As a professional athlete approaches free agency, he has two choices: sign a contract with his current team, or wait to offer his services to the highest bidder. Most choose the latter. Is this smart?

In the eyes of the athlete, of course this is a good move. He only has so many chances to ink a big deal, so whoever makes the best offer usually wins out, regardless of whether that offer comes from the player's original (or long-term) team. Wes Welker, for example, has been a big part of the New England Patriots since 2007; he says he will test the free agent market.

To fans, it hurts to see a player they've rooted for for years suddenly depart for another team. And sometimes, the process turns ugly. Dwight Howard left a sour taste in many NBA fans' mouths after his public battle with Orlando ended with his being traded to the Lakers. And how can we forget about LeBron James and "The Decision"?