Best and worst free-agent
signings of 2002

Updated: October 25, 2002, 6:20 AM ET
By By Ryan Early
A year ago, a pair of linemen were discarded by former teams, signed free-agent contracts and led their teams to on-field prominence. Defensive tackle Ted Washington was discarded by the Bills in a salary-cap purge but solidified the Bears' run defense, helping the team to a 13-3 record and a division championship. Jeff Hartings traveled from the Lions to the Steelers to attempt to uphold the long tradition of outstanding Pittsburgh offensive centers. The Steelers became the best rushing team in the league and made it to the AFC Championship Game.

That was then. This year is quite different as almost every player who switched teams in free agency has made little noticeable impact on his new team. There have been several defenders who are having good seasons, but they rarely get the highlights each week.

Trades are another matter. For some reason, giving up draft picks and a new contract for a player has worked wonders this offseason with quarterback Drew Bledsoe and running back Ricky Williams among the league leaders in individual statistics as well as being the main force of their respective teams' offenses resulting in winning records. Terry Glenn, another former Patriot, has had injury problems, but is a dangerous offensive weapon on a team that has started the season 6-1.