Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/13/12
Sometimes, despite all the talent and previous production in the world, a change of scenery can be the worst thing for a veteran NFL player. Just because a player appeared to be a future star with one team — and in one system — doesn’t mean he’ll be worth the enormous cost required to acquire him either through trade or free agency. On Monday, we saw the Atlanta Falcons — amid an 8-1 record, and their best start in franchise history — release defensive end Ray Edwards. The sudden cut may not have come as much of a surprise if you looked at his recent playing time, but given his monster five-year, $27.5 million contract, the transaction turned some heads. Edwards was a star in the making with the Minnesota Vikings, playing with a very talented defensive line,  across from Jared Allen and next to Pat Williams and Kevin Williams. It’s no wonder that Edwards, the youngest of the four starters, went largely ignored by opposing blockers on his way to eight sacks in 2010 and 8 1/2 in 2009. Edwards was one of the best pass rushers in the league those two years. He ranked 11th, second and seventh in 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively in total pressures among defensive ends. The fact that he played left defensive end — a position usually saved for better run defenders — made that even more impressive. Edwards’ success did not carry on to Atlanta, however. He ranked 30th among defensive ends in pressures in 2011 and 61st before his release in 2012. He also saw himself stripped from his starting role in Week 8 to reality TV star Kroy Biermann. No offense to the Falcons’ starting defensive line, but it doesn’t stack up to the 2000′s Vikings. With more attention given to Edwards, the more his pass rushing productivity disappeared. According to Pro Football Focus, Edwards still rated highly as a run defender, but he simply wasn’t worth the high price tag. Edwards isn’t an isolated case among high-priced acquisitions struggling in their new homes. Stanford Routt was recently waived after the Kansas City Chiefs gave him a three-year, $20 million contract this offseason. We’ve also seen Mario Williams struggle for the Buffalo Bills and Nnamdi Asomugha struggle in his transition from the Oakland Raiders to the Philadelphia Eagles. Williams got the richest contract ever for a defensive player — $96 million over six years with $50 million guaranteed — while Asomugha was signed by the Eagles in 2011 to a five-year $60 million contract with $25 million guaranteed. In Williams’ case, injuries have been a major problem. In Asomugha’s case, the Eagles assumed that the star cornerback would be able to transition smoothly from a strictly press-man cornerback to more of a jack of all trades zone defender. Needless to say, the acquisition has not been worth the cost associated with it. There have, of course, been positive veteran acquisitions over the last few years. Look no further than Peyton Manning in Denver, Brandon Marshall in Chicago or Cortland Finnegan in St. Louis. But for each one of those players, there’s also a Robert Meachem, BenJarvus Green-Ellis or Frostee Rucker that may have you scratching your head over why NFL decision makers thought those players were worth so much in the first place. Even though NFL teams have numerous pro scouts set up to decide whether a certain player can transition from one scheme to another, sometimes it just doesn’t translate. Mark Anderson was a wonderful 2011 pickup for the Patriots, but even before getting injured, he wasn’t panning out in 2012 for the Bills. Free agent acquisitions are much like draft picks. It’s essentially a 50-50 shot whether it will pan out or not. That’s even the case for dependable players like Green-Ellis, or truly elite players like Williams and Asomugha. NFL teams would be better suited to spend more on their own free agent players to keep them in town. The Patriots made a big decision in acquiring Aqib Talib for a fourth round pick at the trade deadline. Expectations are astronomical in New England, but if for one reason or another this deal doesn’t work out for New England, don’t be surprised. The Patriots have another major decision in the offseason over whether to pay up for Wes Welker, or let him hit the market. If he doesn’t get re-signed by New England, an NFL team must decide if they’re getting a Vincent Jackson or Brandon Lloyd, or if they will be getting a Chad Johnson or Steve Breaston. Welker looks great receiving throws from Tom Brady, but how will the 31-year-old look with a lesser quarterback in a new offense? That’s for NFL general managers to decide next year, but buyer beware.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with hip-hop star Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

RUMOR: Celtics sign Green, Zeller and two others to contract deals

Kevin Durant Thunder jerseys going for less than 50 cents in OKC

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

Orioles affiliate pay tribute to David Bowie on their jerseys

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker