Scout NFL Roundtable: Offseason Mistakes

What one offseason move did your team make that you think could be a mistake? That's the latest question we fired off to our Scout NFL Team Experts. Some of their answers may surprise you.

Matthew Postins,
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The trade for Jake Plummer is likely to blow up in Tampa Bay's face. But what's difficult to determine is what is worse. Is it trading for a player that likely will never play for the Buccaneers (which will likely cost Tampa Bay a seventh-round pick)? Or is it if Plummer actually does come to Buccaneers training camp and throws what has been a fairly quiet quarterback contest into potential chaos (and cost the Bucs a higher draft pick, to boot)? Either way, the move will cost the Buccaneers a draft pick, and they will likely get little in return for a player who seems content to hike the mountains of Colorado than play quarterback in South Florida.

Aaron Wilson,
Baltimore Ravens

Ideally, the Baltimore Ravens would have been able to retain right offensive tackle Tony Pashos, who's a more proficient run blocker than his replacement, converted backup left tackle Adam Terry. Obviously, keeping All-Pro linebacker Adalius Thomas would have been to expensive a measure, same thing with Pashos to some extent. One move the team could have made to improve the special teams is signing Alex Bannister to a veteran minimum contract. The guy is truly an ace at covering kicks.

Craig Massei,
San Francisco 49ers

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I'm not quite sure what to make of Ashley Lelie, and I'm wondering if the 49ers would like a do-over right about now on the two-year, $4.3 million deal they gave him as a free agent in March. I'm also wondering if the 49ers would have made that deal had they known that on draft weekend they'd be able to pick up veteran Darrell Jackson from the Seahawks and prospect Jason Hill in the third round.

Lelie comes with some baggage, and he hasn't done anything to distinguish himself in his first four months as a 49er, pulling a quad on one of the first routes he ran during the team's first spring practice, then sitting out the rest of the spring without showing any urgency to get back on the field. The 49ers had pretty much dropped Lelie into the starting lineup at split end after he was acquired, placing Jackson at flanker to compete with holdover Arnaz Battle, but perhaps it's not too subtle that Jackson now is listed as the team's starting split end as the team heads into training camp. 

Will Lelie sulk if he comes to camp as a non-starter and is asked to play a complementary role? If he does, I see it more likely he'll be cut than become a contributor.

Jon Scott,
New England Patriots

Let's see: Trading away the 1st-round pick (28th overall) for San Francisco's 1st-round pick in 2008 and their 2007 4th-round pick which the Pats used to get Randy Moss? Um, no. Signing Donte Stallworth? Nope.  Signing Adalius Thomas? You're kidding right? Trading 2007's 2nd- and 7th-round picks to Miami for Wes Welker? Not that either. Releasing Corey Dillon at his own request? Probably not. Letting Tully Banta-Cain sign a big deal with the 49ers? Hard to think that was a bad move.

So what was the Patriots biggest off-season mistake so far? In my opinion, it's the move to make Asante Samuel the team's franchise tag player instead of signing him to a long-term deal. With Samuel at one corner, Hobbs at the other and a host of reserves, the Patriots could be firmly on the path to Super Bowl XLII. Instead, there are a lot of questions in the secondary after all the moves that should have solidified the team as the Super Bowl favorite. 

Todd Korth,
Green Bay Packers

It's the offseason moves that the Packers did not make that could come back to haunt them. Green Bay's only signing in free agency was reserve cornerback Frank Walker (Giants). He is expected to serve as a nickel or dime back for the Packers on passing downs.

The Packers were close to trading for Randy Moss, but were beat out by New England on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. If Green Bay has problems on offense because of a lack of playmakers this season, the Packers will be kicking themselves for not doing more to get Moss.

Jerry Langton,
Indianapolis Colts

To be a Colts fan is to be a believer. You have to believe a lot of seemingly illogical things -- like there's never enough receivers, linebackers are pretty much interchangeable and defensive ends can come in any size -- and somehow, those strange propositions generally keep working. 

But even the most ardent Colts fan had to question trading the team's 2008 first-round pick for the right to draft Arkansas tackle Tony Ugoh. While everyone realizes that protecting Peyton Manning's backside is paramount, and it makes sense to have Tarik Glenn's eventual replacement in house, it was the coronation of Ugoh as left tackle apparent that raised eyebrows. 

An impressive athlete who has played well in short stretches, Ugoh has yet to show the consistency or stability essential for the line's most critical position. Just like Glenn back in 1997, Ugoh will start out at guard so the Colts can see if he's got what it takes. Let's hope he does.

John Crist,
Chicago Bears

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If there is one decision the Bears made in the offseason that may come back to bite them, it was allowing defensive tackle Ian Scott to leave via free agency.

