In the NFL, it only takes a few good years to land a big-time contract. These times live for players that will help carry their team to the playoffs, and they aren’t afraid to pay them. A lot of times when it comes to these big contracts, these players usually have control of what their contract looks like. The players get to wheel and deal their contracts debating on what they want, and possibly what the media feels that they deserve. And eventually, after all the disputes and talks, that player usually gets the money that they wanted.
A lot of questions linger when these players get these big contracts if they will perform to what their contract seems like they will. While some players absolutely dominate and take the next step as leaders of their team, some of these players cannot live up to their expectations. Many of these players underperform, or struggle under pressure. Unfortunately, many teams spend a lot of money on some of these players that never live up to their expectations, and sometimes sit on the bench because of their failure to perform. Big contracts are risky, but for many of these teams, they believe that these players they are giving big contracts are worth the money. But sometimes, it doesn’t always work out.
15 Sebastian Janikowski - Oakland Raiders
Contract: 4-year deal, $15 million
This contract never made sense from the beginning. It’s understandable that you want to take care of those who have been loyal and what not, but you also have to realize someone’s worth. Janikowski has the leg and has been great throughout his long career, but he’s also 39 years old, and a bit rusty. His numbers within the past three years have ranged within 80% field goal range. To put that into perspective, Dan Bailey in his best years have been in the 90% range along with Justin Tucker, who are two of the best field goal kickers in the NFL.
It doesn’t always make sense why kickers get paid as much as they do sometimes, but Janikowski’s prime days are over, which is why he should have taken a pay cut in the final years of his career. With Giorgio Tavecchio kicking lights out this season, don't be surprised if the Raiders get younger in 2018 and release Sea-Bass outright.
14 Joe Flacco - Baltimore Ravens
Contract: 3-year deal, $66.4 million
The worst signing in recent history, comes when the Ravens decided to give Joe Flacco top dollar to remain in Baltimore. Flacco becomes one of the highest paid players in the NFL, but does he really deserve it? Flacco is a good starting quarterback, although he does have his struggles. But is he really worth putting up there with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers? He took the Ravens to the Super Bowl and helped them win it, which gave him a huge push when it came to this contract, but ever since then, he hasn’t been a star at all.
Each season has been average, not putting up any staggering numbers. The only real great thing Flacco does it staying on the field. He has the fifth most consecutive games played by a quarterback in the regular season. Flacco may be reliable, but there are much better quarterbacks who deserve a contract like that.
13 Julius Thomas - Miami Dolphins
Contract: 2-year deal, $12 million
At one point in the career of Julius Thomas, fans considered him to be one of the best tight ends in football. Since his departure from the Denver Broncos, Thomas has been unable to come close to the production he once provided. Thomas’ original contract was a five-year deal worth $46 million, but due to his inability to perform, they cut down his contract. Thomas went from back to back seasons with 12 touchdowns, down to a five-touchdown season. His first season is Jacksonville wasn’t all that bad, but then in 2016 his production cut down to 281 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Thomas then was traded to the Dolphins, where he has started off the 2017 season struggling. Good tight ends are hard to come by, and Thomas unfortunately, was unable to live up to the same expectations he had in Denver due to wanting a larger contract.
12 Allen Hurns - Jacksonville Jaguars
Contract: 4-year deal, $40 million
The Jaguars front office has been awful paying out big contracts, to players who don’t deserve it. They paid Julius Thomas, who was eventually let go. They also paid Allen Hurns, who hasn’t lived up to expectations. Part of the reason for Hurns not being as dominant as expected may be because of Blake Bortles’ struggles throughout his career. Hurns best season came in 2015, when he caught for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdown passes. Hurns was given that extension after that great season, but the following season he was unable to break 700 yards.
Before the Jaguars go spending a lot of money on a wide receiver that they haven’t seen perform at a high level, they should look into grabbing a quarterback who can help stay consistent and bring this team into the playoffs.
