The NFL’s Worst Contracts Heading into 2016 has a mix of seasoned veterans and younger players thought to have a lot of potential. Players with multiple Pro Bowls and a future Hall of Fame player made the list, proving that past success does not necessarily translate into a good contract. Most of these players will be reasons behind the successes of their respective teams in this coming season. That said, they will also be more responsible for the limitations the teams will have in the future.
The NFL’s Worst Contracts Heading into 2016
1. Drew Brees
Drew Brees is a very good player and possibly a first ballot Hall of Famer. However, the New Orleans Saints are spending the farm to retain him when they should be restructuring in order to sign above average free agents and avoid another 7-9 record. Salary cap hits can be maneuvered in a number of different ways, so it was baffling that the Saints couldn’t reach an agreement on a restructure before or even during the height of free agency signings. His league high cap hit of a grotesque $30 million is ridiculous even for a good quarterback and nearly $6 million more than the next highest player (Eli Manning). Brees is a solid and tough player but he is also 37 and losing talented guys around him that a five-year deal to Coby Fleener won’t solve. Say hello to another 7-9 record, New Orleans, and maybe say bye to Brees while you’re at it.
2. Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco is a very average player and definitely not a first ballot Hall of Famer. However, the Baltimore Ravens decided to massively overpay him for his infamous Super Bowl run during the 2012-13 season. After that postseason run, the team gave him a then record contract for six years and $120.6 million. The Ravens record since is 23-25, and since the contract had such a high signing bonus, cutting him won’t be a financially feasible option till 2019, the first year of his recent three year extension.
3. Olivier Vernon
Olivier Vernon has been a hot topic in that many believe he can grow into his amazing athletic potential. Also, the five-year deal he just signed with over $52 million guaranteed has people in the New York Giants organization excited because he now has good teammates on the defensive line. However, he just came from the Miami Dolphins, which had Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake on the same defensive line. The Giants better hope he makes something of all that athletic potential, or the team just paid over $52 million and now have the 4th highest cap hit in the league at defensive end for seven sacks a year.
4. Brandon Carr
Carr helped the Dallas Cowboys out for restructuring his big contract back in 2013, but he will still be paid quite a bit of money for a cornerback without an interception over the last two seasons. Yes the Cowboys team did very well in terms of overall pass defense this last season, ranking fifth best in the league. Let’s not forget Tony Romo was hurt the majority of the season and most games the opposing team would be running the ball to chew clock and get out with a win. In 2014, when the Cowboys had Romo and were a threat in the playoffs, the pass defense ranked 23rd and was the notable weakness of the team. Paying the best player within your biggest weakness a little over $9 million with a cap hit just under $14 million does not sound like a recipe for success. It’s just another reason why Jerry Jones needs to get out of his own way.
5. Lawrence Timmons
Timmons is a really good player on this list. Quite frankly, the only reason he’s on it is because the Pittsburgh Steelers have a great amount of depth at the linebacker spot and could have saved well over $8 million by cutting him before the league deadline when 2016 salaries become guaranteed. Timmons is a strong and athletic linebacker but so are his younger counterparts Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree. Saving over $8 million in cap space would have been nice to address the glaring problem on the Steelers‘ defense, that being the secondary. Adding a good veteran to pair with a draft pick in the secondary would have been wise and attainable if they were to have cut Timmons.