Getty Images

Formerly a dry period for the NFL, springtime has become one of the most exciting periods on the league calendar. Free agency, which began in the early 1990s, has blossomed into a two-week stream of big signings and team-altering acquisitions. And when the dust begins to settle, NFL fans turn their attention to the draft and the subsequent signing of undrafted rookies. 

Championships are won in mid-winter, but the seeds of those championships are sewn in the spring. You don't have to go back too far in history to see the significance of free agency. Just four years ago, the Buccaneers made one of the biggest offseason signings in history when they inked Tom Brady to a two-year contract. Less than a year later, "Tampa Tom" and his new teammates hoisted a celebratory boat parade. 

Brady is just one of many examples of free agents who helped change the fortune of their new franchises. With the 2024 free agency season nearly concluded as we head into training camps, let's take a look at the best all-time free agent signing for all 32 teams. 

Arizona Cardinals 

Best signing: QB Kurt Warner (2005)

After a storybook run with the Rams, Warner inked a one-year deal with the Cardinals following a single season with the Giants. After two so-so seasons in Arizona, Warner replaced Matt Leinart as the starter during the 2007 season. In 2008, Warner threw for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns while helping lead the Cardinals to a division title. He then helped the Cardinals win three playoff games to clinch the franchise's first Super Bowl berth. Warner led the Cardinals to the divisional round of the 2009 playoffs before retiring during the offseason. 

Worst signing: QB Sam Bradford (2018)

Bradford went 0-3 as the Cardinals' quarterback after receiving $15 million guaranteed. He lost his starting job to then-rookie Josh Rosen, who went 3-10 that season. 

Atlanta Falcons 

Best signing: RB Michael Turner (2008) 

It was close, but "Burner" Turner beats out tight end Tony Gonzalez for the top spot. After spending four years as LaDainian Tomlinson's backup in San Diego, Turner inked a six-year, $34.5 million contract during the 2008 offseason. During his five seasons in Atlanta, Turner rushed for 6,081 yards and 60 touchdowns. He earned All-Pro honors in 2008 after rushing for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns. A two-time Pro Bowler, Turner had consecutive 1,300-yard rushing seasons in 2010 and in 2011. Turner is second all-time on the Falcons' career rushing list. 

Worst signing: OLB Dante Fowler (2020) 

Fowler parlayed his career-high 11.5 sacks into a three-year, $45 million deal with the Falcons. He had just 7.5 sacks in two years in Atlanta before resurfacing with the Cowboys in 2022. 

Buffalo Bills

Best signing: WR Steve Tasker (1986)

The special teams star edges out former teammates Kent Hull and James Lofton for the Bills' top spot. A ninth-round pick in the 1985 draft, Tasker was claimed off of waivers by the Bills during the 1986 season. While he was seldom used on offense, Tasker was a force on special teams. He made seven Pro Bowls, including six straight from 1990-95. Tasker's play helped the Bills win an unprecedented four consecutive AFC titles. His blocked punt set up the first touchdown of Super Bowl XXVII. 

Worst signing: G Derrick Dockery (2007)

Buffalo signed the former Washington starter to a seven-year, $49 million deal back in 2007. Dockery struggled in Buffalo, however and he was released just two years into his deal. 

Baltimore Ravens 

Best signing: DE Michael McCrary (1997)

McCrary beat out former teammates Shannon Sharpe and Rod Woodson for the Ravens' top spot. A former seventh-round pick, McCrary was a backup in Seattle for three years before breaking out with 13.5 sacks in 1996. McCrary's big year earned him a three-year contract with the Ravens, who were in the process of putting together a championship defense. 

After tallying a career-high 14.5 sacks in 1998, McCrary earned a five-year extension in 1999. The following season, McCrary helped the Ravens win their first Super Bowl. He tallied six sacks during the 2000 playoffs that included two sacks in Super Bowl XXXV. A member of the Ravens' Ring of Honor, McCrary totaled 51 regular season sacks, 299 tackles and 42 tackles for loss during his six seasons in Baltimore. 

