Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Top 10 worst free agency signings in team history
Number 8: Charlie Garner (2004)
Speaking of Gruden, that brings us to Charlie Garner. Garner was already a seasoned veteran amongst many others for Gruden’s Raiders teams, and in 2002 when Gruden jumped pirate ships to Tampa Bay, Garner stayed in Oakland. All he did that year was rush for 962 yards and seven touchdowns while leading all running backs with 91 catches for 941 yards and four receiving touchdowns at the age of 30. Garner was an integral part of the Raiders team that would go on to get pulverized in the Super Bowl by Gruden and the Buccaneers.
By 2004, Garner was 32, a free agent, and ready to reunite with Gruden to try and find the fountain of youth, or in his case, middle age. The Buccaneers decided to sign him to a six-year contract worth $20 million, $4 of which was guaranteed. Drafting running backs high or signing them to that kind of money is always are a risk, but when they’re that old, it’s never worth it, which the Buccaneers learned the hard way.
In typical fashion to aging running backs, Garner only managed 30 carries for 111 yards and no touchdowns with nine catches for another 62 yards and zero touchdowns in three games thanks to a knee injury that derailed any dreams of glories past. Gartner was released before the start of the 2005 season.