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.
32 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.
31 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.
30 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.
29 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.
28 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.
27 Chicago Bears - Jay Cutler
This is a tricky one, because a debate has raged for years of whether or not Cutler is an overrated or underrated quarterback. Is it fair to call someone elite or even good who has only played in two playoff games in their entire career?
26 Cincinnati Bengals - Chad Johnson
25 Cleveland Browns - Peyton Hillis
Whether it was a case of the Madden Curse, or a case of being over-hyped too fast, Peyton Hillis fell off the face of the Earth after being featured on the cover of the iconic game in 2011. Hillis had a career year in 2010 finishing in the top 10 rushers from the line of scrimmage in the NFL; the only fullback to do so.
24 Dallas Cowboys - Deion Sanders
Deion Sanders was great, but not so great that he could get away with playing two professional sports at once. If you compare him to the great Bo Jackson who played for both the NFL and MLB, Sanders isn’t even in the same conversation.
23 Denver Broncos - Tim Tebow
It’s pretty crazy to think that some Denver Broncos fans are still upset that the organization cut Tim Tebow, and signed Peyton Manning as their quarterback. Despite leading... no taking... no, riding his team to the playoffs in 2011, Tebow was named both as one of the Top 100 players in the NFL by the NFL Network, and also voted the most overrated in an NFL poll conducted less than a year later.
22 Detroit Lions - Barry Sanders
Barry Sanders was named as number 17 of all time in the NFL Top 100 Players of All Time special; this is one of many gaffes on the part of the NFL Network. Sanders was very good during his NFL career, securing a Hall of Fame induction during his first year of eligibility, but was still overrated.
Without the help of his wide receivers stretching the field though, Sanders may have never been able to become the third-leading rusher of all time, leading some to speculate that the Detroit Lions lifer may have fallen short in a different system.
21 Green Bay Packers - John Kuhn
Sure it’s nice to hear an entire stadium of people yell KUUUUHHHNNN when John Kuhn breaks off a big run in Green Bay, but to be listed as one of the NFL’s top players every year isn’t justified.
20 Houston Texans - Jacoby Jones
The worse kind of overrated player, is one that is overrated based solely on name recognition; think in terms of celebrities who are famous for being famous. Unless you were a Houston Texans (or Baltimore Ravens) fan, the only reason you know who Jacoby Jones is, is because he has was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.
19 Indianapolis Colts - Peyton Manning
Given that former Indianapolis Colt Peyton Manning is now a two time Super Bowl winner, this entry may come to some as a shock to some. While Manning is a statistical beast, the future Hall of Famer has always played badly in the postseason; his record is 14-13 as a starter in the playoffs.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars - Marcedes Lewis
When the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Marcedes Lewis in 2006, they expected him to be an all star tight end, comparable to Antonio Gates. Sadly for the struggling team, Lewis under-performed in all but one of his nine seasons with the team.
17 Kansas City Chiefs - Matt Cassel
Way back in 2008 when New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tore his ACL, Matt Cassel took over under center, starting 15 of the 16 regular season games. From that point on, Matt Cassel was heralded not only as a great quarterback, but also used as living proof to show that Brady was overrated.
16 Miami Dolphins - Brandon Marshall
Eventually you have to ask yourself, why does a guy who is a beast on the field, and who is relatively healthy continue to be traded around the league? Well in the case of Brandon Marshall, it’s because of his off the field antics, which didn’t mesh well with his low production in Miami.
15 Minnesota Vikings - Randy Moss
Randy Moss is the most talented receiver to ever play the game of football, with no one even coming close to the physical gifts that Moss offered the Vikings. So why is he on this list? Well Moss, while talented, didn’t play up to his full ability, with Jerry Rice commenting that “To see a guy with that much talent not give it 100 percent, it was almost like a little slap in the face”, and that Moss “took a couple plays off”. Moss even corroborated this during an interview in 2001 saying that he “play(s) when (he) wants to play...case closed”.
