Each NFL Team's Most Overpaid Player

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMarch 9, 2019

Each NFL Team's Most Overpaid Player

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    Murray in accounting, your uncle Charlie and the guy who pumped your gas on Wednesday will all tell you in a cantankerous voice that "they're all overpaid!"

    And compared to teachers and nurses and rescue workers, that's probably true. But some NFL players are more overpaid than others. 

    Looking generally at average annual salaries courtesy of Spotrac, we compared players with notably high paychecks to their recent production—focusing primarily on 2018—as well as to their peers.

    Taking that as well as sheer stats, effectiveness, roles and durability into account, here's a look at the most overpaid player on every NFL roster as free agency looms. 


Arizona Cardinals: RB David Johnson

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    The second highest-paid running back in the NFL has rushed for a combined total of 963 yards the last two seasons and is coming off a full, healthy campaign in which he posted the worst yards-per-attempt average in the league (3.6) among 14 players with at least 200 carries. 

    His name is David Johnson, and he has thus far completely failed to live up to the three-year, $39 million deal given to him by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2018 offseason. 

    Despite that terrible yards-per-rush average, Johnson is by no means a liability because he's a tremendous receiver, and he still managed to score 10 touchdowns while working in a bad offense last season. But it's fair to wonder if he'll ever be the player he was in 2016, when he led the league with 2,118 scrimmage yards and 20 total touchdowns. 

    Running backs have short shelf lives, which is why they so rarely get paid big bucks. Only Johnson and Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams possess contracts with annual averages above $9 million, and $13 million is far too much for a back who hasn't been right since spraining an MCL late in 2016 and then badly injuring his wrist early the next season. 

Atlanta Falcons: RB Devonta Freeman

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    Following a Pro Bowl season in which he helped the high-powered Atlanta Falcons reach the Super Bowl in 2016, running back Devonta Freeman was rewarded with a five-year, $41.3 million contract extension. Now he's slated to count an average of $8.3 million against Atlanta's cap over the course of the next four years. 

    Only Gurley and Johnson are paid more at that position. 

    And that could be a problem, because Freeman hasn't been the same since posting strong numbers in 2015 and 2016. His touchdown and yardage totals dropped significantly under new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian in 2017, and his 2018 season was almost entirely derailed by knee and foot injuries that cost him all but two games.  

    As he approaches his 27th birthday, it's entirely possible Freeman's best days are behind him at a position that doesn't often offer long peaks. And even when he was at his best, Freeman never hit the 1,100-yard mark on the ground.

    Fourth-round rookie Ito Smith flashed down the stretch in 2018. A strong sophomore year from him and another sub-1,000-yard campaign from Freeman could cause the Falcons to bail on that high-priced contract next offseason. 

Baltimore Ravens: CB Jimmy Smith

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    Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith performed well enough during his first four seasons in the league to earn a hefty second contract with the team—one worth $41.1 million over a four-year span beyond his fifth-year option in 2015.

    That deal is finally set to expire after the 2019 season, but not before costing the Ravens $15.9 million against the salary cap. 

    Among corners, only Darius Slay of the Detroit Lions is slated to carry a bigger cap hit in 2019. But Smith is no Slay these days. The 30-year-old has missed at least four games in each of the last three seasons, intercepting a total of five passes during that span. And in 2019 he was routinely abused by top-flight receivers. 

    The Ravens can save $9.5 million by moving on right now, and that's something they should consider based on the emergence of Marlon Humphrey and the presence of Brandon Carr. 

Buffalo Bills: DT Star Lotulelei

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    Star Lotulelei is a half-decent run defender who can't get to the quarterback as a pass-rusher, doesn't register a lot of tackles, rarely makes impact plays and has failed miserably to live up to his first-round draft status.

    The Buffalo Bills should have known that when they inexplicably signed the now-29-year-old to a five-year, $50 million contract last offseason, but it should be plainly obvious now after Lotulelei posted zero sacks, zero forced fumbles, zero quarterback hits and a career-low 17 tackles in 16 ghost-like starts in 2018. 

    Now Lotulelei's cap number is slated to shoot up from $6.7 million to $11.5 million in his second year with the Bills, making him one of the 10 highest-paid defensive tackles in football when it comes to 2019 cap hits.

    The good news is the Bills can at least afford to overpay Lotulelei; they're projected by Spotrac to enter the new league year with over $77 million in salary-cap space.

