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NFL Free Agency: A look at previous big spenders

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Why the Titans are building their team the right way this time.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

For those who think that the highest paid free agents every year don't make an impact, think again. There is a clear reason why big spending in free agency leads to several teams getting worse rather than better, but it isn't signing the biggest name in free agency.

According to a Sports Illustrated article, the teams that signed the best player in free agency over the last 10 years actually got what they were paying for, except for two occasions. Here is a look at the players that signed the biggest FA contracts (not including QBs).

2005: Walter Jones OT, Seattle

2006: Shaun Alexander RB, Seattle (bust)

2007: Nate Clemments CB, San Francisco

2008: Asante Samuel CB, Philadelphia

2009: Albert Haynesworth DT, Washington (bust)

2010: Julius Peppers DE, Chicago

2011: Charles Johnson DE, Carolina

2012: Mario Williams DE, Buffalo

2013: Mike Wallace WR, Miami

2014: Aqib Talib CB, Denver

While you can debate that some of these players didn't reach their former heights, all the ones not labeled bust were (at the very least) solid contributors to their teams.

The teams that get worse in free agency are the teams that shoot for the big guns (like Suh this year) and end up overpaying other players. Teams like the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars have made a habit of this, and it is why they are annually in the top 10 picks on draft day.

Teams that get better are teams that sign role players in free agency and bring in their cornerstones through the draft. This is why Titans fans should be encouraged with the moves the team has made this offseason. While the team has bolstered the secondary, they didn't break the bank to get the big names, they focused on solid players.

Bringing in Brian Orakpo was a bit of a splash move, but if he can get healthy again he can be a top-five caliber EDGE player.

The Titans didn't go after the big name pass catcher or the top running back (positions that rarely translate well after a signing) and can now look to add help there in this draft. The Titans are a right tackle away from having one of the best free agency periods in the league, in large part because they realize that even though their jobs are on the line, they have to build this team the right way.