2012 NFL Free Agents: Jerome Simpson and Players with Complex Signing Situations

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIApril 7, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 24: Jerome Simpson #89 of the Cincinnati Bengals jumps over Daryl Washington #58 of the Arizona Cardinals for a 19-yard touchdown during first half action at Paul Brown Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

NFL GMs probably wish player acquisition was as easy in real life as it is in Madden. You don't have to worry about off-the-field issues. If there is a player with injury concerns, turn the injury sliders down and look—good as new.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way, and there are several factors that must be considered when signing free agents.

A few players have some major issues teams must consider before signing them.

Jerome Simpson's flip into the end zone was the play of the year and the single action he was most known for. That was until he gained infamy for attempting to flip marijuana. The free-agent WR will do 15 days in jail and likely face a suspension from the NFL upon his return.

There's no doubt about Simpson's athleticism; that was on full display this season—and famously on that play.

In 2011, he had 50 receptions for 725 yards and four TDs. He would certainly draw some attention as a second or third receiver. His jail sentence won't likely pose a major issue, but the suspension will certainly be a deterrent. 

Prognosis

He'll likely return to Bengals for far less money than he would have received before the legal issues.

Where legal issues aren't present, sometimes there are physical issues.

 

Bob Sanders

INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 01:  Bob Sanders #21 of the Indianapolis Colts moves on the field during the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 1, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

When healthy, Sanders is one of the premier run-stuffing safeties in the Tampa 2 scheme. One big issue is that Sanders is rarely healthy. Over the past four years, Sanders has played a total of 10 games.

He's the type of player who makes fans cringe every time he makes a tackle, falls down, goes to the water cooler, smiles, etc.

Every physical action on a football field seems to be an inherent injury risk. There are teams like the Bears who could use a healthy and sharp veteran safety. But no one can reap benefits from a player on IR.

Prognosis:

Sadly, it may be over for Sanders. He's 31, short and muscular; that extra muscle may always leave him prone to leg injuries. Teams won't likely take another chance on him.

 

London Fletcher

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 30: London Fletcher #59 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after interceping a pass in the end zone during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Rogers Centre on October 30, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom S
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The 14-year veteran is coming off a solid 2011. He had 166 tackles and two INT for Washington. Fletcher still has a year or two left at a relatively high level. He will be 37 next month; this is the reason a player of his stature still hasn't found a team.

The Redskins seem to be interested in bringing him back, but at his age, he'll be a place holder for the future at MLB.

Prognosis:

He will return to the Redskins. With Robert Griffin III likely taking over at QB, the Skins will need as much veteran leadership as they can get.

 

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