Carolina Panthers: OT Matt Kalil

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    What were the Carolina Panthers thinking when they gave offensive tackle Matt Kalil a five-year, $55 million deal in 2017? The 2012 No. 4 overall pick out of USC hadn't been effective since his Pro Bowl rookie season with the Minnesota Vikings, and two years later, that still hasn't changed. 

    Kalil was again a mess during a penalty- and pressure-riddled 2017 season on Cam Newton's blind side, and then he missed his entire age-29 season due to a knee injury.

    It's highly unlikely he'll suddenly turn it around on the wrong side of 30, and the Panthers still owe him $44.5 million over the course of the next three years. 

    It's ridiculous that an oft-injured liability with an abysmal resume is making about as much on an average annual basis as Duane Brown, Lane Johnson and Andrew Whitworth. 

    The Panthers wouldn't save any money by cutting him loose right now, but look for Kalil to be a goner by next offseason. And unless things change drastically in 2019, don't expect him to find another NFL job after this one. 

Chicago Bears: G Kyle Long

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    According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, Bears guard Kyle Long recently agreed to restructure his contract in order to lower his cap hit for 2019. No word yet on how much that number has dropped from the $8.5 million listed by Spotrac, but that might only result in a "serenity now, insanity later" situation for Chicago. 

    Long is only one season into a four-year contract extension, signed back in the late stages of his rookie deal in 2016, that pays him an average of $10 million a year. 

    Only seven other NFL guards have higher average annual salaries, and yet Long has missed at least six games in three consecutive non-Pro Bowl seasons. 

    The 2013 first-round pick is now 30, and in recent years, he's been good but not great whenever he's actually been on the field. He isn't the same player he was in 2014 or 2015, and he isn't getting any cheaper. 

Cincinnati Bengals: DE Carlos Dunlap

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    The Cincinnati Bengals obviously have a thing for Carlos Dunlap. The notoriously frugal organization keeps paying their 2010 second-round pick, and at the age of 30, he's about to get started on the new contract he signed as part of an extension last year. 

    That deal is supposed to pay the nine-year veteran $40.7 million over the course of the next three seasons, which is quite high for a defensive end who has been held to eight or fewer sacks in all but two of his nine pro campaigns. 

    Dunlap is a consistently reliable player. He's versatile and rarely misses time due to injury. In fact, he hasn't missed a start since 2013. But that's still too much cash for an aging pass-rusher with limited playmaking ability. 

    With Geno Atkins wrecking people inside, Dunlap should have much better numbers than he does. His team might be better off giving youngsters Jordan Willis and Sam Hubbard more work, but that's hard to do when you're paying the starter eight figures.

Cleveland Browns: CB T.J. Carrie

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    This easily could have gone to $12.5-million-a-year linebacker Jamie Collins, but Collins was released by the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday. 

    Instead let's focus on the less expensive but still overpaid T.J. Carrie, who signed a four-year, $31 million deal with Cleveland as a free agent in 2018 and then struggled in coverage for much of his inaugural campaign with the team. 

    The soon-to-be 29-year-old had only three interceptions in four seasons with the Oakland Raiders and picked up just one more during the 2018 season in Cleveland. He was penalized often, and while covering X and Z receivers, he provided evidence that he might be better-suited for a full-time role in the slot. 

    A good team would probably prefer not to use a player of Carrie's ilk in a starting role, which is why it's rather silly that he's making nearly $8 million a year. But that's a reflection of the exploding market, the increasing importance of having depth at cornerback and the Browns' cap situation in recent years. 

Dallas Cowboys: TE Jason Witten

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    Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Dallas Cowboys are paying legendary tight end Jason Witten between $3.5 million and $5 million to come out of retirement in 2019. And according to Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, he'll play no more than about 25 snaps per game. 

    That means Witten will be on the field for about a third of the team's offensive snaps and won't likely be used at all as a blocker. 

    That's a large chunk of change for a part-time player who is about to turn 37 and was declining even before he retired a year ago. 

    Witten's rate-based number declined in his 15th pro season, in some cases sharply. He scored just 11 touchdowns in his final three seasons combined, and his 8.9 yards-per-catch average in 2017 was the seventh-lowest mark in the league among tight ends and receivers who were targeted at least 50 times.

    What does the guy have left? Probably not enough to justify an investment in the range of $3-5 million. 

    Makes you wonder if the Cowboys did Witten a favor after a tough debut season in the broadcast booth. 

Denver Broncos: QB Joe Flacco

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    This is what happens when you're desperate for a solution at the sport's most important position. 

