About a four months ago MattRichWarren presented us with his Buffalo Bills 2000s All-Decade Team series. And for about a month we voted on a series of poles to determine who was worthy of being on that team. But more often than not we also ended up complaining over
the limited sometimes horrible talent that we had to pick from for any given position. So it was about at the TE position that I thought "hey why don't we also vote on the worst players that played for this team over the last decade?" And so here we are.
Now just like MattRichWarren's series I have a few criteria for players to be eligible for this team. They had to have played in at least a full season's worth of games in this decade to be eligible. Starting is not requirement, but you do have to have played significant amounts of snaps in those games. That means that, for example, the Bills 3rd receiver might make the list, but a 4th or 5th stringer wont be considered. That means that we wont end up voting for 7th rounders that ended up playing 2 snaps. These are going to be real players that played real roles on this team over the last ten years. And just because a player ended up on the All-Decade team does not mean that you can't also be on the worst-decade team.
There's no denying that the lack of quality play over the last decade has hindered the bills' ability to sign good free agents to good contracts. More often than not we had to settle for a second or third tier player for first tier prices. And again, more often than not, that resulted in disastrous play on the part of those players. What I present to you here are what i consider the worst 4 free agent signings by the Bills over the last decade. Is it a coincidence that 3 of the 4 had something to do with the offensive line? I somehow doubt it. Here goes.
Eddie Robinson (OLB, 2002)
The Bills signed this seasoned vet (to put it kindly) before the start of the 2002 season in the hopes the he could bring stability to the starting LB corps in Buffalo. They got the starting part right, as he started 15 of 16 games that season, but the stability just wasn't there. The Bills failed to realize that his decreasing production with the Titans over the previous 2 seasons wasn't just because of his situation with the team. It was because he was getting old. Robinson had no business being in the NFL in 2002, and plays like this prove it.
Robinson mercifully retired after the end of the 2002 season.
Melvin Fowler (C, 2006-2008)
A good example of overpaying for the player, the Bills signed the former Browns and Vikings backup to a 3 year, $7.2M deal shortly after Trey Teague retired at the end of the 2005 season. He was signed to be the Bills long term starter at the position, but lost his starting job to (of all people) Duke Preston in 2008. He was simply awful as a run blocker and mediocre at best as a pass blocker. I for one was very happy when the Bills dumped him at the end of the 2008 season.
Robert Royal (TE, 2006-2008)
A better example of overpaying for a player, The Bills signed this perennial backup away from the Redskins in 2006 to a 5 year, $10M contract. The idea was to use this blocking TE to replace Mark Campbell ( player that almost made this list). In my opinion he neither blocked nor replaced Campbell with any efficiancy. The man probably dropped more balls than he caught in a Bills uniform, and while he was a blocker first, when Derek Fin can out catch you, you know your horrible. The Bills cut him after the 2008 season, 3 years into his five year contract, and 2 years too late in my opinion.
Derrick Dockery (LG, 2007-2008)
The mother of all over payments, the Bills signed Dock to a 7 year, $49M, $18.5M guaranteed, $13M signing bonus contract on the opening of free agency in 2007. His job was to make young LT Jason Peters look good by letting him concentrate on his own position. Instead he made Peters look good by making him cover two spots on the O-Line. Dockery just plain sucked at pass coverage, and while being a good run blocker, his abilities never came near what a player of his salary bracket should achieve on the field. The bills dumped him two seasons into his contract and replaced him by drafting Andy Levitre in the second round. And even though we've only seen Levitre play in 1 season of football, it's safe to say that Andy has done more for the Bills line in one season than Dockery did in two.
So there you have it, the 4 worst free agent signings of the decade. All 4 of these guys made me blow chunks while they were here and I couldn't be happier that they are gone!
If you disagree with these guys, by all means voice your opinion in the comments.