The NFL, above everything, is a business, and players and their agents will negotiate as much as possible to get the most money from their perspective teams. Quite often, teams will overestimate a player's talent and overpay them.
No team ever wants to overpay any player, no matter where they are on the team's depth chart. Every year, there are talks of players that are being paid way too much for their production on the field, and this year is no different than any other in the past.
Matt Cassel replaced Tom Brady as the New England Patriots starting QB after Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2008. Following the 2008 season, Matt Cassel was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs.
According to ESPN.com, Cassel's contract with Kansas City is worth $63 million ver six years ('09-'14).
The New England Patriots are a different football team than the Chiefs. New England is, and has been, one of the best teams in the NFL in the last decade. The Chiefs, to put it nicely, have not been able to accomplish all that New England has in that time.
The Chiefs overpaid Cassel, the former back-up QB, and his 39 turnovers (30 INT, 9 FUM) in 30 games as Kansas City's starting QB is all the explanation that's needed. Cassel has 17-19 as Kansas City's starting QB.
If only Reggie Bush was paid for his production in college. Wait...
Bush has certainly not lived up to his hype prior being drafted by the New Orleans Saints. According to ESPN.com, the Saints traded Reggie to the Miami Dolphins because they didn't want to pay him the $11.8M he was due on his last year of his rookie contract.
Bush agreed to a two-year contract with the Dolphins that paid him $10 million.
New Orleans realized Bush was overpaid, and pretty soon, Miami will realize that even $5 million is too much for the highly-touted RB out of USC.
Bush has rushed for just 232 yards in his first six games with Miami in 2011.
Back in 2009, the Washington Redskins signed Albert Haynesworth to a seven-year, $100M contract. Prior to the '11 season, Washington traded Haynesworth to the New England Patriots after he recorded just 53 tackles in 20 games over two years.
Haynesworth obviously didn't live up to the $100 million expectations Washington had, which makes him one of the most overpaid players in the league. The Patriots restructured Albert's contract, but he'll always be "that guy" who laughed his way to the bank every time he cashed a paycheck from the Redskins.
As if losing his starting job to Rex Grossman in 2010 wasn't enough, Donovan McNabb has lost his starting job as Minnesota Vikings QB to rookie Christian Ponder.
According to Yahoo.com, McNabb signed a one-year, $5.05 million contract prior to the '11 season. $5 million is far too much money for a QB to sit up on the bench.
I strongly believe McNabb will finally retire after this season.
I'm a big fan of Mike Vick's play on the field, but it takes guts to give a player a six-year, $100 million contract who's as injury prone as Vick is. The Philadelphia Eagles, apparently, had the guts to give Vick that deal.
Don't get me wrong, the dude has some talent, but he's only played all 16 regular season games once in his nine years in the NFL.
Vick definitely deserves big money, but nine figures is a big risk for someone who tends to get hurt.
The New York Jets drafted QB Mark Sanchez out of USC prior to the 2009 season, and Sanchez has been the starter ever since. The Jets must've really loved Sanchez coming out of college, because he was given a five-year, $50 million contract. Just over 14 of those $50 million are being given to Sanchez this year.
You know a player is overpaid when he is willing to restructure his contract for the good of the team, and that's exactly what Sanchez was willing to do prior to this season.
After Oakland Raiders QB Jason Campbell was ruled out for the remainder of the year, the Raiders traded a first-round pick in the 2012 draft and a second-round pick in the 2013 draft to the Cincinnati Bengals for former first overall pick Carson Palmer.
Yes, Palmer did take a pay cut when he arrived in Oakland, but he hasn't been in live game action since last year's regular season.
Combining Oakland's compensation to Cincinnati and Palmer's familiarity with the Raiders offense, I'd say that Palmer is overpaid.
Prior to the 2011 season, Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson was holding out until he received a new deal. He finally got that deal in August, when the Titans rewarded him with a four-year, $53 million contract.
CJ is definitely a playmaker, but ever since he was given that new contract, he's been ineffective on the field. Johnson is another guy laughing straight to the bank every time he gets his paycheck.
Kevin Kolb cashed in this past summer when the Arizona Cardinals decided to give the long-time back-up QB for the Eagles a five-year contract worth $64M.
Kolb has never proven himself to be a franchise quarterback due to the fact that he never had the opportunity to, but Arizona took a big risk in signing him. He's thrown as many touchdown passes (seven) as interceptions this season, in addition to his five fumbles.
The Cardinals have lost five straight games, and the team's 2011 record is currently 1-5.
I'd say Arizona overpaid for Kolb.
The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Glenn Dorsey fifth overall in the 2008 draft and rewarded him with a hefty five-year, $51 million contract.
The 300-pound DT from LSU has never had a standout season in his four years in the league, and he's never recorded more than two sacks in a year. I doubt he's complaining. He's getting paid.