Thursday, June 9, 2011
Bengals and Browns free-agent busts
By James Walker
There is a reason the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens have been able to win Super Bowls and have tremendous success coming out of the AFC North. Part of it is due to the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals making poor personnel decisions.
On Thursday Football Outsiders provided its top 10 most disappointing free agents, and three on the list were from the NFL's two Ohio teams.
Coming in at No. 8 was Cleveland's infamous decision to sign receiver Andre Rison in 1995. At the time the Browns made Rison the highest-paid at his position by giving him a five-year, $17 million contract. Rison quickly became a bust in Cleveland and flamed out after one season.
No. 4 on the list was a more recent signing by the Browns. Last year Cleveland needed a quarterback and vastly overpaid for veteran Jake Delhomme, who was released by the Carolina Panthers due to poor performance. The Browns paid Delhomme $7 million last season to throw for just 872 yards, two touchdowns and seven interceptions. By midseason, Delhomme was either injured or holding a clipboard for rookie quarterback Colt McCoy, and Delhomme likely will be released before Cleveland pays him another $5.4 million this season.
No. 3 on the list was the Cincinnati's signing of free-agent receiver Antonio Bryant to a four-year, $28 million contract in 2010. Despite persistent knee problems the season before, Cincinnati's medical staff overlooked Bryant's issues and gave him $8 million up front in guaranteed money. But Bryant was never healthy enough to play football last year, and the Bengals cut their losses by releasing Bryant before the regular season. The Bengals essentially paid Bryant $8 million to never play a single down in Cincinnati.