Worst signing: S Earl Thomas (2019)

Thomas received a four-year $55 million contract in 2019. He lasted just one season in Baltimore; the Ravens released him after he punched a teammate. 

Carolina Panthers 

Best signing: LB Sam Mills (1995)

After a highly successful nine-year run in New Orleans, Mills signed a two-year deal with the expansion Panthers despite the Saints matching Carolina's offer. The 36-year-old made an immediate impact in Carolina. In 1995, Mills tallied 110 tackles, 4.5 sacks, five interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), and four fumble recoveries. Mills earned All-Pro honors in 1996 while helping lead the Panthers to an NFC title game appearance. 

A member of the Panthers' Hall of Honor, Mills' No. 51 has been retired by the franchise. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2022.  

At 37, Mills was the oldest defensive player ever selected to a Pro Bowl in 1996.  Getty Images

Worst signing: DE Chuck Smith (2000)

Smith had 58.5 sacks in Atlanta, but he had none during his only season in Carolina. He played in just two games for the Panthers before injuries ended his career. 

Cincinnati Bengals 

Best signing: DE Trey Hendrickson (2021)

Hendrickson only needed one season in Cincinnati to claim this spot. Acquired during the 2021 offseason, the former Saints pass-rusher recorded a career-high 14 sacks during the regular season while helping the Bengals capture the AFC North division crown. He had 3.5 more sacks in the playoffs while helping lead the Bengals to an AFC title. Hendrickson was named to a second straight Pro Bowl in 2022 and recorded a career-high 17.5 sacks in 2023. 

Worst signing: CB Trae Waynes (2020)

The former Vikings first-round pick signed with the Bengals in 2020. He missed that entire season because of a torn pectoral. Waynes was released after a hamstring issue limited him to just five games in 2021. 

Cleveland Browns 

Best signing: OL/K Lou Groza (1946) 

An undrafted rookie out of Ohio State, Groza spent a whopping 21 seasons with the Browns. A member of all eight of the Browns' championship teams, Groza was a nine-time Pro Bowler and a four-time All-Pro during the 1950s. After a one-year retirement, Groza returned to the Browns as a kicker in 1961. He led the NFL in field goal percentage twice while helping the Browns win the 1964 NFL title. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974. 

Worst signing: Jeff Garcia (2004)

The Browns were hoping that Garcia would continue to build on the success that made him a three-time Pro Bowler in San Francisco. That didn't happen, however, as Cleveland went 3-7 during their lone season with Garcia under center. He spent just one season in Cleveland after signing a four-year deal ahead of the 2004 season. 

Chicago Bears 

Best signing: DT Steve McMichael (1981) 

The man known as "Mongo" beat out future Hall of Fame pass rusher Julius Peppers. After just one season in New England, McMichael was cut by the Patriots and was signed by the Bears in 1981. 

McMichael broke into the starting lineup in 1983 and remained there for the next decade. During that span, McMichael tallied 92.5 sacks and was a two-time All-Pro. He was also a valuable member of Chicago's vaunted "46" defense, a unit that overwhelmed nearly everyone in 1985 en route to the franchise's first Super Bowl win, a 46-10 romp of the Patriots. 

McMichael will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer. 

Worst signing: QB Mike Glennon (2017)

Glennon signed a three-year, $45 million deal after making just five starts during his first three seasons (all in Tampa). He was benched in favor of Mitch Trubisky after just four games. He went 1-3 with four touchdowns and five picks during his brief Bears tenure. 

Dallas Cowboys 

Best signing: QB Tony Romo (2003)

Romo just beat out tight end Jay Novacek, who played a significant role on the Cowboys' 1990s championship teams. An undrafted rookie out of Eastern Illinois, Romo rode the bench during his first three years in Dallas before he replaced an injured Drew Bledsoe six games into the 2006 season. 

"Romo Mania" quickly ensued, as Romo earned Pro Bowl honors that season while helping lead the Cowboys to the playoffs. He remained the Cowboys' starting quarterback for the next decade, compiling an 80-53 overall record. Romo retired as the Cowboys' all-time career passing leader.  

