Highlighting the Worst Contract Currently on Each NFL Team
This league has a lot of stupid GMs
I just wrote a blog about what the Falcons should do with Matt Ryan, and looking the numbers on Spotrac (great website, go check them out) on Ryan, Deion Jones, Calvin Ridley, etc got me thinking about what the worst contract for each NFL team is. Being a GM is hard, and I’m not going to act like I could do better if I was in their spots, but some of these deals are mind boggling.
Arizona Cardinals: DJ Humpries: 3 years 43.75 million
This was a hard one to start with because the Cardinals’ front office has actually been very good with their money and not making any ludicrous contracts. I settled on Humphries because he’s getting close to top end money for a tackle and hasn’t been a top tier tackle this year. But that’s nitpicking, way to go Cards’ FO.
Atlanta Falcons: Deion Jones: 4 years 57 million
Easy answer here, it didn’t seem like an awful contract at the time, but when you factor in Jones’ sheer lack of effort in 2021, the fact that they chose to sign him and let DeVondre Campbell walk who was statistically one of the best linebackers this year in football for the Packers. Jones is set to make 20 million in 2022, if the Falcons can’t find a trade partner this offseason they’ll be stuck with what will become one of the worst deals in the league.
Baltimore Ravens: Marcus Peters: 3 years 42 million
I had to debate between Peters and Tavon Young for this spot, because they both highlight paying too much money for a player who isn’t the best at his position on your team (Marlon Humphrey is making 19 million a year and deserves every penny). I went with Peters just because it’s much more money than Young, he doesn’t have the impact that a player making 14 million a year should have because he doesn’t have the role of one. Too much money for a guy doing the job that a decent second round rookie could be doing.
Buffalo Bills: Cole Beasley: 4 years 29 million
This is another tough one because the Bills have hit on all their big contracts (Allen, Diggs, White, Dawkins are their four highest paid players). I settled on Beasley because he’s been passed by Gabriel Davis as WR2, and teams can usually find solid WR3s on rookie deals that would do as well/better than Beasley’s doing. Also, and this might not be fair because the contract was signed before the vaccine backlash, but paying this much for a player who brings bad PR isn’t a good thing either.
Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffery: 4 years 64 million
I’m generally against paying big bucks to running backs, but there are a few exceptions I’ll make. And a healthy Christian McCaffery is one of them. The problem is, this is 2 years in a row that he hasn’t been healthy, and the margin for error is so small on big money running backs. I really like McCaffery, but this is a bad, bad deal.
Chicago Bears: Nick Foles: 3 years 24 million
On paper this doesn’t look so bad, and I really considered doing the hefty 141 million dollar Khalil Mack deal, despite how good of a player Mack is. However, I had to go with Foles because he was being used as a third string quarterback. 8 million is about 7 million dollars too many for a third stringer, this is taking up space that just doesn’t need to be taken.
Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Boyd: 4 years 43 million
This is a tough one because the Bengals never spent big money in free agency until this past offseason, and they hit on those deals (Trey Hendrickson, DJ Reader). I went with Boyd because he’s been passed by Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins who are both making less money. Boyd is playing a limited role and taking up money that could be used on that offensive line.
Cleveland Browns: Austin Hooper: 4 years 42 million
Love my guy Hoop, but when you’re making double digit millions per year as a tight end you need to produce more than 38 catches and three touchdowns. He got paid as if he was in the Waller, Andrews, Kittle tier right below Kelce, and he hasn’t been that guy.
Dallas Cowboys: Ezekiel Elliott, 6 years 90 million
This is an easy one, among the very very worst deals in the league. The Cowboys are on the books for this guy through 2027 for an average of 15 million a year, and when you watch a Cowboys’ game there’s hardly a discernible difference between him and Tony Pollard who makes a shade under 800 thousand a year
Denver Broncos: Justin Simmons: 4 years 61 million
This was a tough one because the Broncos don’t really have any big money contracts now that they’ve offloaded Von Miller. I went with Simmons just because 61 million is a lot for a safety who isn’t a generational talent, but this one isn’t too egregious.
Detroit Lions: Jared Goff: 4 years 134 million
I know the Lions weren’t the ones that made this contract, and they got draft picks in exchange for taking on that money, but it doesn’t change how bad of a deal it is. I don’t think Goff is an awful quarterback, he’ll be a highly coveted backup once this deal runs its course, but he’s getting paid like a star and isn’t close to that.
Green Bay Packers: Mason Crosby: 3 years, 13 million
The money isn’t high in a vacuum, but Crosby at this point genuinely has no business being on an NFL roster and he’s getting paid like he’s Justin Tucker. It’s very very possible that he at some point costs the Packers a playoff game with a missed kick, they shouldn’t be paying him a single cent.
Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson: 4 years, 156 million
I don’t want to bash the Texans for this, because they had a young star quarterback who they won a playoff game with, the future looked bright, and they paid him. Certainly looked like a better deal than those of Wentz, Goff, Cousins, etc. But off the field issues with Watson have resulted in 39 million a year not being active. Tough situation but a bad deal nonetheless.
