BY: RYAN KROLL
In the NFL, March marks the beginning of free agency. Teams sign free agents to improve their rosters. Sometimes that works out well, other times not so much.
Here's a look at some of the best:
In 2004, free-agent quarterback Drew Brees, coming off a serious shoulder injury, signed with the New Orleans Saints. The team was dealing with a devastating season. Hurricane Katrina forced them to play their home games in San Antonio and Baton Rouge instead of New Orleans. Brees helped the struggling team reach its first NFC Championship Game in 2006 and win the Super Bowl three years later. Brees ranks in the top five all-time in career pass attempts, yards and touchdowns.
In 2012, despite a neck injury that kept him on the sideline the previous season, quarterback Peyton Manning was one of the most sought-after free agents. He signed with the Denver Broncos and earned the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2012. A year later, he had a record-setting MVP season and led the Broncos to a Super Bowl appearance. He ended his career with a victory in Super Bowl 50.
In 2006, the Arizona Cardinals signed aging quarterback Kurt Warner, primarily as a mentor to rookie Matt Leinart. Warner ended up beating out Leinart for the starting job. In 2008, the Cardinals secured the NFC West division title and a playoff berth. Warner went on to lead the Cardinals to the first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
While some free agents work out well for a team, others can have the opposite effect.
At 27 years old, defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth hit the market after posting a career-best 41 tackles and 8.5 sacks. He signed a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Washington Redskins. Haynesworth only posted a combined 6.5 sacks in two seasons before getting traded to the New England Patriots for a mere fifth-round pick.
In 2011, the Philadelphia Eagles signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to help boost their secondary. Asomugha was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Oakland Raiders, but he struggled to adjust to the Eagles' defensive system and lasted just two years.
Brock Osweiler posted a series of solid games at quarterback for the Denver Broncos that led to him signing a four-year, $72 million contract with the Houston Texans in 2016. He lasted only one season. Osweiler was extremely mediocre, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. The Texans traded him to the Cleveland Browns, throwing in two draft picks just to get Osweiler's contract off the books.