When a team signs a player to a huge contract they are making a huge investment in his future with their franchise. Not only are they investing in the short term but for their long-term durability and performance as well. This type of financial investment does not always pay off for teams and some signings have resulted in millions of dollars in lost money over the years. For example, many quarterbacks are signed for huge money after having success in a small sample size of games and it comes back to bite the team who signed them. After a player has a falling out with a team they can either sit on the bench and cause problems or the team can cut them and still take a hit to their cap room.
These are the 15 NFL players who have just stopped playing up to their contracts and have become flat out dead weight for their teams this season. Some of these players find themselves on the list because their play on the field does not match the money they pull into the bank each week. Other players fall onto the list because they are not durable enough to stay on the field and contribute for their team to earn their money. Either way these guys are some of the most over paid players in the NFL and they need to step up to be worth the money they are pulling in.
15 Carson Palmer
Carson Palmer was in the MVP conversation a couple of seasons ago for the Arizona Cardinals, but constant injuries have always been his downfall throughout his NFL career. He was never the same after he injured his knee in a playoff game playing for the Cincinnati Bengals. For the Cardinals it has been more of the same, he has been some what successful when he has been on the field, but he has been injured in almost every season with the team. The Cardinals were expected to be contenders this year, but after injuries to David Johnson and Palmer they had no shot. Palmer is going to turn 38 before the end of this season, so it is unlikely that he will play much longer. His 2017 cap hit is worth $24.13 million and that is second only behind Joe Flacco.
14 Eli Manning
Eli Manning has proven that he is on the back nine of his career this season because the Giants offence has struggled mightily to score points. Manning is also one of the highest paid players in the league and the highest paid player on the Giants roster at $13 million this season. With the team likely headed for a top five draft pick this could mean Manning will be headed to the bench next season. More likely he will have one more year for the team as the starter while letting whoever is drafted sit and learn for a year. He has a potential out in 2019 for the Giants if they want to cut him, but they will have to take a cap hit of $6.2 million if they do. They should let Manning go out on his own terms considering he has won two Super Bowls for the franchise.
13 Branden Albert
Albert has yet to play a down of football this season for any team. However since he was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars last March, the team still had to pay his contract for this season. They had to pay him a whopping $9 million which is a ton of money for a player that never played a down. Rather than having Albert sit on their bench and earn that money they decided to cut him and let him sign with another team if he wanted. He played in the pre season for the Chiefs, but no team has signed Albert yet this season. Albert has still not formally retired and is an unrestricted free agent at the moment, but after a year off of football it is unlikely that a team will take a chance on a 33-year-old tackle at this point in his career.
12 Sam Bradford
It is hard to believe, but Sam Bradford is still one of the highest paid players in the NFL. This is a head scratcher because Bradford can never stay on the field for a full season. After trading for Bradford last season, the Minnesota Vikings owed him $14 million this year. After Bradford had another knee injury, quarterback Case Keenum has stepped up for them this season. They also have young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who showed flashes of brilliance before he was injured two seasons ago and he will be waiting for his chance as soon as Keenum shows any signs of slowing down. Considering how poor the market is for veteran quarterbacks this off-season Bradford will likely get a chance with another team next year. He is an unrestricted free agent this upcoming year and if he does not decide to retire he will have the choice to sign with any team that wants him.
11 Jeff Allen
Allen was signed for big money to play offensive line for the Texans before last season. He was originally signed to play tackle however he was forced to play guard due to injuries. He struggled with this transition because right guard is a position on the line where he never played before. This lead him to give up five sacks last season, this season the Texans line looked improved before their highly touted rookie Deshaun Watson went down for the year with an injury. He has started every game this season on the offensive line for the Texans this season, so at least they are getting their money's worth by him being on the field. Yet Allen’s contract is worth $28 million and it is four years long, this makes him a pretty highly paid guard and when looking at his production on the field he is overpaid.
10 Haloti Ngata
Haloti Ngata was once one of the best interior defensive linemen in the game when he was wreaking havoc with the Baltimore Ravens. These days Ngata is still being paid like he is a Pro-Bowler, but his production has significantly dropped off. He has only two sacks and seven tackles this season and that is subpar for his standards. However, this is mostly due to him missing the last six games with a biceps injury. Since his injury he has taken on a vocal role in the locker room and has become somewhat of a player coach. Even Lions defensive end Cornelius Washington says they have been calling Ngata “Coach 92” since the summer and OTAs referencing Ngata's jersey number. Since the Lions are paying him over $5 million dollars this season and he is not playing, at least they are getting some coaching out of him.
9 Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco finds himself on this list for different reasons than his quarterback counterpart Carson Palmer. He is on the list because the only thing that has been elite about Flacco since he cashed in after his Super Bowl run has been his enormous contract. Many fans expected Flacco to continue to carry the Ravens to the postseason but that has not been the case. Since 2013 the Ravens have averaged about 8 wins a year and have only made the playoffs one time in 2014. During his 2012-2013 playoff run Flacco did not throw an interception in four straight games. He has not had a four game stretch without an interception since then. This season Flacco ranks 30th in the league in total QBR according to ESPN, and according to his contract he should be at least in the top five in the league for QBR.
