Teams should be wary in free agency

Should GMs be cautious when pursuing top free agents such as Peppers and Cassel? Getty Images

With free agency set to open Friday, Scouts Inc. takes a look at five risky free agents.

Albert Haynesworth, DT, Tennessee
He is immensely talented and an obvious difference-maker at times and can be as disruptive as any other football player on the planet, but there is some serious concern about inking Haynesworth to a monster deal. He carried an underachiever label with him and lived up to that tag -- until he was due to hit free agency after the 2007 season. Haynesworth turned it on in a huge way in 2007 after five less-than-inspiring campaigns. Obviously, the Titans franchised Haynesworth, which meant he was up for a contract two years in a row. Predictably, Haynesworth was dominant again in 2008. Now, he is about to be a free man. Players with his abilities are few and far between, and he is capable of being a cornerstone of any defense in the league. However, he is also very capable of going back to his old self, which should warn his suitors. It also has to be mentioned that Haynesworth has not played all 16 games since his rookie year and that he was guilty of stomping on Andre Gurode's exposed face -- not a very endearing image.

Matt Cassel, QB, New England
The Patriots have designated Cassel as their franchise player with the probable intention of trading Tom Brady's replacement. As a result, not only will Cassel's new team have to dedicate a large amount of money to its new signal-caller but picking him up also will cost a squad valuable draft picks as trade compensation. As everyone knows, Cassel wasn't a starting quarterback in college and his body of work is very minimal. He is a physical specimen and deserves credit for his improvement throughout the 2008 season, but teams should be cautious with Cassel, who benefited a great deal from taking over the record-setting passing attack from the Patriots' amazing 2007 season. It is unlikely that the former backup at USC will be throwing to the likes of Randy Moss or Wes Welker at his next stop -- and expectations will be through the roof, which will be a position Cassel surely is not accustomed to.