Indianapolis Colts: Carson Wentz: 4 years 128 million
The Colts weren’t the ones that made this deal, but they were the ones that willingly traded a first round pick to take it on. The Colts had a stout offensive line, a very good defense, an MVP candidate running back, and missed the playoffs because their quarterback couldn’t lead them to a win against the Jaguars.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Myles Jack: 4 years 57 million
I expected this one to be difficult because the Jaguars are currently spending the least money in the national football league, but got easier when I saw the season stats of their highest paid player. Maybe he’ll have a career resurgence with a new coaching staff, but for now this is comfortably their worst deal.
Kansas City Chiefs: Frank Clark: 5 years 104 million
Clark’s play as of late has made this deal more palatable, but it’s still too much money for a pass rusher that isn’t on the Donald/Watt/Garrett tier. He made the game sealing tackle in the Super Bowl so it will never matter, but this is definitely too much money.
Las Vegas Raiders: Cory Littleton: 3 years 35 million
Littleton had a very disappointing season, which makes this contract look much worse than it did at the time it was made. I debated putting Clelin Ferrel here instead but I went Littleton because it was more than just a draft signing.
Las Angeles Chargers: Joey Bosa: 5 years 135 million
Might be a controversial opinion because of how good of a player Bosa is, but there’s just too much evidence that he’s one of the most injury prone stars in the league. He’s missed loads of games, and it’s very very conceivable that Bosa misses a Chargers playoff run between now and 2026 because he can’t stay on the field.
Las Angeles Rams: Robert Woods: 4 years 65 million
Woods is a fine player but this is WR1 money for a player that isn’t a WR1. The Rams are going to be giving Cooper Kupp a monster deal very soon (and he’ll deserve every cent), and once they do that this deal with Woods will make them even more handicapped than they already are.
Miami Dolphins: Byron Jones: 5 years 82 million
The Dolphins might be the only team in NFL history whose two highest paid players were both cornerbacks, but Jones isn’t living up to 16 million a year. Good player, but this is money that would be better spent elsewhere.
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins: 2 years 66 million
Kirk Cousins is not a bad quarterback, but he’s not a quarterback that has any business making 33 million a year. We’ve seen enough evidence through the years of the Kirk Cousins experience that he needs everything around him to be perfect, and those aren’t the guys that you give over 30 million a year.
New England Patriots: Jonnu Smith: 4 years 50 million
The Patriots have been notorious through the years for not spending big money in free agency, until they finally did this offseason. This one was easily the biggest flop, they gave him 12.5 million a year to have 28 catches, one touchdown and not be the best tight end on the roster.
New Orleans Saints: Michael Thomas: 5 years 96 million
Thomas set the record for most catches in a single season, got a 96 million dollar deal, and I’m not sure he’s been seen or heard from since. The Saints are saying he’s hurt, but it’s been a really long time with no update, he freaked out after an altercation in practice with CJ Gardner-Johnson. I don’t think anyone knows what’s going to happen with this guy, and he’s got the second biggest contract on the team.
New York Giants: Kenny Golladay: 4 years 72 million
This one could get better with a new coaching staff and a full season with a healthy Daniel Jones, but the fact right now is that the Giants are paying 18 million a year and Golladay didn’t have a single touchdown in 2021.
New York Jets: CJ Mosley: 5 years 85 million
The Jets were a bad team so Mosley having a very down season flew under the radar. Maybe he’ll get it turned around but at 17 million a year for a bad season he’s the worst contract on the team.
Philadelphia Eagles: Fletcher Cox: 6 years 102 million
History will not be too negative on this contract because Cox has been a great player and won a Super Bowl during this deal, but as of right now Cox is making 17 million while being on the wrong side of his career. Great player, great career, but his deal is not in a good position right now.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Stephon Tuitt: 5 years 60 million
This is a tough one because I don’t think this is a bad deal and it might be recency bias because he was hurt this year. But the Steelers have so much money tied up in their defensive line, and if this money was being diverted to the offensive line I think the Steelers would be a better team. Not a bad deal, just not the correct use of resources for the situation the team is in.
San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo: 5 years 137 million dollars
This is a bad deal because I think this is more money than a quarterback of Jimmy G’s caliber should be making, and it becomes even worse when you consider his inability to stay on the field. The Niners are better with him than without, but there have been multiple almost full seasons he’s missed, and is due for an interception or a missed throw in any big game.
Seattle Seahawks: Jamal Adams: 4 years 70 million
I’m not sure which move was dumber: trading 2 first round picks and a quality starter for Jamal Adams, or signing Jamal Adams to this deal. He can’t stay on the field, he doesn’t play like a true safety, he’s basically an above average, one dimensional outside linebacker disguised as a safety, and makes 17 and a half million a year. Terrible, terrible deal.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cameron Brate: 6 years 41 million
This was maybe the hardest one because the defending champs don’t really have a bad contract on the roster. I went with Brate just because he’s making more annually than you’d expect to see from a TE2, but this being their worst deal shows how well the Bucs are doing.
Tennessee Titans: Julio Jones: 3 years 66 million
This one hurts me in my heart because I love Julio, but 22 million a year for an aging receiver who can’t stay healthy anymore is impossible to argue for. That’s all I’m going to say because I won’t say anything else negative about Julio.
Washington Football Team: William Jackson III: 3 years 40 million
Not a whole lot to say here other than that Jackson had a very down season in 2021, and is the third highest paid player on the roster. Not a too egregious deal, I’m at the end of the blog I don’t really want to write anymore.