While we must give Ozzie in company credit for finding the Ravens good players, no one is without a mistake, and these ten players are among his largest In writing this list I have also heavily taken into account what we gave up for the player: a lot of money, draft picks, etc. Here are the ten biggest free agent/trade acquisition busts in team history:
10) Donte Stallworth, WR, 2010. The Ravens paid him $900,000, had to go out of their way to express support in him, and in return received a mere two catches for 82 yards, and five rushes for 45 yards. He also lost a fumble. We easily could have gotten some undrafted rookie free agent to do that for three times as less and without the drama.
9) Stoney Case, QB, 1999. He started three games and threw 3 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
7/8) Michael Huff (FS), Marcus Spears (DT), 2013. Can’t really separate them. Both were given a lot of money prior to the 2013 season, part of an array of signings for a defense which had taken an uncharacteristic slip the previous season. Huff embarrassed himself in a 49-27 smacking at the hands of the Broncos in week 1, and his role was mainly reduced to special teams, as rookie safety Matt Elam moved into a starting role. Spears was often injured, and both were released after week 7.
6) Frank Walker, CB, 2008-2009.
5) Dominique Foxworth, CB, 2009-2011. In 2009, he was signed for a 4-year, $28 million contract. He, alongside fellow free agent acquisition Chris Carr and rookie Lardarius Webb, was expected to fill the void left at cornerback that season by the departure of unreliable veterans Chris McAlister and Corey Ivy. Foxworth intercepted four passes in ’09, yet was consistently outrun on deep passes. He tore his ACL in the following minicamp and missed the entire 2010 season. He played two games in 2011 and, after an awful showing in a 26-13 loss in Tennessee, was put on IR, with the story that his knee had still not recovered. He was released. While probably one of the most articulate and intelligent players to players in team history, football-wise, Foxworth was a complete waste of valuable time and money.
4) L.J. Smith, TE, 2009. Smith was signed to a $1.5 million contract, but he recorded only two catches for 32 yards in an injury-plagued season.
3) Scott Mitchell, QB, 1999. One of three QBs in 1999 to start for the Ravens (with Stoney Case and Tony Banks). Banks was the only one to achieve success. Mitchell started two games early in the season, throwing only one touchdown and four interceptions. This was his only season in Baltimore.
2) Elvis Grbac, QB, 2001. He was signed to a 5 year contract, and Brian Billick expected him to give one of the most conservative offenses in NFL history a boost. Yet he started only 14 games in 2001, throwing 15 touchdowns and a disappointing 18 interceptions. He retired following the season.
1) Lee Evans, WR, 2011. Acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills, 2011. We paid him a fairly hefty salary and gave up a 4th round pick, thinking he could be the #2 receiver alongside Anquan Boldin. Yet in the first two games of the season he recorded only two catches. Rookie Torrey Smith soon took over the starting role, and Evans finished the season with only 4 catches, and he also dropped a pass or two. He finally seemed to be catching on in the playoffs, but he let a potential touchdown pass in the AFC Championship that would almost certainly have sent Baltimore to the Super Bowl get knocked out of his hands by New England Patriots cornerback Sterling Moore in a loss. He was released in the offseason.
Thanks for reading.