NFL Free Agency: Christian Kirk and the 5 Worst Signings

The 2022 NFL free agency period didn’t disappoint at all. Money was tossed around at a record rate, with Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson lighting the quarterback market on fire. Davante Adams also inked a new contract after the Green Bay Packers sent him to the Las Vegas Raiders, which forced Tyreek Hill’s departure from the Kansas City Chiefs for a big payday.

The story goes on and on, and there will be a lot of new faces in other cities once the 2022 season begins. However, there have been some utterly atrocious deals in free agency. Let’s look at the five worst signings so far, and we all know who takes the cake as the biggest overpay.

5. Randy Gregory, Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos couldn’t bring back Von Miller and instead landed Randy Gregory. Just when it looked like Gregory was headed back to the Dallas Cowboys, he reversed course and decided to head to Mile High City.

Gregory is a big-time signing for Denver, who needed to add a pass rusher, especially with the way things have turned in the AFC West. But, this much money for Gregory is concerning for a few reasons.

First of all, Gregory has been suspended three times during his NFL campaign and missed a lot of games to begin his career. Secondly, he has missed 11 games over the past two seasons, which should be a red flag for most teams.

Gregory tied a career-high in sacks in 2021 with six across 12 games and the Broncos are sure hoping he can replicate that success in a new uniform. He is on this list because $14 million per season is a pretty penny for a 29-year-old pass rusher. But, perhaps the change of scenery works out for Gregory. Von Miller was pretty close to making this list, but he enjoyed another stellar run and was a massive part of the Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl victory.

4. Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks

What is happening in Seattle?

The Seahawks traded away Russell Wilson in a blockbuster deal and acquired a flurry of picks, Drew Lock and Noah Fant. So, Fant takes over for Gerald Everett, who headed to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Then, for some reason, the Seahawks signed Will Dissly to a three-year deal worth $24 million. Yes, really.

Dissly’s career stats are discouraging. He has posted 76 catches for 900 yards and nine scores in his four-year NFL career, and he had just 21 catches for 231 yards and a score in 2021.

Dissly is best suited as a blocker than a pass-catcher, so paying him $8 million a season is confusing, mainly because they acquired Fant. This is another confusing move by Seattle, and the only reason he is at No. 4 on this list is because of the lower salary than the rest of the guys.

3. Chandler Jones, Las Vegas Raiders

The overhaul in Las Vegas got off to a decent start. They traded for Adams and inked Jones to a costly deal. The Raiders also signed Maxx Crosby to a huge extension, and the duo of Jones and Crosby is a dangerous one.

However, Jones’ contract was undoubtedly surprising. He signed a three-year deal worth $51 million, with $32 million guaranteed. Jones did have an excellent 2021 season, totaling 10.5 sacks. In 2020 he played just five games and had one sack, but in 2019 he set a career-high with 19. It is also worth noting that half of Jones’ 2021 sack total came against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1.

Since coming over from the New England Patriots, Jones has been a force for the Cardinals, but they felt it was time to move on. On the other hand, even with Jones’ stellar play, this contract is a concern due to his age. He just turned 32 in February, and questions remain on whether or not he can replicate the success until the age of 34 or 35.

The Raiders could get the best out of Jones, especially with Crosby on the other side, but this contract feels like a bit of an overpay.

2. Marcus Mariota, Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons needed a quarterback after failing to win the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes and then traded away longtime starter Matt Ryan. Right after the Ryan trade, they brought in Marcus Mariota.

The former Oregon Ducks star reunites with Arthur Smith, his offensive coordinator during his tenure with the Tennessee Titans, so the signing makes sense. At first glance, Mariota’s contract looks like an overpay. But, the Falcons front office did a decent job of the language in this deal.

So, why is he on this list?

Well, who else was in the market for Mariota? Most of the QB-needy teams had either made trades or signed a QB. Jameis Winston was always going back to the New Orleans Saints, and it was basically the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks as the only options.

Apart from that, the Falcons seem destined to select a QB in Round 1 of the NFL Draft, with Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett emerging as serious options for Atlanta. Yet, the Falcons brought in Mariota. Let’s say Mariota plays well enough in 2022 and they decide to pick up his option in 2023 (which is a bit costly). That would mean the rookie sits for two years behind Mariota, which could do more harm than good.

Furthermore, the Falcons aren’t a playoff team and lack weapons on offense outside of Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson. They could’ve used that money elsewhere and just played the rookie in 2022 instead of getting Mariota.

Make no mistake, this could work out, and Mariota deserves another chance at a starting job. But the Falcons might have been able to wait around and sign him to a much cheaper one-year deal.

1. Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars spent a ton of cash this offseason, and it all started with Christian Kirk. They wasted no time adding a weapon for Trevor Lawrence and signed Kirk to a four-year deal worth $72 million, which could go up to $84 million depending on incentives.

But that is a massive overpay for Kirk. He has yet to produce a 1,000-yard season in the NFL, although he came close in 2021 (982 yards). Kirk plays most of the time in the slot, and that much money for a slot receiver is an interesting decision.

Kirk’s contract changed the entire landscape of the WR market; just look at what Adams and Hill got. Kirk could make this contract look like an absolute steal, but it probably won’t. Instead, the Jaguars will look back on this contract in a few years and ask themselves what they were thinking.

With that type of money, they could’ve made a run at an Allen Robinson II reunion or even a guy like Jarvis Landry for a much lower price. Kirk is far and away the worst signing of the 2022 NFL free agency period.

Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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