11 Mike Glennon - Chicago Bears
Contract: 3-year deal, $45 million
This signing may go down as one of the worst contracts in NFL history. Mike Glennon has never been a legitimate starter in the NFL before the Bears signed him, and they already have benched him for Mitchell Trubisky. In his first season with the Bears, he struggled throwing five interceptions and only four touchdowns. The Bears seemed to have a dominant team, yet the only thing that was lacking was the quarterback position. It doesn’t make sense what the Bears did with this signing and draft pick, but it was a complete failure. It’s almost like they were indecisive with their decision of who they wanted for quarterback.
The Bears have struggled to find their quarterback ever since they wasted their time with Jay Cutler. This team needed some sort of boost, but Glennon was not that guy.
10 Brock Osweiler - Cleveland Browns
Contract: 1-year deal, $16 million
The Brock Osweiler contract is one that is confusing to many fans. In 2016, Brock Osweiler signed a four-year deal worth $72 million. After Osweiler helped lead the Broncos to the playoffs, the Texans believed he could help takeover the team and take them to the next level. In one year with the Texans, Osweiler threw for 2,957 yards and 15 touchdowns, along with 16 interceptions. Osweiler was one of the biggest disappointments in NFL free agency history. Because of his poor performance, the Texans traded away a second-round draft and Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns just to get rid of his expensive contract
Well, the Browns didn’t want to even keep Osweiler on the roster because of his poor performance, so they got rid of him and now have to pay $16 million for him to not play a snap for the team this season. Meanwhile, the Broncos are paying less than a million for Osweiler to ride the bench.
9 Ryan Tannehill - Miami Dolphins
Contract: 4-year deal, $77 million
Quarterbacks are the highest paid position players in all of the NFL, but not every quarterback deserves these huge paychecks. But for the Dolphins' starting quarterback, he’s been average, and that’s it. Tannehill has some mobility and the natural athleticism that a lot of new age QBs have. However, he seems very stiff behind the line of scrimmage, and struggles to make the big throws down the field. Tannehill also struggles to remain consistent, which fails to give this team the best chance to win.
Looking at Tannehill’s numbers, he hasn’t been all that bad, but he also hasn’t been good enough to take this team to the next level. While his statistics look good, this Dolphins team doesn’t look like they’ll get anywhere with him behind center. Oh wait, I forgot to mention that Tannehill suffered another major injury this preseason, which will keep him out until the 2018 season.
8 Andy Dalton - Cincinnati Bengals
Contract: 6-year deal, $96,000 million
If you have watched Andy Dalton this season and saw how much he made, you would start training to see if you could get a paycheck like that to try and become a new NFL quarterback. Granted, Dalton has played fairly well throughout his career, but he has also had a lot of struggles throughout his career. His problem has been that he turns the ball over a lot. If we look into the years, he threw 16 interceptions in 2012, 20 interceptions in 2013, and 17 interceptions in 2014. Although he’s been getting better when it comes to turning the ball over, he’s also missed quite a few games due to injuries.
Dalton isn’t the worst quarterback to have, and he definitely gives your team a chance to win, but he isn’t that dominant force that would help put your team above and beyond to give your team a shot to win.
7 Adrian Peterson - New Orleans Saints
Contract: 2-year deal, $7 million
The Saints proved just how much they regretted this signing, as they sent Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals, after just getting four games and 20 carries out of AP.
This signing isn’t really about the money that makes it a waste, it’s about the player itself. Adrian Peterson will go down as one of the greatest running backs to ever play in the NFL. Peterson is currently 16th all time on the NFL rushing leaders list, with 11,828 rushing yards. Peterson was a perfect fit in the Vikings scheme, and it seems now that Dalvin Cook is the perfect fit for that Vikings team. But, the team that Peterson decided to roll with wasn’t a team to run the ball much, and because of that it looks like the end of his career may come quicker than expected.
6 Tyrone Crawford - Dallas Cowboys
Contract: 5-year deal, $45 million
The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has been atrocious until 2017, and even Tyrone Crawford still has yet to have a real impact on this team. The Cowboys signed a big contract for the defensive tackle, hoping he could help be the start of a dominant defensive line. In five years, he has had 123 combined tackles and 13.5 sacks. Crawford has also dealt with some injuries, which have caused him to miss a couple games within the past few years.
