Good players are not always good values or worthwhile additions. Coaches, evaluators and teams can be as much as or more to blame when a newly acquired player fails to produce in line with his compensation. That theme came to mind more than once when I put together my list of 10 worst veteran acquisitions for the 2014 NFL season (following Wednesday's look at the 10 best).
New York Jets receiver Eric Decker is a prime example. He is a good player who has fought through injury to perform for his team. But there was no way the Jets were going to get from Decker what Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos got from him previously.
"Look at the receivers who have good production with a top QB, and then look what happens when they leave," a general manager said in May. "Decker will be a great example. How much money did Peyton Manning make that guy? His production will not be the same at all. All these people think, 'If we only had a receiver.' Maybe it's not your receiver."
The lesson is that team context can be everything for complementary players. Although my list of the 10 best veteran player acquisitions was heavy on players from teams that were already successful, the reverse became true when focusing on the other end of the spectrum. In some cases, players earning big bucks simply aren't performing to expectations, regardless of context. That is where the list begins.