. RB Ahman Green – Houston Texans

What they saw: Green was coming off a 1,000 yard season, his sixth in seven years, entered free agency in 2007. He showed terrific downhill running ability playing with Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.

What They Got: Needing a feature running back, the Texans handed Green a four-year $23 million contract. Plagued by injuries Green had just 260 rushing yards in his first season with the Texans and 294 in his second.  He was cut after two seasons with the team.

9. CB Larry Brown – Oakland Raiders

What they saw: Brown and the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX. Brown had two interceptions for the Cowboys and was the first corner ever to be named Super Bowl MVP.

What they got: After the Super Bowl, Brown hit the open market and was given a five-year $12 million deal from the Raiders. Brown was released after just two seasons with the team, he had just one interception in 12 games.

8. WR David Boston – San Diego Chargers

What they saw:  Boston missed half of the 2002 season, but had posted a 1,500 yard season in 2001, which was enough to create a market for him in free-agency.

What they got: The Chargers signed Boston to a seven-year $47 million contract in 2003. In his first season with the team he caught 70 balls for 880 yards and seven touchdowns.  Despite decent production, Boston clashed with his coaching staff and traded to Miami prior to the 2004 season.  He lasted two seasons with the Dolphins.

7. CB/KR Deion Sanders – Washington Redskins

What they saw: One of the most exciting players in football. Primetime was a shutdown corner and ace kick/ punt returner with the Cowboys, he even spent time at wide receiver. Sanders' Dallas highlight reel is as diverse as any player of you will ever see.

What they got: The Redskins signed Sanders to a seven- year $56 million contract with an $8 million signing bonus in 2000. What they got was the 33-year-old version Sanders, who was a shell of his former electric self. Sanders had four interceptions on defence and no return touchdowns in 16 games.  After the season Primetime announced his retirement (he would later return in 2004 with the Baltimore Ravens, but that's a different story).

6. QB Neil O'Donnell - New York Jets

What they saw: O'Donnell appeared to be a solid starter with the Steelers, he posted 37-16 record in his previous four seasons and 17 touchdowns to seven interceptions in his final season with the club.

What they got: The Jets released Boomer Esiason after the 1995 season and went after their next franchise quarterback, O'Donnell. They signed him to a five-year $25 million deal. Things didn't go well for O'Donnell in his first season with the Jets, he went 0-6 with four touchdowns and seven interceptions.  He went 8-6 the next season with 17 touchdowns and seven picks, however the Jets decided he wasn't their man and cut him after just two years.

5. WR Javon Walker – Oakland Raiders

What they saw: A wide receiver, who, when healthy, could create mismatches and get deep for their divisional rival, Denver Broncos.

What they got: The Raiders believed signing Walker to a six-year $55 million contract in 2008 was a win-win; he boosted their passing attack and weakened the Broncos. Walker, however didn't add much to their passing attack, appearing in eight games Walker caught 15 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown. Walker appeared in just three games for the Raiders in the following season, catching no passes.  He was released after that abysmal season.

4. WR Andre Rison - Cleveland Browns

What they saw: Rison entered free agency with 5,633 receiving yards and 56 touchdowns in his last five seasons, he was seen a proven receiver.

What they got: “Bad moon” Rison, one of the greatest nicknames of all-time, which, apparently, was worth $17 million over five years. Rison had just 47 catches for 701 yards in first season and the relocating-Browns released the wide receiver. He registered a 1,000 yard season just once in his final five NFL seasons.

3. QB Jake Delhomme - Carolina Panthers/ Cleveland Browns

What the Panthers saw: In 2008, Delhomme went 12-4 with 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in the regular season. However, Delhomme had a brutal playoff performance against the Arizona Cardinals, when he threw five interceptions and just one touchdown as the Panthers were blown out 33-13.

What they got: Despite not being a free-agent, the Panthers were sure Delhomme was their man and decided to prove it with a five-year $42 million contract with $20 million guaranteed. Unfortunately the Delhomme the Panthers saw in the playoffs was there to stay. He threw eight touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 11 games in 2009, he was benched and eventually released after the season.

Browns tenure: Despite seeing Delhomme's struggles in Carolina, the Browns decided to sign the quarterback in free agency in 2010. The Browns signed Delhomme to a two-year deal, worth $7 million in his first season. In that season, Delhomme battled an ankle injury and went 2-2 appearing in just five games. He threw two touchdowns and seven interceptions that season. Once the season was finished the Browns cut Delhomme. Between the money owed to him by the Panthers and money made from the Browns, Delhomme made $19.7 million in 2010.

2. S Adam Archuleta – Washington Redskins

What they saw: Archuleta was coming off five seasons as a starter with the St. Louis Rams where he had 13 sacks, three interceptions and 304 tackles.

What they got: The Redskins signed Archuleta to a seven-year $35 million contract with $10 million guaranteed in 2006, he instantly became the highest paid safety in the NFL. Unfortunately for the Redskins, Archuleta was not the playmaker they had hoped for. He only started seven games for the Redskins in 2006, not because he wasn't healthy, because he benched. After the season the Redskins traded him for a sixth-round pick and, an agreement to restructure his contract.

1. DT Albert Haynesworth – Washington Redskins

What they saw: Haynesworth was one of the most dominant defenders in the NFL when he hit free agency in 2009. He was coming off two straight All-Pro team selections and was due for a monster deal.

What they got:  He got that deal from the Redskins. Haynesworth signed a seven-year $100 million contract with $41 million guaranteed. Haynesworth was a major disappointment in his first season, he registered just four sacks and was suspended by the team for the final month of the season.

In 2010, Haynesworth showed up to training camp out of shape played in just eight games, starting none. He registered a career-low 13 tackles and just 2.5 sacks.  After the season the Redskins traded Haynesworth to the New England Patriots for a fifth-round pick. The Patriots waived him during the season.

After his time with the Redskins, head coach Mike Shannahan said Haynesworth was "lazy, lacking character and lacking passion."

Jake Delhomme (Photo: David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images)

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(Photo: David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
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