Inspired by the Colts making Andrew Luck the highest paid player in league history, I recently took a look at some other players who are expecting a big raise soon.
I’m sure the question everyone is eager to have answered is whether or not I received my stipend from Andrew. Unfortunately, not yet. I will have to get my secretary to reach out to him. But first, I should probably get a secretary.
Now that we’ve answered the most pressing question, we can move onto the secondary business of the day: looking at the 15 most overpaid players in the NFL. If hearing someone who makes six figures-plus described as “underpaid” bruised your ego (I certainly sobbed holding my pay stub), then this list is going to bring on full-fledged depression. At least the “underpaid” players are good at what they do.
We’ve all experienced those jerks at the office who don’t pull their weight, and spend the majority of their time on social media. That’s frustrating enough in and of itself, but then to find out that Tommy-texts-a-lot makes more money than we do! OUTRAGE!
I can’t solve your intra-office injustice, but I can reveal the identities of those NFLers who are not very popular in their locker rooms due to their inflated salaries. No, this list will not include Roger Goodell.
Finding the most overpaid players was a little more difficult than the most underpaid players because NFL contracts are about as guaranteed as my stipend from Andrew Luck. Quite simply, if you’re not performing up to your salary, then you will be cut to help save money. For this reason, it’s a lot more rare to see a grossly overpaid player than it is to see one who is underpaid.
But they are out there. And they’re also down here:
The NFL’s Most Overpaid Players
Jairus Byrd, FS, New Orleans Saints
Currently earning: $9 million/yr, signed through 2019
Byrd is two years into his massive six-year, $54 million contract with the Saints but has played in a combined 17 games and registered one interception.
If those numbers aren’t rattling enough, then you should try to find the “ball-hawking” safety on the list of league leaders for passes defended in 2015. I’ll save you some time; he’s tied for 168th, and the number of linebackers who are ahead of him should be quite infuriating to any Saints fan.
The highest paid free safety, Eric Berry, makes $10.8 million per season. The gap between the two players should be a little more noticeable. Anyone opposed? Didn’t think so.
I’m truly shocked that New Orleans hasn’t already cut him.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
Currently earning: $19 million/yr, signed through 2020
The only reason Kaepernick is not higher on this list is because he has the potential to succeed in Chip Kelly’s system, mostly due to his mobility. However, there is also a good chance his speed will be put to use holding up signs on the sidelines, while Blaine Gabbert gets off a play every 20 seconds.
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Miami Dolphins
Currently earning: $19.06 million/yr, signed through 2020
Even prior to posting a rather underwhelming season in Miami, Suh was never worth this money. He is not the most dominant defensive player in the game, yet he’s paid that way.
J.J. Watt makes less than $17 million per season. Do I even need to ask who you’d rather have?
Chase Daniel, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Currently earning: $7 million/yr, signed through 2018
When the Eagles signed Daniel this offseason, the figures suggested that he was coming in to be the starter, and that Sam Bradford may be on his way out. Yet, Bradford was re-signed (more on him to come), and Philadelphia also traded up to draft Carson Wentz with the second-overall pick.
Other top backups in the league are lucky to make $4 million per year; Daniel now makes almost double that, despite the fact that he’s only started two games in the NFL, and has thrown one touchdown as a pro.
Don’t let those numbers fool you. There’s a reason Daniel makes more than ten starting quarterbacks in the league. I’m just not sure what it is yet.
Olivier Vernon, DE, New York Giants
Currently earning: $17 million/yr, signed through 2020
This is an awful lot of money for a defensive end who has never eclipsed 12 sacks in a single season, not to mention one who has posted single-digit sack totals in three of his four years as a pro.
After Vernon, the next three-highest paid defensive ends are J.J. Watt, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Robert Quinn. I’ll roll with any of those three over the Giants’ new pass-rusher.
To continue rubbing salt in the wound, Justin Houston, who makes less money per year, has 29.5 sacks over the last two seasons (which includes an injury-shortened 2015). That’s more than Vernon has in his four-year career.
