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15 Worst Contracts in NFL History

Jennifer EakinsContributor IFebruary 23, 2012

15 Worst Contracts in NFL History

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    With free agency and the draft just around the bend, it seems to be the perfect time to rehash some of the worst contracts in NFL history.

    Some of these are plain old busts, while others are due to injury. In both instances the teams paid lavishly without reaping any of the rewards on the field.

    Here's a look at 15 of those contracts.

15. Peerless Price

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    The Atlanta Falcons acquired Peerless Price in 2003 via trade, after a highly productive year with the Buffalo Bills.

    Price inked a seven-year deal worth $37.5 million with a $10 million signing bonus. He proved to be a disappointment and never became the great No. 1 receiver that the Falcons had banked on.

    He was released after two lukewarm seasons having been paid $12.5 million in salary and bonuses.

14. Adam Archuleta

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    Adam Archuleta is one of four Redskins to make this list. Sorry, Washington fans, but you had to know it was coming.

    In 2006, he was signed to a seven-year deal worth $35 million, with $10 million of it guaranteed. His play for the Redskins during his one season was pathetic, making zero interceptions and only one sack.

    Washington traded Archuleta to the Chicago Bears in March 2007 for a sixth-round pick.

13. David Boston

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    In 2003 the San Diego Chargers signed the outspoken wide receiver to a seven-year, $47 million deal, with $12 million of it guaranteed. 

    David Boston had a decent season statistically, catching 880 yards with seven touchdowns. However, he often butted heads with the coaching staff. He was suspended for a game during the season for poor behavior. 

    After just one year with the Chargers, David was traded to the Dolphins for a sixth-round draft pick.

12. Daryl Gardener

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    In 2003 the Broncos signed the former Dolphins and Redskins defensive tackle to a seven-year, $34.8 million contract, with a $5 million signing bonus.

    Gardener was suspended twice for disruptive conduct and played in only five games for the squad that season, two of them as a starter.

    Daryl was released after the 2003 season and settled with the Broncos for an undisclosed amount in a dispute over his signing bonus.

11. Shaun Alexander

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    In 2005 Shaun Alexander had a career year with the Seattle Seahawks. He rushed for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns.

    On the heels of that great performance, the Seahawks signed him to an eight-year, $62 million deal, with $15.1 guaranteed. Much to their dismay, Alexander broke his foot in Week 3 and never returned to his 2005 MVP form.

    He appeared on the cover of Madden NFL '07, perpetuating the Madden Curse.

    Alexander played two mediocre seasons after inking that big deal in 2006 and was cut by the Seahawks in April 2008.

10. Edgerrin James

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    Edgerrin James was coming off two consecutive Pro-Bowl seasons when Arizona offered him a $30 million contract over four years including $11.5 million in bonuses in 2006.

    It wasn't a shock since he had strung together multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons in Indianapolis. James' first two seasons as a Cardinal were decent. However, his productivity declined and he lost the starting job to Tim Hightower in 2008.

9. Larry Brown

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    Like the Redskins, the Oakland Raiders landed four guys on this list, and Larry Brown is the first one.

    Although his five-year, $12 million deal is a fraction of some of the deals in this article, it was still a bust for the Raiders. They signed Brown during free agency in 2006 after a breakout Super Bowl performance with the Dallas Cowboys.

    Larry played in just 12 games in two seasons with the Raiders. He was the starter in a single game and recorded one lowly interception.

8. Brandon Lloyd

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    In 2006 the Redskins traded a third and fourth-round pick to San Francisco for Brandon Lloyd.

    He was given a six-year deal with the potential for $30 million along with a $10 million signing bonus. In just two seasons with the Redskins Lloyd caught a pathetic 25 passes with zero touchdowns.

    After a battle with injuries and some conflict with the coaching staff, the Redskins released Brandon in February 2008. He was another Redskin that was overpaid and never reached his full potential.

7. LeCharles Bentley

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    Coming off a Pro Bowl season with the Saints, LeCharles Bentley returned to his hometown of Cleveland and signed a deal to play offensive line for the Browns in 2006.

    Bentley was given a contract worth $36 million over six years. On the first day of training camp he suffered a knee injury, tearing his patellar tendon. He subsequently had several surgeries and developed staph infections that almost caused him to lose his leg.

    While a serious injury isn't exactly his fault, LeCharles' contract was still a huge bust for the Browns, as he never even played a game in their jersey.

6. Donovan McNabb

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    After a long career with varying successes in Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb was traded to the Redskins for multiple draft picks in April of 2010.

    He received a five-year deal worth $78 million with the chance to reach $88 million in incentives. Unfortunately for McNabb, he struggled for most of the season and was benched in favor of Rex Grossman by December.

    In July 2011, he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings and his contract was restructured.

5. DeAngelo Hall

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    DeAngelo Hall was acquired from the Falcons in 2008 for a couple draft picks. His deal was worth an exorbitant $70 million over seven years, with $24.5 of it guaranteed.

    He failed to excel in the Raiders' system and had only three interceptions in the eight games he played in a silver and black jersey.

    Oakland shelled out $8 million to Hall for just eight games of play, and he was released in November 2008. DeAngelo finished out the season as a Washington Redskin after signing a one-year contract.

4. Javon Walker

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    Javon Walker was released from the Denver Broncos due to injury and lack of trade interest after the 2007 season.

    The Raiders then decided to sign him to a generous six-year deal with the potential for $55 million in March 2008. Three months later he was found unconscious on the street just off the strip in Las Vegas after being robbed and beaten.

    He recovered physically, caught 15 passes for 196 yards in 2008 and was released at the end of the 2009 season. Walker collected a cool $21 million for his two-season tenure with the Raiders.  

3. Ryan Leaf

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    Ryan Leaf is arguably the biggest bust in NFL history.

    In the 1998 draft many teams had Leaf ranked above Peyton Manning on their big boards as the top quarterback that year. Manning was chosen as the first overall player by the Colts, while San Diego traded up from the third pick to guarantee Leaf as a Charger.

    Ryan signed a four-year deal worth $31.25 million with an $11.25 million guaranteed signing bonus. From the beginning he clashed with teammates, coaches and the media.

    In his short three year career with the Chargers, he only won four games as a starter, throwing 13 touchdowns and a whopping 33 interceptions.

2. JaMarcus Russell

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    JaMarcus Russell is another example of the Raiders paying too much money on a gamble. To be fair, he was the first overall pick, and with that comes a price.

    However, Russell didn't even come close to living up to the hype. He held out through training camp then inked a six-year deal worth $68 million.

    In his rookie season, JaMarcus had his ups and downs but was named the starter going into 2008. He went on to play two horrific seasons for the Raiders and was released in May 2010.

1. Albert Haynesworth

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    When thinking about really bad contracts in the modern NFL era, Albert Haynesworth is up there as the first name that comes to mind.

    The Redskins have had no problem putting character issues aside when deciding to bring guys in and pay them a large sum of money. At the end of the 2008 season with the Titans, Haynesworth signed a seven-year deal worth $100 million during free agency.

    The next two seasons were somewhat of a circus for Haynesworth. He publicly failed a physical and earned himself a suspension due to conflicts with the staff. His performance on the field was lacking, and he finished the 2010 season with a career-low 13 tackles and only 2.5 sacks.

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