Ranking the 25 Most Absurd Contracts in NFL History

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIMarch 19, 2012

Ranking the 25 Most Absurd Contracts in NFL History

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    Each and every NFL offseason, it seems like teams hand out larger and larger contracts.

    With that being said, as we're almost a week into the 2012 NFL offseason free-agency period, we have already seen two massive contracts. The Buffalo Bills handed out a whopping $96 million deal over six years to Mario Williams, and the Detroit Lions gave Calvin Johnson an eight-year, $150.5 million contract—which is the largest contract in league history.

    In that spirit, let's continue to take a look at some of the NFL's most absurd contracts of all time. Where do you think Super Mario's and Megatron's will land on the top 25 list? 

25. Gerald McCoy

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    I really hated rookie contracts—they were just so aggravating.

    Why in the world should Gerald McCoy have a contract that lasts five years and accumulates close to $64 million? It doesn't make sense to me.

    However, this is one of the most absurd contracts that I have ever seen. 

24. Ndamukong Suh

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    You may not feel that Ndamukong Suh deserves a $60 million deal over five seasons, as he clearly has anger problems, but you can't take away the fact that he's one of the elite defensive linemen in the NFL today.

    And that is why he is being paid so much money—keep in mind that a whopping $40 million of that is guaranteed. 

23. Shaun Alexander

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    Shaun Alexander had one incredible season in 2005 when he rushed for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns, which ultimately led to the massive contract that the Seattle Seahawks decided to offer him.

    Alexander agreed to a $62 million deal for eight seasons but was only able to fulfill that contract, as he dealt with injuries for the remainder of his career. 

22. Matthew Stafford

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    Matthew Stafford is finally emerging as an elite quarterback in the NFL, as he was able to stay healthy all of the 2011 season.

    With that being said, Stafford is starting become worth all of that $72 million that the Detroit Lions will be paying him all the way until the 2015 offseason. 

21. Jared Allen

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    Jared Allen is a sack machine, and the Minnesota Vikings decided to pay him big cash during the 2008 offseason.

    Allen and the Vikings agreed on a whopping $73.26 million contract that keeps Allen in Minnesota until the 2014 offseason. 

20. Julius Peppers

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    Julius Peppers is not only one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL today, but he is one of the top defensive players that the league has to offer.

    Peppers was a hot commodity during the 2010 offseason but ultimately landed with the Chicago Bears, as they offered him $84 million over six seasons. 

19. Sam Bradford

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    Sam Bradford became the richest rookie in NFL history when he was the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft.

    The St. Louis Rams handed out a $78 million deal over six seasons, making Bradford a very rich man until the 2016 offseason when he becomes a free agent. 

18. Tom Brady

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    Tom Brady is likely going to be a New England Patriot for life, and he'll retire with a ton of money.

    Brady agreed to a whopping $78.5 million contract over just five seasons back in 2010. 

    TB12 will be 37 by the end of the contract, and if he continues to play the way he is right now, then he's going to get another solid deal from the Patriots. 

17. Philip Rivers

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    Many of you may not think that Philip Rivers is an elite quarterback, but I do despite his lackluster 2011 season.

    With that being said, Rivers is one of the highest-paid players in the NFL today, as he's in the middle of a $98.25 million deal that extends all the way until the 2016 offseason. 

16. Peyton Manning

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    Now how did this contract exactly work out for the Indianapolis Colts? Not very good.

    Peyton Manning agreed to a $90 million deal following the 2010 NFL season but was unable to play the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury...and I think you know the rest of the story.

    The Colts have moved on without Manning as their quarterback despite handing out that five-year deal that was worth $90 million. 

15. Whatever the New Orleans Saints Give Drew Brees

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    Whatever the New Orleans Saints give Drew Brees this offseason, I can guarantee to you that it's going to be a ton of money.

    How much do I think? Probably something close to $100 million. 

14. Peyton Manning

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    Back in 2004, the Indianapolis Colts decided to make Peyton Manning one of the highest-paid players in the NFL. 

    After signing his $98 million deal over seven seasons, Manning went on to throw 49 touchdowns the following season for the Colts. 

