Biggest Potential Busts of the 2022 NFL Free-Agency Class

Before NFL teams splurge on notable free agents, suitors should reconsider offers for some of the bigger names.

While we cannot always predict a poor scheme fit for certain veterans, other free agents disappoint after new deals because they’re often overvalued on the open market. 

A three-time Pro Bowler or recent All-Pro may have already played through his best years, but the flashy names, especially at key positions, will get the benefit of the doubt.

A player’s agent will try to negotiate the best deal possible for their client, but we’re going to give teams the warning signs to keep an eye on this offseason. 

Which veterans could command top-dollar salaries but may have a tough time delivering the production to match those deals? Based on recent performances, injury history and age, we’d avoid several free agents with strong bust potential.

LB Anthony Barr

Because of his resume, Anthony Barr may draw high-paying offers. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler who played a vital three-down role within the Minnesota Vikings defense for most of eight seasons, logging 495 tackles, 39 for loss, 17.5 sacks, 31 pass breakups and five interceptions.

However, Barr’s impact has trended down with age as he’s dealt with injuries over the past few years. Since 2018, the versatile linebacker has missed 25 outings—20 in the last two terms.

Though Barr had a decent 2021 campaign, recording 72 tackles, three for loss, 2.5 sacks, 10 quarterback pressures, five pass breakups and a career-high three interceptions, he’s probably headed for a steady decline going into his age-30 season.

Teams should be wary of signing a linebacker with a ton of wear and tear on his body (6,166 career defensive snaps) while coming off consecutive injury-riddled seasons. At a non-premium position, Barr isn’t worth a lucrative short- or long-term deal.

OT Trent Brown

Front offices will aggressively pursue players at premium positions, especially a Pro Bowl-caliber talent. Trent Brown has the ability to perform at a high level when he’s healthy, but his availability or lack thereof should ward off potential suitors willing to pay the big bucks for a quick fix at tackle.

In seven pro seasons, Brown has played through two full campaigns. Since 2019, he’s missed 24 contests while suiting up for the Las Vegas Raiders and New England Patriots. 

With the Silver and Black, Brown earned his first Pro Bowl nod, but even in that term, he sat out five outings. Though the 28-year-old dealt with health issues out of his control, the 6’8″, 380-pounder has also had to keep his weight under control. According to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, Brown tipped the scale at 400 pounds while in Vegas.

Despite Brown’s mammoth size and ability to line up at both tackle positions, he’s played for three teams with two stints in New England, which should raise a red flag for any club that might want to sign him on a long-term deal.

Author: Lucy Green