Romo has the highest career passer rating among retired players.  Getty Images

Worst signing: Mike Vanderjagt (2006)

Vanderjagt had a largely successful run with the Colts, but his time in Indianapolis ended with a badly-missed field goal that clinched the Colts' upset playoff loss to Pittsburgh. He never seemed to rebound from that miss. Vanderjagt made just 13 of his 18 field goal attempts for the Cowboys before he was released after 11 games. 

Denver Broncos 

Best signing: QB Peyton Manning (2012)

The Broncos have had a slew of marquee free agent signings that includes Brian Dawkins, Aqib Talib, Neil Smith, Howard Griffith, John Lynch and DeMarcus Ware, among others. But the top spot here goes to "The Sheriff," who led the Broncos to four division titles, two AFC titles and a Super Bowl victory during his four years in Denver. Individually, Manning was selected to three Pro Bowls, earned two All-Pro nods, was named Comeback Player of the Year and league MVP. In 2013, Manning threw for an NFL-record 54 touchdown passes. 

Manning retired after the 2015 season as the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021. 

Worst signing: OL Ja'Wuan James (2019) 

Injuries limited James to just three games in two seasons with the Broncos, who penned him to a four-year, $52 million deal. Denver released him after he tore his Achilles during a workout that occurred away from the team facility. 

Detroit Lions 

Best signing: CB Dick LeBeau (1959)

As a rookie, LeBeau was cut by the Browns during training camp. He was signed a few months later by the Lions, where he carved out a Hall of Fame career. During his 14 seasons in Detroit, LeBeau picked off 62 passes, which is tied for 10th all-time. LeBeau was part of a dynamic duo that included Hall of Fame defensive back "Night Train Lane," who retired with 68 career interceptions. 

A two-time Super Bowl winning defensive coordinator with the Steelers, LeBeau was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. 

Worst signing: DE Trey Flowers (2019) 

After a solid run with New England, Flowers signed a massive five-year, $90 million deal with the Lions. He had a decent 2019 season before injuries limited him to just 14 games over the next two seasons. Flowers was released during the 2022 offseason. 

Green Bay Packers 

Best signing: DE Reggie White (1993)

Green Bay has had a slew of successful free agent signings that include Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard, and Za'Darius Smith. But the Packers' best free agent signing is White, who became the first marquee free agent to sign with a new team during the NFL's first free agency season. White, who had already put together a Hall of Fame career with the Eagles, tallied 68.5 sacks and six Pro Bowl selections during his six seasons in Green Bay. 

White played an integral role in the Packers' rise to prominence in the mid-to-late 1990s. His three sacks helped the Packers defeat the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI, thus ending Green Bay's 29-year title drought. 

The "Minister of Defense" recorded three sacks in Super Bowl XXXI. Getty Images

Worst signing: TE Jimmy Graham (2018)

Graham wasn't that bad, but he nonetheless failed to live up to his three-year, $30 million deal. Graham caught just five touchdown passes during his two seasons with the Packers. He caught eight touchdowns for the Bears in 2021 after being released by the Packers that ensuing offseason. 

Houston Texans 

Best signing: RB Arian Foster (2009) 

After a breakout junior year at Tennessee, Foster was part of a crowded backfield during his senior year, which contributed to him not getting selected in the 2009 draft. After a quiet rookie season, Foster broke out in 2010. He led the NFL with 1,616 yards that season while earning All-Pro honors. He earned three more Pro Bowl selections over the next four years while helping the Texans make consecutive playoff appearances. Foster, who retired after the 2016 season, has over twice as many yards as the Texans' second all-time rushing leader. 

Worst signing: RB Ahmad Green (2007)

A four-time Pro Bowler with the Packers, Green rushed for a total of just 554 yards over his two seasons wit the Texans. He was released just two years into his four-year, $23 million deal. 

Indianapolis Colts 

Best signing: QB Johnny Unitas (1956) 

Adam Vinatieri is the franchise's best free agent signing since moving to Indianapolis. But the Colts' all-time best free agent signing is Unitas, the NFL's greatest quarterback during the league's first 50 years. A ninth-round draft pick, Unitas was cut by the Steelers during training camp. He later latched on with the Colts after impressing coach Weeb Ewbank during his tryout. 

