Best and Worst Free Agent Signings from 2018

We’re a few seasons removed from the 2018 offseason, so it’s a good time to reflect upon some of the best signings made that offseason along with some of the worst. All the players on this list have either finished the contract they signed in 2018 or been cut.

Best Signings

Allen Robinson to the Bears: 3 years, $42 million, $25.2 million guaranteed

Robinson made his move from Jacksonville to Chicago with a deal that made him the 12th-highest paid player–per AAV–at the wide receiver position in 2018. From 2018-2020, Robinson has been the most reliable piece of the Bears’ offense. He’s compiled 255 receptions for 3,151 yards, 17 touchdowns, while averaging 12.4 yards per reception. He’s finished top 15 in receiving yards in two of the last three seasons despite catching passes from three different quarterbacks over the length of his contract.

Where is he now?

Robinson was franchised tagged by the Bears following the 2020 season and will be playing on the franchise tag this upcoming season, which will be worth $17.88 million.


Eric Ebron to the Colts: 2 years, $13 million, $6.5 million guaranteed

After spending four seasons with Detroit in which the former first-round pick had no more than five touchdowns in any season, Ebron exploded in his first season with the Colts. He posted career highs in 2018 with 66 receptions, 750 yards and 14 touchdowns– the 14 touchdowns were more than he had combined in his four seasons in Detroit. This season alone arguably made Ebron’s contract–the 15th highest for his position in terms of AAV–worth it for Indianapolis. But he followed up 2018 with a mediocre 2019 season. He battled injuries in 2019 but still managed a career-high of 12.1 yards per receptions in 11 games.

Where is he now?

Following the 2019 season, Ebron hit free agency again and signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers for 2 years, $12 million.


Mike Pouncey to the Chargers: 2 years, $15 million, $10 million guaranteed

After seven years in Miami, Mike Pouncey left the Dolphins in favor of the Chargers in 2018 with a contract that made him the 11th highest paid center in terms of AAV. Pouncey had arguably the best season of his career following the contract. He started all 16 games, was a Pro Bowler, allowed two sacks and posted a career-high 11 AV (AV is approximate value. Pro Football Reference’s attempt to assign a player a single number value to base their performance for a season). The Chargers went 12-4 and made the playoffs. The following season, Pouncey struggled to stay healthy, playing just five games because of a neck injury.

Where is he now?

Pouncey re-signed with the team in 2020 on a one-year contract for $9 million, $5 million guaranteed, but missed the season due to a hip injury. He retired along with his brother, Maurkice, following the 2020 season.


Worst Signings

Trumaine Johnson to the Jets: 5 years, $72.5 million, $45 million guaranteed

Johnson signed a contract with the Jets that made him the second-highest-paid cornerback in the NFL at the time behind Josh Norman. He played 10 games in 2018 and seven games in 2019. He started 15 games for the Jets over two seasons and after a decent 2018 in which he had 4 interceptions and 5 passes defended, he struggled heavily in 2019. He allowed a 74.1% completion percentage when targeted and had 2 passes defended. Following the 2019 season, he was released at the age of 30, while the Jets absorbed $12 million in dead cap.

Where is he now?

Johnson is currently a free agent entering the 2021 season.


Sam Bradford to the Cardinals: 1 year, $20 million, $10 million guaranteed

Sam Bradford started three games in 2018. He went 0-3. In those three games, he threw for a total of 400 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. He was replaced by rookie Josh Rosen in Week 4 and then was released on Nov. 3. He was paid a total of $13.5 million for playing just three games for the Cardinals.

Where is he now?

Sam Bradford is currently a free agent and hasn’t played in an NFL game since his release in 2018.


Jimmy Graham to the Packers: 3 years, $30 million, $18 million guaranteed

At the time of signing his contract, it made Graham the highest-paid tight end in the NFL with an AAV of $10 million per year. Graham played decently in 2018, posting a stat line of 55 receptions and 636 yards but had only 2 touchdowns in 16 games. In 2019, he had a worse season than 2018 (38 receptions, 447 yards, 3 touchdowns in 16 games) and was released the following season. Graham’s two touchdowns in 2018 tied his career low and his three in 2019 were the second-lowest of his career.

Where is he now?

Following his release, Graham signed with the Chicago Bears for 2 years, $16 million and is entering the final year of this contract in 2021.


References: Football Reference, Spotrac

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