8 Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck was anointed as the best young quarterback in the NFL and a future hall of fame inductee, perhaps too soon in his career. This has also allowed him to be paid one of the highest salaries in the league. During his time with the Colts he has shown he can be a big time quarterback, but they have had trouble protecting him. This has caused Luck to take a tremendous amount of hits and rack up a bunch of injuries in his short career. Now Luck has missed most of last season and all of this season and there are major questions about him moving forward. Will he ever be the player he was before he had all these issues? Colts owner Jim Irsay was even rumoured to have said that he thinks Luck’s shoulder injury is all in his head at this point.
7 Sebastian Janikowski
Janikowski is one of the highest paid kickers in the league and it is because he has had such a long and successful career for the Raiders. However this season Janikowski has not kicked a single field goal. He was put on injured reserve at the beginning of this season because of back issues. It even appears that the longest tenured Raider on the roster is in danger of losing his kicking spot for good after the success of Giorgio Tavecchio this year. There is such a big question mark looming over Janikowski's head because he is an unrestricted free agent after this season. He is 39 and might be considering retirement and their current kicker Tavecchio is only 27 in his first season in the NFL. If Tavecchio keeps kicking well it is likely that SeaBass has kicked his last field goal for the silver and black.
6 Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill has shown promise in his young career, but he also has shown he is not very durable as well. He is one of the highest paid players on his team but he will not play a single game this season. Moving forward he is going to have to prove he can stay on the field for a full season if the Dolphins are going to keep him as their franchise quarterback. Tannehill's cap hit is huge this season at $20.3 million and is even as high as Aaron Rodgers’. Tannehill chose not to have surgery on his knee in the off-season and he tore his ACL in training camp because of that decision. Since he got injured so close to the start of the year it is going to be difficult for him to get healthy for the start of next year as well.
5 Ndamukong Suh
When Ndamukong Suh signed for huge money in free agency in 2015 it was thought he would be a game changer for the Dolphins defence. He has not broken 6 sacks since his arrival and it does not seem like he will break that total this season sitting at 3.5. With all the money the Dolphins are paying him he should be producing more like the Rams' interior lineman Aaron Donald who is struggling to get that big money from his own team. It might be a stretch to call Suh dead weight at this point in his career, as he is still a solid anchor for a defence against the run. However, much more was expected of Suh when he signed his $114 million contract with $60 million of it guaranteed. Maybe Suh cashed in and lost the edge that made him so successful early on in his career.
4 Star Lotulelei
Lotulelei has just not become the star (no pun intended) that most people envisioned when he was drafted 14th overall by the Panthers in 2013. Coming off of one of the worst seasons of his career in 2016, Lotulelei was somehow scheduled to get a raise of $5 million this season because of how his rookie contract was structured. Even though interior lineman are not expected to put up big sack numbers, this season Lotulelei has still underachieved only getting half of a sack so far. He is a free agent this upcoming off-season, and since he has not made a big impact again this season it will be difficult for Lotulelei to sign another contract worth big money. Lotulelei is making $6.76 million this season, so he should save some of that cash because he might not be making as much per year on his next deal.
3 Coby Fleener
When Coby Fleener signed his big money deal with the Saints worth $36 million for five years it was thought he would have a big role. The Saints are known to be pass heavy and to get their tight ends involved in the offence like they have with Jimmy Graham in the past. However Fleener has been more of a decoy during his time in New Orleans and has had issues catching the ball. To his credit, he did haul in 50 passes and over 600 receiving yards last season which is respectable. This season Fleener has again been a disappointment; through 11 games he only has 22 receptions for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Saints have plenty of weapons on offence, but Fleener should have bigger numbers than that since they are one of the top scoring offences in the NFL.
2 Mike Glennon
The Bears were thought to have found their solution at quarterback for this season when they signed Glennon to a big money deal this off-season. They signed him for 3 years and $45 million with $18.5 million of that as guaranteed money. Then when they drafted Mitchell Tribusky 3rd overall in this past draft many fans scratched their heads again. Why invest big money in Glennon if he is going to be a back up? He started the season as the Bears number one quarterback, but after a solid preseason from Tribusky and his own bad play to open the year he found himself on the bench yet again. This is a feeling Glennon is all too familiar with having gone through a similar situation in Tampa Bay with Jameis Winston. He probably is not complaining knowing he is going to be the highest paid back up player in the league for the next two seasons.
1 Brock Osweiler
Osweiler is definitely the most overpaid player in the NFL, he is even being paid by two teams (Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns) to not play for them. This off season he was traded to Cleveland and then cut by them after losing the starting job to a rookie. Somehow he ended up on the team he ran out on for more money in 2016, the Denver Broncos. He even started a few games for them this season and he lost all three games in horrible fashion. Looking back on his contract, it is pretty hard to imagine how the Texans signed him for four years and $72 million without even interviewing him in person first. Osweiler is more dead weight to the two teams he is not playing for than the one he is, because they are the ones paying for most of his ridiculous contract.