Overpaying for overrated players is nothing new in the NFL. Especially not if you're a fan of the Washington Redskins, where owner Dan Snyder basically wrote the book on handing too much money to supposedly marquee athletes, before promptly overpaying for a copy of that book himself.
The latest beneficiary in a long line of sloppy Snyder spending seems to be cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who must have enjoyed watching Tony Romo throw all over his secondary in Sunday's loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
But, despite living in the unenviable limelight created by Snyder's wallet, Hall is not the only NFL "star" currently cashing checks that contain a few too many zeroes.
Hall isn't scheduled to be a free agent until 2015, but he's working hard to get there faster. The Redskins haven't held a passer under 200 yards once during their six-game losing streak, and Hall's biggest talent is quickly becoming his ability to jaw with opponents after allowing them to gain yet another first down.
He's been a gambler throughout his career, and while that risky nature has seemingly paid off where contract dollars are concerned, his tendency to sandwich high-flying interceptions between blown coverages and bad decisions has cost his team.
He's guessed wrong far more often than he's been lucky this year, managing only one pick through 10 games after snagging six a season ago. And he's campaigning to have his six-year, $55 million contract listed among Snyder's worst calls.
Current contract: Six years, $55 million, $22.5 million guaranteed
Mark Sanchez is not a bad quarterback. Passers don't make back-to-back AFC championship game appearances in their first two seasons without having some talent.
And his stats aren't all that bad either, despite common perception. He's tossed 14 touchdown passes so far in 2011, and he's completing right below 60 percent of his passes this month.
But when you sign a five-year, $44.5 million deal that contains $28 million guaranteed, results are expected, and so is a strong passing game.
That hasn't been the case in New York since Sanchez arrived, and although he's found a way to win, or at least not screw it up, more often than not, he'll have to find some consistency before anyone starts defending his inflated salary.
If you're going to be a top-five QB in the league when it comes to paychecks, the Super Bowl is the only goal.
Soliai and Hope are making the list as a tandem because their situations are similar. Both are staring down free agency in 2012, and although neither team is exactly foaming at the mouth to correct that situation, these two are still making too much money this season.
Hope was poised to be the highest-paid safety in the league this season, carrying a $6.5 million price tag, which was a bit surprising considering he has only one Pro Bowl appearance in nine seasons. And that was before he broke his forearm—an injury that has limited him to just 10 tackles and one interception.
Soliai, on the other hand, started just 20 games over the first four seasons of his NFL career before being franchised and awarded $12.5 million this season by the Dolphins. Sure, he's been a solid contributor on a team that ranks in the top 10 in rush defense, but he's making far too much dough for a one-year guy on a three-win team.
Considering the way offenses avoided Nnamdi Asomugha in 2010, Routt was pretty strong a season ago. And losing Asomugha certainly freed up some money in Oakland. But giving Routt a five-year, $54.5 million contract that contains $20 million guaranteed seemed a bit premature.
He's been great this season, but the Raiders are investing more than $50 million in one player in a secondary that ranks just 19th in the league this year. That's not a great return on their money, and although Routt is proving better than many believed he could be, he's not yet the type of player who can have an Asomugha-like effect on an opposing passing game. And at 28 years old, his time remaining to reach that level is limited.
Winslow's been through some ups and downs in his career. No one has ever doubted his talent, but his decision-making and execution have come under scrutiny more often than his famous "I'm a soldier" comments from college.
Winslow was given a guaranteed $20.1 million as part of a six-year, $36 million deal with the Bucs in 2009. Since that time, the results have been a little less than expected.
The big tight end has only once in seven years been named All-Pro, and although his Tampa Bay career started hot, he's steadily declined since landing back in Florida, catching 77 passes in his first season with the Bucs, 66 in his second, and 47 so far in 2011.
He's producing at a decent rate, but 12 TDs over his past 42 games won't get him to Canton anytime soon, and they don't really justify the fact that Winslow's one of the NFL's highest-paid tight ends.