By his second season, Unitas was the league's best quarterback. In his third season, he led the Colts to their first championship, a 23-17 overtime win over the Giants. A member of the NFL's All-1960s Team, Johnny U led the Colts to two more championships that included the franchise's first Super Bowl win. 

Worst signing: WR Devin Funchess (2019) 

Funchess, who signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Colts, played just one game with Indianapolis before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. In fact, Funchess never played in the NFL again after getting injured in Week 1 of the 2019 season. 

Kansas City Chiefs 

Best signing: QB Len Dawson (1962)

The Chiefs have a long history of successful free agent acquisitions that includes Tyrann Mathieu (2019), Marcus Allen (1993), Emmitt Thomas (1966), and Priest Holmes (2001). But the top spot goes to Dawson, who attempted just 45 passes during his first five NFL seasons. After being a backup in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Dawson signed with the AFL's Texans (re-named the Chiefs the following season) in 1962. 

Dawson won league MVP that year while leading Kansas City to its first of three AFL titles. Dawson, who led the NFL in completion percentage seven times, led the Chiefs to victory in Super Bowl IV, the last game played before the AFL-NFL merger. Dawson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. 

Worst signing: K Lin Elliott (1994) 

Elliott won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys during his rookie season, but was cut just two weeks into his second second. He resurfaced with the Chiefs and had a solid first season in Kansas City. He struggled late in the 1995 season and missed two critical field goal attempts during the Chiefs' shocking playoff loss to Kansas City. 

Los Angeles Chargers 

Best signing: TE Antonio Gates (2003) 

An accomplished college basketball player, Gates helped lead Kent State to the Elite Eight in 2002. Gates' height (6-foot-4) compelled him to try his hand at pro football, where he was signed by the Chargers as a free agent in 2003. Gates churned out a Hall of Fame career with the Chargers, where he earned eight Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro nods.

 A member of the NFL's All-2000s Team, Gates is first among tight ends in career touchdown receptions (116). He is second among tight ends in receptions (955) and yards (11,841). Gates helped the Chargers make seven playoff appearances. 

Antonio Gates parlayed a successful college basketball career into a Hall of Fame NFL career.  USATSI

Worst signing: CB J.C. Jackson (2022) 

Jackson signed a whopping five-year, $82.5 million deal a year after picking off a career-high eight passes with the Patriots. Injuries limited him to just five games that season. 

Jackson played in just two games for the Chargers in 2023 before he was traded back to New England in exchange for a 2025 sixth-round pick. New England released him earlier this month. 

Los Angeles Rams 

Best signing: QB Kurt Warner (1997) 

Warner spent the 1998 season in NFL Europe before he was elevated to the Rams' backup quarterback entering the 1999 season. He became the Rams' starting quarterback when Trent Green suffered a season-ending injury during the preseason. 

Warner quickly rose to stardom; he won league MVP that season after throwing 41 touchdowns and leading the Rams to a 13-3 record. He won Super Bowl MVP after leading the Rams to a win over the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. Warner won his second MVP in 2001 after leading the NFL in passing yards and touchdown passes. Warner's Rams fell just short of winning a second Super Bowl in three years. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017. 

Worst signing: WR Allen Robinson II (2022)

Robinson caught just 33 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns after signing a three-year, $46.5 million deal with the Rams, who traded him to Pittsburgh last offseason. 

Jacksonville Jaguars 

Best signing: WR Jimmy Smith (1995) 

The Cowboys' second-round pick in the 1992 draft, Smith did not catch a pass during the Cowboys' run of back-to-back championships during his first two seasons in Dallas. After sitting out the entire 1994 season, Smith earned a roster spot with the expansion Jaguars following a workout. 

After an underwhelming first season in Jacksonville, Smith tallied 1,244 receiving yards in 1996 while helping the Jaguars reach the AFC title game. Over the next nine years, Smith racked up nine more 1,000-yard seasons while earning five straight Pro Bowl nods from 1997-01. The Jaguars' all-time leading receiver, Smith was added to the franchise's "Pride of the Jaguars" in 2016. 