Almost 62-percent of his $85 million deal is guaranteed. Someone please set me up with David Canter’s contact info.
Sam Bradford, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Currently earning: $17.5 million/yr, signed through 2017
I promised more on Sam Bradford and here it is. The former no. 1 overall pick makes more money per year than Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton. He’s also just a touch (something he severely lacks) under what Matthew Stafford makes.
If someone could provide me with an explanation, that would be great. Just point to something that justifies this contract. Anything!
Janoris Jenkins, CB, New York Giants
Currently earning: $12.5 million/yr, signed through 2020
This was the Giants second big splash in free agency this offseason, and the value of the contract is just as baffling as the first. Bleacher Report ranked Jenkins as the 75th best corner in the league, yet the Giants decided to pay him as if he were in the top-ten.
I won’t argue that Jenkins has made some great plays, but I’ve also seen him get burned on more than a handful of occasions.
If that’s not enough, he makes almost 150-percent of what Chris Harris does, the number four corner on that same list.
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Currently earning: $22.13 million/yr, signed through 2021
If I asked you who Andrew Luck overtook as the highest paid player in the NFL per season, I’m sure your response would have been either Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, or maybe even Drew Brees.
But you’re a sharp individual, and you see where this is going; it was actually Joe Flacco. Is the Ravens signal caller a bad quarterback? Not at all. Is he worth more than all of the aforementioned players? Not at all.
Dion Jordan, DE, Miami Dolphins
Currently earning: $5.14 million/yr, signed through 2016
The Dolphins are basically receiving one sack for every $5 million spent on Jordan. Had he not been suspended for the entire 2015 season, perhaps Jordan could’ve sweetened the return to 1.5.
Why hasn’t he been cut yet? Probably because more than 75-percent of his money is guaranteed.
One last tidbit to make Dolphin fans weep: Ezekiel Ansah was drafted two picks after Miami selected Jordan third-overall in 2013. Good pick, Miami.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears
Currently earning: $14.6 million/yr, signed through 2016
If money is supposed to be commensurate with performance, Alshon Jeffery should be the second-best receiver in the league. Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, and Dez Bryant might have something to say about that. Heck, Tedd Ginn might have something to say about that.
We should remember that Jay Cutler is Jeffery’s quarterback, though. Maybe he really is the second-best receiver in the league.
Lane Johnson, RT, Philadelphia Eagles
Currently earning: $11.25 million/yr, signed through 2021
Johnson was ranked as the second-best right tackle in the league in 2015 by Bleacher Report, but he is currently the highest paid right tackle in the league by a lot. The second-highest paid right tackle is making $6.75 million/yr.
The worst part? The Eagles can’t even blame this on Chip.
Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens
Currently earning: $6.4 million/yr, signed through 2019
Pitta has played in seven games over the last three seasons, and his best year only saw him catch 61 passes. The Ravens have been able to store him on the IR, allowing him to avoid being a cap casualty, for now.
But his overpaid bona fides are still strong. Case in point: he makes more than Antonio Gates.
Byron Maxwell, CB, Philadelphia Eagles
Currently earning: $10.5 million/yr, signed through 2020
Anyone else feel there are far too many Eagles on this list?
At least this is one they can blame on Chip.
Jordan Cameron, TE, Miami Dolphins
Currently earning: $7.5 million/yr, signed through 2016
The Dolphins were extremely excited to sign former Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron last offseason. Unfortunately, the 2015 return was quite disappointing: 386 yards on 35 receptions.
Cameron makes as much as Greg Olsen; yet, Olsen caught 77 balls last season. Cameron has caught 59 over the last two seasons combined.
Nate Solder, LT, New England Patriots
Currently earning: $10.03 million/yr, signed through 2017
Although Solder only played in four games in 2015, he had a rough go in those four. The Pats left tackle graded out 45th in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. In spite of that, he makes a million dollars more per year than fourth-ranked Andrew Whitworth, and more than three times as much as 11th ranked Taylor Lewan.
Solder’s contract is almost 100-percent guaranteed. Maybe he should ask his agent for some tips on protection.