Analysis Around the League Opinion

Identifying the NFL’s most overpaid players

With the Chiefs making a splash in the past week by handing out a 10 year half a billion dollar extension to QB Patrick Mahomes and a 4 year 80 million and change deal to DT Chris Jones, it has come to that time in the year when you look around the league and examine contracts. Specifically, which payers are getting more than their fair share of the notoriously hard to come by money that NFL owners are doling out, especially after this pandemic has its way with the 2021 salary cap numbers. Here are some of the league’s most overpaid players.

Jared Goff

We start out west, where the LA Rams are shelling out top of league money (specifically, the 3rdhighest annual salary at 33.5 million) for mediocre QB play. Goff was brought to the top of the league in 2018 by an offensive line that was arguably the best in the NFL at the time, and by having solid weapons surrounding him like a then in his prime Todd Gurley, who the Rams have also moved on from. He also was helped out by head coach Sean McVay and his new offensive system. Goff went on to sign a 4 year, 134 million dollar extension in 2019, which has already been restructured once. Unfortunately for LA, they no longer have the cap space (mainly due to Goff’s obscene contract) or the draft picks to rebuild the offense around Goff, and he will continue to show average QB play until they can figure things out. The earliest the Rams can get out of this contract is in 2022 as well, so it looks like things will remain stagnant out west for a couple of years. 

Le’Veon Bell

The NFL has seemed to come a consensus in recent years not to overpay RBs, at least everywhere but New York, where they decided to give Le’Veon Bell a 4 year 52.5 million dollar deal (with 27 million of that guaranteed.) Behind atrocious offensive line play, Bell proceeded to average just 3.2 yards per carry last season, after sitting the previous season out in Pittsburgh who subsequently made the right move and let him walk. Bell’s 2020 cap hit is 15.5 million, which is highest in the league amongst RBs. They seem to be hedging their bets in NY as well, as the Jets just signed veteran Frank Gore to share at least some of the RB duties with Bell this season. You would think that the highest cap hitting RB in the NFL could handle to the backfield all to himself, but alas it seems he needs some help, and that help has come in the form of Frank Gore and Mekhi Becton (remember the huge kid in this year’s draft who was pushing a truck? Yeah that’s him.) Lets hope thing can start to look up a little for “Gang Green” this year.

David Johnson

Remember earlier when I mentioned how the league had apparently sent out a memo about not giving RBs big money when they are nearing the end of their prime? Well that one didn’t apply in the following situation either, when the Cardinals signed David Johnson to a 3 year extension in 2018. The Cards thought they would never be able to get out from underneath Johnson, but then in all his wisdom Texans head coach/GM Bill O’Brien decided to give them an out with a mind scratching trade this offseason when he sent arguably the best WR in the league in De’andre Hopkins to AZ and decided to take on Johnson and his massive contract. Now the Texans are stuck with Johnson’s massive 11.2 million dollar cap hit, which is second only to Le’Veon Bell’s in NY. O’Brien better hope the Texans see some production out of Johnson this season or else it could be his head on the chopping block, with a fresh face in Houston possibly in the form of Eric Bienemy? Who knows, there are still many games to be played this upcoming season.

Nate Solder

After a year in New York, the Giants may have made one of the biggest free agent busts in league history. The Giants signed LT Nate Solder to a 4 year, 62 million dollar deal after Solder was let out of New England who didn’t want to make the same mistake it seems. If you had the pleasure (or curse it seemed) to watch any Giants games last year, you would have noticed it seemed rookie QB “Danny Dimes” Daniel Jones was constantly running away from defenders, and this was partly due to Solder’s lack of elite tackle play. Even though he is paid like one, Solder didn’t perform to his contracts standard, giving up 11 sacks last year. Although the 6 foot 8 Solder has elite tackle size, when left on an island the past year it seems he couldn’t cut it. 

The Chiefs managed to stay off this list for now, mainly by restructuring Sammy Watkins contract so he could remain with the squad. And some may argue that Anthony Hitchen’s 5 year, 45 million dollar contract deserves to be here, although Hitchens has had some production and still has a few years remaining to make up for lost time. Hopefully the Chiefs can avoid making similar mistakes like the previous teams.

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