Worst signing: QB Nick Foles (2019) 

The Jaguars were hoping for more magic from Foles, a former Super Bowl MVP who signed a four-year, $91 million deal that included a franchise-record $50.125 million guaranteed. A broken collarbone, poor play and the emergence of Gardner Minshew ultimately ended Foles' run in Jacksonville after four uneventful games. 

Miami Dolphins 

Best signing: OL Jim Langer (1970) 

After going undrafted, Langer was cut by the Browns before he was signed by Don Shula in Miami. After two years on the bench, Langer became the Dolphins' starting center in 1972. That season, Langer helped Miami complete the NFL's only perfect season. The following season, he earned the first of six consecutive Pro Bowl selections while helping the Dolphins retreat as champions. A three-time All-Pro, Langer was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. 

Worst signing: WR Chad Johnson (2012)

A former All-Pro with the Bengals, Johnson signed with Miami after a disappointing 2011 season in New England. Just six weeks after signing with them, Johnson was released by the Dolphins after he was arrested on a charge of domestic battery. He never played in the NFL again upon his release from the Dolphins. 

Minnesota Vikings 

Best signing: DE John Randle (1990) 

Deemed too short by the Buccaneers (who cut him shortly after singing him as an undrafted rookie), the 6-foot-1 Randle signed with the Vikings before the start of the 1990 season. A part-time starter in 1991, Randle broke into the starting lineup in 1992, when he recorded the first of eight consecutive double-digit sack seasons. The NFL's sack leader in 1997, Randle earned six straight All-Pro selections from 1993-98. A member of the NFL's All-1990s Team, Randle is tied for 10th all-time in career sacks. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. 

Worst signing: WR Greg Jennings (2013)

The former Packers Pro Bowler did not play up to his five-year, $47.5 million deal he signed with the Vikings. He put up pedestrian numbers in two seasons in Minnesota before he was released after the 2014 season. 

New England Patriots 

Best Signing: LB Mike Vrabel (2001)

A backup during his four years with the Steelers, Vrabel signed with the Patriots during the 2001 offseason. Vrabel quickly broke into New England's starting lineup, where he played an integral role in the Patriots' first Super Bowl win. Vrabel would help the Patriots win two more Super Bowls and three more AFC titles over the next seven years. An All-Pro in 2007, Vrabel caught touchdowns in the Patriots' Super Bowl wins over Carolina and Philadelphia. 

Worst signing: WR Antonio Brown (2019) 

The Patriots paid Brown $9 million to catch four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in one game. Off-field issues ultimately led to the Patriots quickly releasing the former All-Pro wideout. 

New Orleans Saints 

Best signing: QB Drew Brees (2006) 

Brees spent his first five NFL seasons in San Diego, where he led the Chargers to a division title in 2004. But a year later, Brees was deemed expendable by the Chargers after the team spent a first-round pick on Philip Rivers. In free agency, Brees chose the Saints instead of the Dolphins. 

That decision turned out to be a good one, as Brees led the Saints to a division title during his first season in New Orleans. Three years later, Brees earned Super Bowl MVP honors after leading New Orleans to a 31-17 win over the Colts. Brees continued to have success over the next decade in New Orleans, where he became the NFL's first player to reach 80,000 career passing yards. 

A common NFL scene since 2006: Drew Brees celebrating a Saints touchdown. 

Worst signing: S Jarius Byrd (2014) 

Byrd was a stud in Buffalo but was anything but in New Orleans. The NFL's leader in picks as a rookie, Byrd -- who signed a six-year, $56 million deal with the Saints -- had just three picks during his three seasons with the Saints. He never seemed to recovery after suffering a torn meniscus injury suffered during his first season in New Orleans. 

New York Giants 

Best signing: DB Emlen Tunnell (1948) 

The first Black player to be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, Tunnell was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie in 1948. Nicknamed "The Gremlin," Tunnell helped the Giants capture their first league title in 1956. The best kickoff/punt returner of his era, Tunnell retired with 79 interceptions, the second-highest total in NFL history. Tunnell spent his final three seasons with the Packers, where he helped Vince Lombardi win his first of five NFL titles in 1961. Tunnell was named to the NFL 100 All-Time Team in 2019. 

