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Top 15 Worst Contracts in the NFL Today

When the new Collective Bargaining agreement was agreed upon in 2011, NFL players were guaranteed to receive at least 47% of revenue accrued over the previous season. Teams are also required to have spent 89% of their cap by the 2017 season. Combine these two figures with the fact that teams are allowed to carry over their unused cap-space from the previous season, it is inevitable that teams will be throwing an unnecessary amount of cash to less-than-deserving players.

Look across the league at many big-name players and you will see mediocre numbers with a contract that reflects past accomplishments or jersey sales more than their on-field performance. Teams nowadays are also more willing to overpay for a player that has thrived in a system, in hopes of that player turning around their franchise. This theory has seldom turned out for NFL GM’s. It is a startling trend in the NFL that appears to be gaining steam rather than dying out.

Though this isn’t always the GM’s fault. It is the GM’s job to scout good talent, encourage players to leave the franchise they have had success at, to join your team in hopes of increasing their chance at winning. Sometimes that player gets lazy and less interested in risking their body after earning his big payday, and sometimes that player has simply peaked and is now watching their game decrease.

As the NFL’s popularity grows every year, the salary cap will in-turn increase, resulting in teams being more likely to throw that extra cash at under-deserving players. Here is a look at 15 players that have been granted a contract beyond what their worth is as a player.

*All stats were taken from Pro-Football-Reference.com.

15 Adrian Peterson

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

14 Carson Palmer

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

In 2014, Carson Palmer had a 95.6 QB rating and was off to one of the best starts in his career before tearing his ACL in the Arizona Cardinals tenth game of the season (Palmer's sixth, he missed weeks 2-5 with a shoulder injury), the second such injury to the same ACL in Palmer's career. Cardinals back up QB, Drew Stanton, was equally impressive, posting a 5-3 record before ultimately being sidelined for the season with a knee injury, leaving Arizona without a reliable starting quarterback in the most important part of the season.

13 Colin Kaepernick

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

12 Jeremy Maclin

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

11 Jared Allen

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

10 Eric Decker

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

9 Marques Colston

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

8 Dwayne Harris

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

7 Marcedes Lewis

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

6 Sam Bradford

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

5 Jonathan Stewart

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

4 Julius Thomas

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

3 Charles Clay

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2 Mike Wallace

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

1 Jay Cutler

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Cutler hasn’t played a full season since 2009 and has thrown at least 12 interceptions per season every year except in his rookie campaign when he played only 5 games, and in 2011 when he played in just 10. He continues to be the most inconsistent quarterback in the league by alternating good game with atrocious games. Cutler has also managed to lead his team to the postseason just one time in his career and that was in 2010 when the Chicago Bears still had one of the league’s best defenses. So why is it that he has the highest valued contract in the entire NFL? Not even Jay Cutler can answer that.

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Top 15 Worst Contracts in the NFL Today