Needless to say, letting Scott sign with the Eagles looks even more foolish now considering that embattled DT Tank Johnson was just released by the club after yet another run-in with the law. Now head coach Lovie Smith has to make a starter out of Dusty Dvoracek, Antonio Garay, or Anthony Adams next to Pro-Bowler Tommie Harris. Dvoracek missed his entire rookie year on injured reserve and is yet to take an NFL snap, Garay has never been as productive as his talent would suggest, and Adams was essentially benched by the 49ers last season after proving to be such a bad fit in their 3-4 scheme.

Scott is not much of a pass-rusher and doesn't necessarily fit the mold of what Smith looks for in a defensive tackle, but he is a solid run-stuffer and helped keep blockers away from All-Pro middle linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Alain Poupart,
Miami Dolphins

Several of the Dolphins' personnel moves this offseason were criticized (think Joey Porter, Ted Ginn Jr. over Brady Quinn, trading for Trent Green, trading Wes Welker), but I like pretty much all of those moves except for the size of the contract given to Porter.

But the one move the Dolphins might regret was letting go of starting tight end Randy McMichael. Yes, McMichael was a pricey player who seemed to underachieve, yet he remained a solid contributor on offense and a proven commodity. 

In his place, the Dolphins signed free agent David Martin away from Green Bay. Martin has intriguing potential as a pass-catching tight end, but he's also never been a full-time starter in the NFL and he also has a history of injuries. In other words, he's no sure thing.

McMichael may not have been as good and consistent as he should have, but he was at the very least a serviceable starter. If Martin doesn't become at least that, the Dolphins definitely will regret that move.

Michael Lombardo,
San Diego Chargers

The San Diego Chargers should not have traded four draft picks to move up in the second round for safety Eric Weddle. A.J. Smith gave up second-, third- and fifth-round picks in this year's draft, as well as a third-round pick in 2008. He would have been better off staying put and selecting safety Aaron Rouse, guard Manuel Ramirez and cornerback David Irons with those picks.

Under this scenario, the Chargers would have filled their need at safety while adding much-needed depth on the interior offensive line and in the secondary. Additionally, the team would have kept its third-round pick next year, which -- given Smith's track record -- would have certainly produced a very solid player.

Chuck Hixson,
Philadelphia Eagles

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The biggest question mark goes back to draft day when the Eagles moved out of the first round, dealing with division rival Dallas to make quarterback Kevin Kolb a surprise pick in the second round. 

Philadelphia could have made some nice picks by simply staying put at number 26, but if they were really serious about taking a quarterback with their first pick, they should have looked to move up just a little further. Brady Quinn fell to 22 - just four spots ahead of where the Eagles were picking - and would have been a better pick at the position. They also could have moved up to get Brandon Merriweather, who went to New England at 24. With an aging secondary, Merriweather would have been a nice fit in Philadelphia.

Instead, the Eagles have Kolb, who some believe wasn't even the best quarterback left on the board at No. 36. The deal did bring two additional picks which were used to pick up linebacker Stewart Bradley and free safety C.J. Gaddis, who helps in the secondary.

Tim Yotter,
Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings appear to have had one of their best drafts in a long time, but entering free agency with more than $30 million in cap space, they weren't able to make a huge splash because of the lack of top-end talent available. While they signed a few potential starters in free agency (WR Bobby Wade, TE Visanthe Shiancoe and S Mike Doss), there was one position – offensive guard – that went unaddressed despite the loss of interior swingman Jason Whittle and the mixed results with Artis Hicks at right guard last year. 

After signing left guard Steve Hutchinson in 2006 to a $49 million deal, the Vikings weren't in the market to equal that with contracts given to Kris Dielman or Eric Steinbach, but they missed out on a chance to compete for the services of lesser-paid potential starters like Cooper Carlisle or Ed Mulitalo. Depending on Hicks' play this year, their lack of aggressiveness in free agency or the draft at guard could come back to bite them.

Charlie Bernstein,
Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars weren't exremely busy in the offseason regarding free agency, and I agree with the moves they made, letting Kyle Brady and Deon Grant leave, signing Tony Pashos and Dennis Northcutt, among others. 

But during the NFL Draft, after they traded with Denver to move down from pick No. 17 to pick No. 21, they should have traded that 21st pick to Cleveland for their second-round pick and next year's first round pick, which was the same deal that Cleveland made with Dallas who picked 22nd overall.

Although I like the Jaguars' selection of Reggie Nelson at No. 21, the team would have recouped more value by trading out of the pick.  Cleveland's 2008 first-round spot would likely have given Jacksonville a top-ten selection since they pick in the top ten pretty much every year. And with two first-round picks in '08, the Jaguars would be in better position to draft a franchise quarterback, which they may need next year since Byron Leftwich is in the last year of his contract.

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