NFL Free Agency is always a cautionary tale. Players reach free agency every year for a variety of reasons, but every player on the market comes with a "buyer beware" tag, at least to varying degrees. Teams that are the most desperate usually end up spending the most in NFL Free Agency, and how often does that really work out?
Looking back at the 2023 NFL season, a number of big-money free agents obviously didn't work out well for the teams they signed with. Maybe injuries played a factor, maybe the fit wasn't right, or maybe some of these free agents simply felt the grass would be greener away from their previous situation.
Who were the top three biggest NFL Free Agency busts in the 2023 season? Let's take a look at an unfortunate list...
1. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Las Vegas Raiders
Contract: 3 years, $72.75 million, $45M guaranteed
The Las Vegas Raiders were obviously hoping to lure Tom Brady to Sin City in 2023 as more than just a potential part-owner of the team. I think Josh McDaniels's master plan upon alienating franchise QB Derek Carr at the end of the 2022 season was to bring in Brady in 2023 free agency, but that obviously didn't turn out to be the case.
Brady officially retired, and with the bridge between Carr already burned, the Raiders had to turn to a backup plan. It was a familiar backup plan for former head coach Josh McDaniels, who may have been curious to see what a veteran Jimmy Garoppolo could do in his offense as the primary starter.
The Raiders gave Garoppolo a whopping $45 million in guaranteed money, a very risky move considering Garoppolo's lengthy injury history.
Garopplo ended up being a total bust with the Raiders, posting his lowest QB rating as a pro at 77.7 and throwing seven touchdowns compared to nine interceptions. He effectively played just six games for the Raiders as well, and $45 million for just six games? Yikes.