A sweet and sour truth of NFL free agency is that teams will take gambles on certain players to win. Who are some of the biggest gambles of 2014?
Kenny Britt – St. Louis Rams
Head coach Jeff Fisher knew that his St. Louis Rams offense still needed more punch at wide receiver heading into 2014. At the same time, he didn’t have the money to go splurging in NFL free agency, so he settled for a high-risk/high-reward bargain in Kenny Britt. The 6’3″ athlete out of Rutger was drafted by Fisher in Tennessee and possesses so much raw talent. However, constant clashing with coaches and off-the-field problems have hampered his progress. Can the Rams trust him to help?
Julius Peppers – Green Bay Packers
Just based on the name alone, signing Julius Peppers sounds like a brilliant ploy for the Green Bay Packers. However, there is considerable risk involved. He’s 34-years old and coming off one of his worst seasons as a pro. There is no telling how much more even a freakish body like his can take at that age, especially since the Packers will be counting on him to kick up the pass rush opposite Clay Matthews.
Anthony Collins – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Considering how he played for Cincinnati in 2013, it made perfect sense for tackle Anthony Collins to seek out a starting job in NFL free agency and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave him that chance. Still, it doesn’t erase the fact that Anthony has never started a complete season at left tackle, which is what the Bucs will be asking of him in 2014. He’s in an unfamiliar offense on top of that in a division that will pit him against Greg Hardy and Cameron Jordan. That is a lot to overcome.
LaMarr Woodley – Oakland Raiders
Justin Tuck was an understandable signing by the Oakland Raiders in free agency. He’s coming off a double digit sack season and has two Super Bowl rings, making him a valuable commodity. The more interesting purchase for the Silver and Black was LaMarr Woodley. Not only has he failed to post double digit sacks since 2010, but he’s also missed 14 games in that span because of injuries. If that weren’t enough, the team is asking him to shift to defensive end after spending his entire career at outside linebacker. Quite a leap of faith by a team.
Brandon Browner – New England Patriots
One of the more curious cases in recent NFL history is corner Brandon Browner. A Pro Bowl player when he’s on the field, the massive 6’4″ cornerback has instead spent most of his time nearly ruining his career off it. Twice already he’s been suspended by the league for drug-related issues. That means getting caught one more time could mean a suspension for a full season. Such is the risk the New England Patriots have taken on him, hoping to put his talents across from All-Pro Darrelle Revis. The reward is obvious, but with Browner one always must hold their breath.