Now that the NFL season is all over and the internet has been flooded with enough funny Cam Newton memes to keep us content for an offseason, let’s put some of those crying Jordan faces to good use for other NFL players. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, today we are going to take a look back at the most overrated player from each NFL team; not just currently, but all time.
Before you furiously scroll down to your favorite team to see who was called out on this list, we need you to keep a few things in mind. First off, just because a player is great, does not exclude them from being overrated; in fact, there are multiple Hall of Famers on this list. Great players are included in this article, not as a slight to them, but more so to shut down fans who think that they are the greatest player ever.
Additionally keep in mind that majority of the players on this list are from the current era, or are from the recent past. In 1982, the average salary of an NFL player was just over $90,000 per year. Fast forward to 2013 and that number spiked to $1.9 million; that’s over a 2,000% increase in pay. With that being said, players in the current era are being paid significantly more to play football than their counterparts from previous generations. Increased salaries usually mean increased production, or the promise of increased production. This same stamdard can be applied to trading draft picks worth millions of dollars, to acquire a player who an organization may deem worth the risk.
For the sake of organization, we will not be breaking all of the teams into divisional categories, but rather we have alphabetized them for easy access based on team location. This list of 32 players is sure to be criticized and analyzed, so do us a favor and share it on social media, and comment below.
Arizona Cardinals – Beanie Wells
When Christopher “Beanie” Wells was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, many saw great things in the future of the former Ohio State Buckeye. In what was perhaps reflective of his career, Wells was carted off of the practice field on his first day with the Cardinals, sending up red flags immediately.
During his short four year career, Wells was only able to have a single 1,000 yard rushing season, and only delivered an abysmal 293 receiving yards during his entire career. Unfortunately for both Wells and Arizona, his size didn’t fit into their system, and the team wasted $9.6 million to watch a running back flounder.
Atlanta Falcons – Michael Vick
If the old NFL Street video games were real life, Michael Vick would be the greatest football player who ever lived…unfortunately it’s not real life. Don’t get us wrong, Vick was an absolute freak of nature, as one of the first quarterbacks who could outrun cornerbacks, but as a passer he was average at best.
During his best years in Atlanta, Vick averaged around 16 interceptions a season, and had a pretty bad case of fumblitis. Even more damning, Vick couldn’t stay healthy, and has only played one entire season (2006) during his 13 year career. Back in 2001 Vick was a novelty quarterback that the NFL hadn’t seen before, but now comparing him to a guy like Cam Newton, makes his deficiencies all the more noticeable.
Baltimore Ravens – Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis may have you believe that he is the greatest Raven to ever live, but the numbers tend to disagree. Sure the two time Super Bowl champion is one of the few Ravens to be on both the 2012 and 2000 team, but that doesn’t mean that the wins were because of him.
In truth the first half of Lewis’ career is nearly unparalleled, with stats that would lead to him being the all time leader in tackles for the Baltimore Ravens. However, for some reason the Ravens and Lewis would have you believe that he didn’t lose a single step during his 17 year career. In most cases Lewis spoke of himself as if he were the same tackling machine that he was in 2001, but keep in mind that he finished the 2012 year with only 44 tackles, way below his career average.
Buffalo Bills – Peerless Price
Peerless Price was traded for a first round pick…enough said…oh we can’t end there? Okay, here is more.
When the Atlanta Falcons traded a first round pick in the 2003 to the Bills for the receiver, it seemed like a smart move, as Peerless Price had a career season playing with Drew Bledsoe in Buffalo. The truth about the wideout’s skills were exposed when he failed to live up to the same performance in Atlanta. In fact Price failed to score more than three touchdowns in any season for the rest of his career, even after he went back to Buffalo in 2006.
Carolina Panthers – Greg Hardy
Greg Hardy had two very good years with the Carolina Panthers during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, with 11 and 15 sacks respectively; however these numbers are deceiving. Hardy had only eight sacks going into Week 16 during the 2013 season, but was able to amass an amazing seven against the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons during the last two games of the year. Just for reference, the Falcons finished that year at 4-12, and were crippled by injuries that year.
Hardy isn’t as good as he once was thought to be, with only one stellar season during his six year career so far. The former Panther may have been “Kraken” on the field before, but it’s nowhere to be found now – and yes there is a joke there somewhere.