Worst signing: WR Kenny Golladay (2021)

This is one of the worst free agent acquisitions of all-time. Golladay made almost $1 million per reception during his two seasons with the Giants. The Giants still owed $4.5 million after parting ways with Golladay, who did not play anywhere last season. 

New York Jets 

Best signing: RB Curtis Martin (1998) 

After a successful first three seasons in New England that included a Super Bowl appearance, two Pro Bowls and the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, Martin inked a six-year, $36 million deal with the Jets during the 1998 offseason. That season, Martin helped lead to the Jets to within a game of the Super Bowl. 

During his eight seasons in New York, Martin rushed for a franchise-record 10,302 yards. At 31, Martin became the NFL's oldest rushing champion when he gained 1,697 yards while helping the Jets get to within a field goal of the AFC title game. A member of the Hall of Fame, Martin is sixth all-time in career rushing yards. 

Worst signing: QB Neil O'Donnell (1996)

O'Donnell inked a five-year, $25 million after helping lead the Steelers to Super Bowl XXX. He lost his first six starts with the Jets before suffering a season-ending injury. O'Donnell played better in 1997, but was waived after refusing to adjust his contract. 

Las Vegas Raiders 

Best signing: QB Jim Plunkett (1978) 

The first overall pick in the 1971 draft, Plunkett's career was on life support when he signed with the Raiders in 1978. A backup, Plunkett threw just 15 passes during his first two years with the Raiders before an injury sidelined starter Dan Pastorini five weeks into the 1980 season. 

With the 33-year-old Plunkett under center, the Raiders went 9-2 during the regular season to clinch a wild-card playoff berth. The Raiders then defeated Houston, Cleveland and San Diego to reach Super Bowl XV, where they became the first wild-card team to win the Super Bowl. Plunkett took home MVP honors after throwing for 261 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles. He led the Raiders to a second Super Bowl win in 1983. Plunkett went 46-21 as the Raiders' starting quarterback, including an 8-2 playoff record.

Worst signing: LB Cory Littleton  (2020)

Littleton failed to make an impact after singing a three-year, $32.25 million deal. He was released after two years after losing his starting job. 

Philadelphia Eagles 

Best signing: QB Nick Foles (2017) 

Owner of one of the most bizarre careers in NFL history, Foles quickly became a Pro Bowler after throwing 27 touchdowns and just two picks in his second season. But after a promising start in Philadelphia, Foles struggled to rekindle that magic during stops in St. Louis and Kansas City. 

Like Plunkett, Foles agreed to become a backup midway through his career when he signed a two-year deal to return to the Eagles. Also like Plunkett, Foles was elevated to starter when Carson Wentz went down 13 weeks into the 2017 season. 

After winning one of his three regular-season starts, Foles and the Eagles caught fire in the playoffs. After defeating Atlanta and Minnesota in the NFC playoffs, Foles won MVP honors after throwing for 373 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles' 41-33 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. 

While Foles did not become the Eagles' longterm starter, he has been immortalized in Philadelphia with a statue celebrating the infamous "Philly Special." 

Worst signing: DT Malik Jackson (2019) 

A Super Bowl champion with the Broncos, Jackson signed a three-year, $30 million deal after a successful run with the Jaguars. Jackson wasn't the same player in Philadelphia, though. An injury limited him to just one game in 2019, and he was released after recording just 2.5 sacks in 2020. 

San Francisco 49ers 

Best signing: CB Deion Sanders (1994) 

After losing consecutive NFC title games to the Cowboys, the 49ers responded by signing perennial All-Pro cornerback Deion Sanders. The 49ers also signed linebacker Ken Norton Jr., who had just helped the Cowboys win back-to-back Super Bowls. Sanders enjoyed his best season as a pro in 1994, returning three of his six interceptions for touchdowns en route to winning Defensive Player of the Year. 

Sanders' coverage of Michael Irvin played a pivotal role in the 49ers' NFC title game win over the Cowboys. Two weeks later, the 49ers defeated the Chargers to become the first franchise to win five Super Bowls. 

