Barnwell’s least-favorite NFL free-agent signings: Where the Patriots got it wrong

    Bill Barnwell is a staff writer for ESPN.com.

Last week, we enjoyed the sunlight and talked about the best deals from the 2021 NFL free-agent period. More showed up after publish time on Friday, including a trio of one-year deals. I like the $3 million contract for Lamarcus Joyner to move back to safety with the Jets, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster’s $8 million return to the Steelers and the Broncos getting corner Kyle Fuller for one year, $9.5 million.

Unfortunately, not all of the free-agent signings were as promising as those contracts. I’ve been monitoring every deal, and I’ve picked out several of my least-favorite signings from the past week. In some cases, I think a team picked the wrong player. In others, I don’t love the structure, max value or guarantees on a contract. I also have one in which I think a team misread the market to come.

Of course, not everyone at ESPN has the same opinion, which is why my feelings on these deals might differ from those of our graders. I’ll try to explain why or what has me sour on a contract. I’m not going in any particular order, but let’s start with the most surprising spending spree in recent memory:


WR Nelson Agholor to New England

The deal: Two years, $22 million with the Patriots

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