The 2023 NFL free broadcast period has been disappointing so far. Aside from speculation surrounding Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers, and a few notable additions, we haven’t seen many deals move the needle significantly. We’ll take a look at the key actors of the day who suffered the biggest losses – just as important as figuring out who won free agency.
Two teams make our list today, along with two positional groups. There haven’t been many ‘bad’ deals, but there have been missed opportunities or signs of a bad process. Let’s take a look at the day 4 losers with free desks.
Additionally, if you want to see how we felt about all of Wednesday’s moves, be sure to check out our Day 3 Free Agent losers.
NFL Free Agency Losers
Dalton Schultz and the tight market
The tight end market has taken an absolute beating so far, with only two fairly noteworthy deals. Despite receiving two-plus threats in Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki available for either team to bolster their offense, there was little traction for either to find a new home. It doesn’t help that both players can seemingly go back to their former teams.
The Cowboys seem uninterested in bringing Schultz back, as NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported that the team hasn’t even made him an offer. He aroused interest from his former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who now works with the Chargers, but that was about it.
MORE: NFL Free Agency Day 4’s numbers
Gesicki played for the franchise title in 2022, but was a total bust. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel took responsibility for Gesicki producing 362 yards on 32 receptions, saying “I better give him chances.” Consider this a missed opportunity.
The two biggest tight deals have gone to Hayden Hurst and Robert Tonyan. Hurst signed a three-year, $21.75 million pact with the Panthers. Tonyan was given just one year to be the Bears’ second tight end behind Cole Kmet.
The Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts continued to show support for former second-round pick Parris Campbell despite a series of horribly unfortunate injuries that limited his availability for three years. General manager Chris Ballard said he “still believes[d] in “Campbell prior to his breakthrough in the 2022 season. But when it came to pushing this free agency, Campbell joined the New York Giants on a one-year, $6.7 million deal.
The Colts also saw the Giants re-sign Darius Slayton. Allowing Campbell to leave after producing 623 yards and three scores as a 25-year-old is one thing, but the Colts lacked a replacement. There are only a limited number of fast play makers on the market, and Slayton was probably the most affordable quality receiver they could have added.
The old habits of the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers paid the price for their penchant for chasing certain names over guys who have been playing well lately. They released linebacker Myles Jack after another disappointing season from the veteran, saving $8 million in cap space. That is a good decision, but their mentality that led to the failed project is already visible again.
Pittsburgh reportedly interested in bringing back former edge rusher Bud Dupree if “he’s sane”, according to to ESPN’s Josina Anderson. Like Jack, Dupree has been out of service for years. His career effectively ended when he tore his ACL in his final season in Pittsburgh before the Titans foolishly signed him for a massive $82.5 million deal in 2021.
The Steelers need to stop chasing over-the-hill veterans and spending so much on the league’s highest-paid defense. They can’t shorten their way to the playoffs without more impactful talent.
The Veteran Linebacker Market
Jack wasn’t the only loser from the linebacker pool on Thursday. Former Seahawks and Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner is still on the market and has seemingly sparked little interest after pushing for his release from LA. Wagner is not bad at all, but he finally showed his age in the news coverage in 2022.
MORE: NFL Free Agency Day 4 Winners
More linebackers are stuck waiting for the phone to ring. Denzel Perryman, Zach Cunningham, Drue Tranquill, Devin Bush and Anthony Walker are quality players who can start tomorrow for a number of teams. However, the position sees a wider gap between the big players and stopgaps.
They may be waiting quite a while as the 2023 NFL Draft quickly approaches.