Free agency is a time of big spending, big signings, and big hope. Will that big name, with all that money, perform up to the contract the team just handed him? Did the team overpay? Will the player be holding out a year from now, when he outplays the deal he just signed? Questions fly about every signing, nearly before the ink is dry on the paper.
For the Miami Dolphins, who have spent the last two free agency periods in spend mode, looking to add veterans to a young team, and a team that underperformed down the stretch last year, the number of questions surrounding the signings is not unexpected. While some of the signings are seen as great moves (Brent Grimes last year), some raise questions of value (Mike Wallace last year, Branden Albert this year). Then, there are the signings that simply do not work (Tyson Clabo last year - though he did get better in the second half of the season).
This year, one name has already started to bubble to the top of questionable signings. Miami added cornerback Cortland Finnegan to the roster on Friday, providing the secondary with a former Pro Bowl talent to pair opposite 2013 Pro Bowl selection Brent Grimes. The problem is, that "former" word dates back to 2008. Since then, Finnegan has fallen from Pro Football Focus' second highest rated cornerback in the league (2010, behind Darrelle Revis) to the 109th ranked player out of 110 this past season. (Coincidentally, Grimes was the second best cornerback in the league, according to PFF, again behind Revis.)
To be fair, Finnegan has battled injuries the past two seasons, including an orbital bone fracture that kept him out of the last nine games in 2013, and bothered him prior to that. Those injuries, however, could be a part of the problem - Finnegan is getting older. The Dolphins signed Finnegan with hopes that, if healthy, he will turn around his career, similar to Grimes, who signed a one-year contract with the Dolphins last season after tearing his Achilles tendon and looking as though his best days were behind him.
Yesterday, SB Nation's Jeff Gray ranked the five best and worst free agent signings so far. Finnegan, according to Gray, ranks among the worst moves. Of the signing, he writes:
Jeff Ireland is gone, but apparently not forgotten. Finnegan spent the last two seasons in St. Louis going through a steady decline, helped along by injuries and age. Pro Football Focus' charting stats credited him with allowing four touchdowns in fewer than 400 snaps last season. Naturally, the Dolphins gave him $11 million over two years, possibly hoping that he can provide some advantage on the field goading opponents into personal fouls.
What are your thoughts on the Finnegan signing? Will he be a bust, or do you think he can have an impact like Grimes?