14 New England Patriots - Adalius Thomas
The New England Patriots stepped outside of their character, and signed outside linebacker Adalius Thomas to a huge $35 million deal in 2007; Bill Belichick said that the Pats “backed up the Brink’s truck” to sign the former Baltimore Raven to five year deal.
13 New Orleans Saints - Reggie Bush
Reggie Bush was poised to become one of the best running backs to ever lace up a pair of spikes in the NFL, at least that is what the New Orleans Saints hoped would happen when they selected him with the 2nd overall pick of the 2006 NFL draft.
12 New York Giants - Jeremy Shockey
Jeremy Shockey was always more flash than substance, having never played an entire season during his five years in the Big Apple. Shockey didn't have the greatest numbers in New York, never gaining more than 900 yards receiving, which isn’t exactly elite in the NFL.
11 New York Jets - Bart Scott
“CAN’T WAIT”, is a phrase that many people had in New York, when news came that the former Baltimore Raven Bart Scott would be signing with the Jets. The deal saw the linebacker making $48 million for six years, capitalizing on his success as part of the dominant Ravens defense.
10 Oakland Raiders - George Blanda
In what will be our oldest entrant on the list, former Oakland Raider legend George Blanda is the original utility player. Blanda played quarterback, kicker, punter, and defensive back during his Hall of Fame career; for the sake of this list, we will be looking at his work as a quarterback.
9 Philadelphia Eagles - Nnamdi Asomugha
Let’s break the fourth wall for this one; I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan, perhaps one of the biggest. When we signed the “shutdown” cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (as well as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie), Philly fans were ecstatic at the prospect of having a secondary similar to the one we had in the early 2000s that carried the Eagles into four NFC Championship games; we were wrong.
Asomugha was so bad, so unbelievably the opposite of “shutdown”, that the Eagles fan base was okay with paying out $25 million in guarantees just to get rid of the bum… I mean get rid of the cornerback. You could argue that Asomugha fell victim to a bad system that introduced the wide nine formation, but an elite cornerback shouldn’t get torched every single play...EVERY SINGLE PLAY.
8 Pittsburgh Steelers - Kordell Stewart
This may hurt Steeler fans, who thought that quarterback/wide receiver/running back Kordell Stewart’s versatility was the best thing since sliced bread, but “Slash” was overrated. Though Stewart has stats in every category, he finished his career with more interceptions than touchdown throws, with a majority of them coming while wearing the black and yellow.
7 St. Louis/L.A. Rams - Tavon Austin
6 San Diego Chargers - David Boston
David Boston was paid a guarantee of $12 million to catch one touchdown for the the San Diego Chargers in 2003. The previous statement is totally true. Sure there are some stats missing like Boston’s 880 yards receiving, and his one game suspension for cursing out his strength coach, but true none the less.
5 San Francisco 49ers - Joe Montana
4 Seattle Seahawks - Shaun Alexander
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Keyshawn Johnson
Maybe Keyshawn Johnson would be better suited for the "top overvalued players of all time" instead of making this list, but that is splitting hairs. The fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave up two first round picks in the 2000 NFL draft for a wide receiver with average production is insane.
2 Tennessee Titans - Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson may have been a victim of his own success for the Tennessee Titans. His 2009 season saw Johnson join an elite club of running backs to rush for over 2,000 yards in a single season; it is a club he would never regain membership to.
1 Washington Redskins - Albert Haynesworth
You know we saved the best for last, and boy is it a doozey. Albert Haynesworth famously said ,"You're not going to remember Albert Haynesworth as a bust” after signing to the Washington Redskins in 2009 for $100 million; $41 million of which was guaranteed money.
Haynesworth didn’t keep his word, as the defensive tackle showed up to training camp out of shape, and seemed to lack motivation during games. The Haynesworth experiment in Washington only lasted two seasons, but the ramification of paying so much for such a lackluster player is still felt at FedExField today.
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