Sanders shifted the NFL's balance of power from Dallas to San Francisco.  Getty Images

Worst signing: OT Jonas Jennings (2005)

Jennings signed a seven-year, $36 million deal following a solid run in Buffalo. Injuries, though, plagued Jennings throughout his time in San Francisco. Only once in his four seasons with the 49ers did Jennings play in more than five games. 

Seattle Seahawks 

Best signing: DE Michael Bennett (2013) 

Ironically, the Seahawks released Bennett several months after signing him as an undrafted free agent. Seattle made up for that faux pas four years later, when it signed Bennett (who had a breakthrough season with Tampa Bay in 2012) to a one-year deal. 

During his first full season in Seattle, Bennett helped the Seahawks win their first Super Bowl, a 43-8 romp over the Broncos. Over the next four years, Bennett made three Pro Bowls while helping Seattle make it back to the Super Bowl in 2014. In his five years with the Seahawks, Bennett tallied 39 sacks, 195 tackles and 69 tackles for loss. 

Worst signing: RB Franco Harris

One of the greatest running backs of all-time, Harris signed with Seattle after contract dispute with the Steelers. The Hall of Famer had just 170 yards in eight games with the Seahawks. 

Pittsburgh Steelers 

Best signing: S Donnie Shell (1974) 

James Farrior is the Steelers' best free agent signing during the NFL's free agency era. But the Steelers' best free agent signing is Shell, the undrafted member of Pittsburgh's fabled 1974 rookie class. Known as the "The Torpedo" during his playing days, Shell was a valuable member of each of the Steelers' four Super Bowl wins during the 1970s. 

A five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro, Shell's 51 interceptions are the most ever by a strong safety. Shell was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2021. 

Worst signing: Ladarius Green (2016)

Green signed with the Steelers after being Antonio Gates' longtime backup in San Diego. Green was plagued by injures throughout his lone season in Pittsburgh. He started to have some success late in the year before a head injury ended his career for good. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Best signing: QB Tom Brady (2020) 

Not much debate here. After an unbelievable run in New England, Brady signed a two-year deal with the Buccaneers in March of 2020. During his first year in Tampa, Brady led the Buccaneers to their second Super Bowl win. 

Against the defending champion Chiefs, Brady won his fifth Super Bowl MVP award after throwing three touchdowns in Tampa Bay's 31-9 victory. At age 44, Brady led the NFL in passing yards and passing touchdowns. Brady retired after leading the Buccaneers to a third consecutive playoff apperance in 2022. 

Tom Brady won his seventh and final Super Bowl ring with Tampa. Getty Images

Worst signing: WR Julio Jones (2022)

Jones was signed to help replace Rob Gronkowski's production. The likely future Hall of Famer was unable to do that, though, catching just 24 passes during his one season in Tampa. 

Tennessee Titans 

Best signing: C Kevin Mawae (2006) 

The Hall of Fame center capped off his career with a stellar run in Nashville. In his final season, Mawae blocked for 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson. 

Worst signing: EDGE Vic Beasley (2020)

Beasley was released five games into a one-year, $9.5 million deal. The former All-Pro hasn't played in the NFL since he finished the 2020 season with the Raiders. 

Washington Commanders 

Best signing: QB Doug Williams (1986) 

The first Black quarterback to be selected in the first round of the draft, Williams led the previously dreadful Buccaneers to the NFC Championship Game. Three years later, Williams left Tampa after ownership refused to give him his deserved contract (he was lowest-paid starting quarterback at the time and made less than 12 backups). Williams resurfaced in Washington.

 In Super Bowl XXII, Williams overcame a slow start to throw four touchdowns in the second quarter of Washington's win over the Broncos. The first Black starting quarterback to win the Super Bowl, Williams was named the game's MVP. 

Worst signing: CB William Jackson III (2021) 

Washington signed the former Bengals' first-round pick despite him not being a good fit in their defense. While he was a talented man defender, Jackson struggled playing zone and was ultimately shipped to Pittsburgh before the 2022 trade deadline.