13. Daunte Culpepper

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    The Minnesota Vikings made a poor decision when they signed Daunte Culpepper to a $102 million deal back in 2003 that extended for 10 seasons.

    Why was that? Well because Culpepper lasted for just three more seasons with the Vikings. 

12. Drew Bledsoe

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    The New England Patriots wanted to pay Drew Bledsoe back in 2001—and they gave him a ton of money.

    Granted, Bledsoe got hurt in the '01 season and was ultimately replaced by Tom Brady, but he still signed his name to a 10-year contract worth $103 million. 

11. Mario Williams

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    Mario Williams is going to be a very rich man in a few seasons, as he just agreed to terms on a six-year, $100 million deal with the Buffalo Bills.

    Williams is one of the premiere pass-rushers in the NFL today and was sure as hell paid like one this offseason. 

10. Brett Favre

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    Brett Favre was the face of the Green Bay Packers for a very long time, and the franchise decided pay him like the franchise's most important piece back in 2001.

    Favre signed a $100 million contract for over 10 years and he played every single game while under contract. I really think that the Packers got their money's worth on this one. 

9. Michael Vick

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    This is not only an absurd contract but a terrible mistake by the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Sure, Michael Vick is one of the most talented players in the NFL today, but he is not a $100 million player; he is not a reliable option at quarterback because he's so injury prone. 

8. Albert Haynesworth

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    This may be one of the largest contracts in NFL history, and it was one major mistake by the Washington Redskins.

    After Albert Haynesworth's monster season in 2008, the Redskins decided to cough up $100 million for Haynesworth for seven seasons.

    So how many seasons did he stay with the Redskins? Only two. 

    Now that's pathetic. 

7. Eli Manning

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    Eli Manning is a winner, and the New York Giants wanted to pay him like a winner back in 2009.

    The Giants gave Eli a whopping $106.9 million deal over seven seasons—and what did he do following the deal? He won his second Super Bowl just two seasons later. 

6. Ben Roethlisberger

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    Ben Roethlisberger is one of the most clutch and toughest quarterbacks in the NFL today, and he deserves every single dollar the Pittsburgh Steelers decide to pay him.

    Back in 2008, the Steelers decided to give Big Ben an eight-year contract worth $102 million. 

    I realize that is a lot of money, but Roethlisberger is not only worth every dollar, but he's worth every penny. He's just that special. 

5. Donovan McNabb

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    No matter how much Philadelphia Eagles fans disliked Donovan McNabb, he was one hell of a player for them at one time.

    It really frustrates me that so many Eagles fans don't like McNabb—he did a lot for that franchise and he deserved that massive deal Philly gave him back in 2002.

    McNabb signed a 12-year deal worth $115 million, which made him one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in NFL history at the time. 

4. Carson Palmer

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    Many believe that this contract was a mistake—and I happen to be one of them.

    Sure, Carson Palmer may have been playing like an elite quarterback at one time for the Cincinnati Bengals, but they decided to give him far too much money.

    In 2006, Palmer signed a $119.75 million contract over nine seasons. 

3. Larry Fitzgerald

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    Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best wide receivers in NFL history—well that's just my opinion—and he is worth every single penny that the Arizona Cardinals signed him to in 2011.

    Fitzgerald agreed to a massive $120 million deal that keeps him a Cardinal until 2018. 

2. Michael Vick

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    If you ask me, this was one of the biggest mistakes in NFL history when the Atlanta Falcons signed Michael Vick to that $130 million contract back in 2005.

    I do realize that they couldn't see the future, but I just don't think that Vick is that great of a quarterback.

    Yes, he is one incredible playmaker—but he is not a reliable quarterback. 

    This was a terrible mistake. 

1. Calvin Johnson

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    Calvin Johnson will be the richest man in NFL history by 2019—that is if no other team hands out a contract as massive as his. 

    The Detroit Lions and Johnson agreed to a whopping $150.5 million deal over eight years back on March 13—but my question is, is he really worth all that money?

    I realize that he is one of the best wide receivers in the game, if not the best, but is he really worth that much? 

    I think the Lions went a little overboard on this one, but at least they have him locked up until the 2020 offseason.