The Cowboys have been trying to rebuild this defense with our pieces, which doesn’t include Crawford as one of the stars on this defense. Although he has been consistent, he hasn’t lived up to the expectations that the Cowboys had for him. This contract seems that it should be more fitting for defensive end, Demarcus Lawrence, for the way he’s been playing.
5 Eli Manning - New York Giants
Contract: 4-year deal, $84 million
Not only was Eli Manning’s contract a bust, but he may be one of the most overrated quarterbacks in the NFL. Manning is known for his heroic performances in the playoffs which have led the Giants to two Super Bowls, but we forgot to think about the rest of his career. Besides those playoff runs, Manning has struggled just as much as any other quarterback. Part of his struggles have been because of a poor offensive line and a weak run game, but he also has to take some blame for his mistakes.
The last time Eli has thrown for less than 10 interceptions in a season was back in 2004, during his rookie season, and that's because he only started seven games. Throughout 12 of his seasons, Eli threw at least 14 interceptions. Manning is a turnover machine, and although he has played well in the playoffs, he has struggled in the regular season. And if you can't GET to the playoffs, you can't succeed in the playoffs.
4 Dez Bryant - Dallas Cowboys
Contract: 5-year deal, $70 million
I hate to be the one to say it, but Dez Bryant is overpaid. Bryant was once a dominant wide receiver, in fact he was one of the top five wide receivers in the NFL. But it seems since Romo went down, so has Dez. Now many will talk and say that Dez and Dak need to build on their chemistry and what not, but Dez has been missing more clear passes than anyone in the game. There are many times where Prescott lays it right on Dez, and it’s a clear drop. When Dez drops those passes, Dak loses confidence which leads him to not targeting Dez as much as he would like.
Let’s face it, this isn’t the same Dez Bryant that we saw in 2014. He was a lot of fun to see, but it all went downhill. Dez still makes some big plays, but he’s nowhere near that big playmaker that signed that huge deal.
3 Andrew Luck - Indianapolis Colts (QB)
Contract: 6-year deal, $140 million
Andrew Luck is getting paid like a rockstar, although he’s not playing like one. To be more accurate, he’s barely playing. Luck is currently dealing with a shoulder injury, which has held him out of the first few games of the 2017 season. Luck also has dealt with shoulder injuries in the past, which have kept him out of the game. In 2015, Luck missed 9 games due to an injury.
Luck is not a bust at all, as he’s actually one of the most talented quarterbacks in the game. But he’s missed a lot of football for someone who is carrying a big chunk of the money the Colts have to spend per year. With that money, Luck could have taken a cheaper paycheck to help build around the team that is struggling to make it back to the playoffs.
2 Julio Jones - Atlanta Falcons
Contract: 5-year deal, $71.25 million
No one will argue stating that Julio Jones doesn’t have the skill level to be getting paid this much, it’s the question if he’s durable enough to be on the field a lot to be a legitimate factor. I'm not saying that Jones deserves a much cheaper contract, but he shouldn’t be getting paid as much as he is for someone who is injury prone. Throughout his career, he has only played two full seasons. Jones has always put up phenomenal numbers, but the Falcons may have wanted to get a pay cut for the amount of games he misses.
And a bigger problem, is that when Jones gets older, there’s going to be a higher chance of him getting hurt. It seems that we are always talking about Jones is hurt. Jones is great, and he’s one of the best wide outs in the game, but he needs to prove he can stay healthy before he’s thrown a huge chunk of money.
1 Derek Carr - Oakland Raiders
Contract: 5-year deal, $125 million
This is where there will be a lot of disagreements, and that’s fine because there are many ways to look at this thing. Did Derek Carr deserve a decent paycheck? 100%. Should he have received as big of a contract as he got? No. I’m not doubting his ability to play the game, I’m doubting his ability to stay healthy. Carr signed the massive contract after he was injured in Week 16 of the 2016 season with a broken fibula. Then in 2017, Carr suffered a back injury which is still unknown how many games Carr will miss.
Carr is a true leader, and a rare talent. But, without being on the field, he can’t show that amazing talent that he has. As great as he is, the media shouldn’t have hyped up how much he deserves the deal without seeing how he would return back from his injury last season.