NFL: Preseason-Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints

The NFL offseason always has a mixed bags of signings and trades. Some signings are the difference between being a playoff contender and winning a Super Bowl, while others can go in the reverse direction. Playoff teams can go from missing the postseason altogether or bad teams can get even worse with a poor offseason move (or two). 

These poor offseason moves are part of the reason why these teams aren't as good as they were the year prior -- or just not a playoff team at all. Poor offseason moves are quickly judged and ridiculed thanks to these teams paying these poor contracts for several years, affecting their salary cap space and ability to become a contender. 

Of all the players who signed as free agents with new teams or were acquired via trade, here are five examples who didn't pay off:

5. Titans sign Andre Dillard

  • Contract: Three years, $29 million

Dillard had trouble getting on the field with the Eagles in his four seasons in Philadelphia, with the former first-round pick eventually becoming a valuable backup tackle who could only play the left side. The Titans took a chance on Dillard and gave him starting tackle money, allowing him to protect Ryan Tannehill's blind side.

Dillard has been anything but a blind-side protector. 

Starting eight of 13 games, Dillard has allowed 11 sacks and 34 pressures in 251 pass-blocking snaps. That's a sack rate of 4.4% and pressure rate of 13.5%. Dillard is tied for the most sacks allowed in the league this season and has the highest pressure rate allowed. 

The Titans thought they were getting taylor Lewan's replacement. Instead, Dillard was benched in October. 

4. Giants trade for Darren Waller

  • Trade acquisition: Giants get Waller from Raiders for 2023 third-round pick 

The Giants made a few poor offseason moves in regards to their offense, but it seems like Waller has been on the injured list more often than on the field. Waller has played nine games this season, having 40 catches for 424 yards and a touchdown.

Waller returned in Week 15 after missing over a month with a hamstring injury, the same hamstring that bothered him throughout the 2022 season as a member of the Raiders. The hamstring injury has lingered for Waller all season, as he doesn't have a 100-yard game and has not given the Giants offense the boost it so desperately needs.

The Giants are 31st in the league in scoring offense and now owe a soon-to-be 32-year-old Waller a $14.46 million cap number in 2024 (three years left on Waller's deal). They have a decision to make with Waller this offseason. 

3. Chiefs sign Jawaan Taylor

  • Contract: Four years, $80 million

If the Chiefs thought they were getting a replacement for Orlando Brown (who departed for the Bengals), they received the opposite. Taylor ended up moving to right tackle for the Chiefs, being moved there after a brief experiment at left tackle failed, forcing the team to pivot to Donovan Smith

The numbers at right tackle haven't been good. Taylor has allowed four sacks and 34 pressures in 585 pass-blocking snaps, or 18 more pressures than he had all of last season. The pressure rate allowed per dropback of 5.8% is the highest for Taylor since 2020, while also allowing seven quarterback hits this year compared to none in 2022. 

The Chiefs are still on the hook for $24.73 million for Taylor in 2024. They better hope he gets better. 

2. Saints sign Derek Carr

  • Contract: Four years, $150 million

New Orleans wanted an upgrade at quarterback over Jameis Winston, as the Saints failed to make the playoffs for two consecutive years thanks to erratic quarterback play and numerous injuries to the position. Based on how Carr has played in Year 1 with the Saints, Winston or Andy Dalton might have been better.

Carr has completed 67.4% of his passes for 3,417 yards with 19 touchdowns to eight interceptions for a 93.6 rating. The numbers aren't bad on the surface, but Carr didn't have a game with three passing touchdowns until Week 15 and has four games in which he didn't have a passing touchdown. He had a three-touchdown game in Thursday's loss to the Rams, but two came during garbage time. 

The Saints are 10th in the NFL in scoring offense (22nd last year), and are still alive in the mediocre NFC South race with a 7-8 record. With an easy schedule and poor division, the team isn't any better with Carr as the quarterback.

Carr has put up decent numbers, but the Saints haven't significantly improved with him. The Saints aren't a Super Bowl contender and owe Carr a cap number of $35.7 million next year (this is a team that has to free up a significant amount of cap money every year). 

The Saints are stuck with Carr, and could be mired in mediocrity as a result. This is why a coaching change could be on the horizon. 

1. Wide receivers Jets signed

  • Randall Cobb contract: One year, $3 million
  • Allen Lazard contract: Four years, $44 million
  • Mecole Hardman contract: One year, $4 million

What a disaster of a season for the Jets, wasted away after four plays when Aaron Rodgers ruptured his Achilles and was lost for the year. New York revamped the wide receiver position to get players familiar with Rodgers, signing Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb while also adding Mecole Hardman in free agency.

The quarterback play has been abysmal, but neither of those free agent signings have been difference-makers. Lazard has 23 catches for 311 yards and a touchdown in 13 games. He has four catches for 38 yards in his last five games. Cobb has four catches for 35 yards for the whole season!

Hardman had one catch for 6 yards in six games before he was traded back to the Chiefs. For those keeping score at home, that's 28 catches for 352 yards and two touchdowns this season! That's $51 million in total contracts for those three players.

The Jets have an embarrassing offense without Rodgers, as these receivers were signed to play with their franchise quarterback. Based on what they were paid, Lazard, Cobb and Hardman had to be better. They just simply were awful.