NFL: Make It or Break It

NFL free agents come in all positions, costs, and ages. The difference between a free agent’s soon-to-be failure or success depends on multiple variables. However, players that are getting paid for the first time will most likely have trouble pleasing that contract. Not to mention the hype they have to live up to, as well. The only way you can truly “earn” the big bucks is by being the best player in the league at your position. The free agency period generally set the record for highest contracts due to the revenue of the league expanding. This causes the salary cap to rise, which leads to bigger contracts.

Choosing an NFL Team in Free Agency

Mario Williams, NFL, Free Agency

Mario Williams signed a contract with the Miami Dolphins earlier in free-agency.

A player that re-signs with a team is more likely to succeed in the NFL, than a player that signs with a new team. Especially if it is his first time changing teams in over 7 years. Players are required to wait 3 years after their high school graduation before they can apply for the NFL draft. If drafted, then they have 4 years before becoming an unrestricted free agent and hitting free agency for the first time. Choosing your team shows a lot about an individuals character.

Rarely do players that sign for the most money end up succeeding the most in the NFL. Defensive lineman have been the biggest disappointments. Their conditioning is usually the problem. Most lineman don’t have the most disciplined diets and when they get paid, they eat! Think Albert Haynesworth and Mario Williams and their $100 million contract . Even this past year, Ndamukong Suh and his lucrative contract. Regardless of how well he played, there was no way he could fulfill the “hype” of his contract.


Learning a new scheme, new teammates tendencies, getting acclimated to a new city and weather all play important roles in the transition a player faces when signing with a new team in the NFL. Not that the transition can’t be made, though. Numerous players have been great off-season signings. However, it’s more than likely they don’t return to the dominant player they were the year prior. Players entering their contract year understand this and prepare themselves for the upcoming season as an opportunity to financially take care of themselves and their families.

The best free agent signings tend to be short term deals where the player has to prove him self once again. Contracts that are short in years (1-2 years) usually result in players coming into camp in shape and more determined than ever.

Look for the players who signed short term, one-year “prove it” deals to be landing even more money next off season. Some of the players on my radar for the upcoming year are:

Junior Gallete – A blown Achilles and off-season trouble have caused the talented pass rusher to miss the previous season, currently looking for a one year prove it deal.

Prince Amukamara – An injury-riddled start to his career in New York led him to sign a one year deal with the Jaguars, who are having a great off-season after building on last years young success.

Mark Barron – The former first-round pick of the Buccaneers has found his niche as the weak side linebacker for the Rams, who get another year to see him prove his worth with a one year deal.

Brian Quick – The former second round pick out of Division 1 – AA Appalachian State may need another year to transition to the NFL before utilizing his natural physical skills. The rams re-signed him to a one year deal.  

Amini Silatolu- The former 2nd round pick has been hampered by injuries since making the all- rookie team in 2012. He will now look to sign a short term deal to prove he can still play at a high level.