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Top 10 'buyer beware' free agents
Sean Smith,Reggie Bush, Cary Williams among free agents teams should avoid
Originally Published: February 6, 2013
By Khaled Elsayed | ESPN Insider
Getty Images,USA TODAY SportsSean Smith, Reggie Bush and Cary Williams could get big bucks this offseason.
In NFL free agency, it's important to exercise discretion when making moves. Sometimes the moves you don't make can be more significant than the ones you do. Even if your team needs an upgrade at a position, paying top dollar in an inflated market for a player can be costly. Years down the line, it is those big flops that hurt a franchise unable to rebuild as it lives out its impetuous mistake of trying to find a quick fix.
So which players come with a "buyer beware" tag in 2013? Here are the top 10 when viewed through the Pro Football Focus prism.
Note: More detailed explanations of the advanced statistics used below can be found here.
DefenseCary Williams, cornerback
2012 team: Baltimore Ravens
If reports are to be believed, Williams bet on himself by turning down a three-year, $15 million contract from the Ravens last year. Two postseason interceptions, to go with four in the regular season (along with 11 pass deflections), might suggest that was a wise move from Williams.
But watching the tape a little closer doesn't leave you quite as impressed. Williams gave up 39 first downs in the regular season and six more in the postseason, meaning his combined 45 first downs surrendered were the second highest of all cornerbacks. He wasn't a shutdown corner but rather someone teams moved the chains on. He may be looking for top cornerback money, but teams shouldn't be fooled into thinking he is one.
LaRon Landry, safety
2012 team: New York Jets
On the back of what ended up being a Pro Bowl season, Landry has positioned himself to get paid. He won't be taking a hometown discount with the Jets because in his eyes his stock is at an all-time high after he proved he could handle the rigors of an NFL season by playing 96.6 percent of the Jets' defensive snaps.
Only the tape doesn't back up his performance. Eighty-eight tackles represent a big number, but his 4.7 run stop percentage was only 14th among safeties despite his spending 46.2 percent of his snaps in the box. He also got beat for 16 first downs and four touchdowns, the 11th-highest number of all safeties in coverage. Sure Landry can put a big hit on a receiver at times, but don't let those big plays fool you. He's not an elite, difference-making player, and he misses too many tackles (his 13 were 12th highest among safeties).