    Just one year after signing him to a lucrative two-year contract, the Denver Broncos have given up on Case Keenum. But they're still paying the 2018 disappointment $3 million in dead money, while their newest potential franchise signal-caller is one of the 10 highest-paid passers in the NFL with a $22.1 million average annual salary. 

    That, despite the fact the 34-year-old Joe Flacco has never been to a Pro Bowl and is the second lowest-rated qualified passer in football dating back to 2013.

    Is Flacco really an upgrade over Keenum? The Broncos had better hope so, because general manager John Elway can't afford to swing and miss with another quarterback, and he's now got well over $20 million in 2019 cap space dedicated to uninspiring players at that critical position. 

Detroit Lions: QB Matthew Stafford

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    This is rather simple. The NFL's fifth highest-paid player was its 25th highest-rated passer in 2018. 

    Sure, it was a down year for Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, but the fact is the 2009 No. 1 overall pick has failed miserably in an attempt to live up to the five-year, $135 million contract extension he signed prior to the 2017 season. 

    Stafford put up strong numbers in 2017, but he also failed to lead the Lions to the playoffs and still hasn't led them to a single postseason victory in 10 NFL seasons. 

    When you give a guy $27 million a year, he should be able to carry a decent team at times. The Lions are at least decent, but Stafford just hasn't gotten it done. The 31-year-old led a record eight fourth-quarter comebacks during a memorable 2016 campaign, but he's been part of just three total comebacks in the three seasons surrounding that, and he hasn't earned a Pro Bowl nod since 2014. 

    At this point, it's hard to rank Stafford above Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff, Andrew Luck, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton and maybe even youngsters Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. He's a middle-of-the-pack starting quarterback getting elite quarterback money. 

Green Bay Packers: OLB Nick Perry

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    Both outside linebacker Nick Perry and tight end Jimmy Graham failed to live up to big salaries for the Green Bay Packers last year, but Perry gets the nod over Graham here because he's failed to deliver in back-to-back seasons despite an even larger contract. Plus, unlike Graham, he is supposed to be in his prime. 

    The 28-year-old Perry is the fourth highest-paid player on the team, and he's owed nearly $43 million over the course of the next three seasons, but he has just 8.5 sacks in 21 games since the start of 2017. He's missed time in each of his seven pro seasons, he's yet to make a Pro Bowl, and he missed nearly half of the 2018 campaign due to a knee injury. 

    It's gotten to a point where the Packers can't rely on a player making nearly $12 million per year on a deal that doesn't expire until after the 2021 season. 

    Perry has always been a little bit better than his sack totals might indicate, but he isn't a closer and can't stay on the field. Don't be surprised if Green Bay looks to wiggle out of that contract very soon. 

Houston Texans: G Zach Fulton

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    Desperate to upgrade a wretched offensive line last offseason, the Houston Texans spent big bucks on a pair of new guards named Senio Kelemete and Zach Fulton in free agency. 

    Both fell far short of expectations as the Houston line once again struggled immensely. But at least Kelemete's deal was shorter than Fulton's while containing just $5 million in guaranteed money, while Fulton's deal looks a lot uglier right now. 

    The former Kansas City Chiefs interior offensive lineman signed a four-year contract worth $28 million with $13 million guaranteed, making him one of the 20 highest-paid guards in professional football. 

    The 27-year-old's contract is by no means a crippling albatross, which is a testament to the quality of work being done by the Houston front office. Still, he doesn't look as though he's worth anything close to $7 million a year. 

Indianapolis Colts: TE Jack Doyle

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    Like the Texans, the Indianapolis Colts didn't give us much to work with. Just nine players on their roster make more than $5 million per year, and eight of them are key pieces to the puzzle who have generally delivered. 

    Tight end Jack Doyle is a bit of a reach, but the presence and emergence of Eric Ebron essentially renders him overpaid as a second option at the tight end position in Indy.

    The 2017 Pro Bowler remains solid and reliable when healthy and on the field, but he's not a big playmaker, he's scored just six touchdowns in the last two seasons combined, and he's coming off an injury-derailed 2018 campaign. 

    The 28-year-old's three-year, $18.9 million contract makes him the 14th highest-paid tight end in the NFL when it comes to average annual salary. He's not worth that in Indianapolis, or anywhere else based on his limitations and recent body of work. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Blake Bortles

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    It's really hard not to give this to one of the Jacksonville Jaguars' many overpaid defensive players (Malik Jackson? Marcell Dareus? Calais Campbell?) but quarterback Blake Bortles technically remains on the roster, and his $21 million salary-cap hit remains on the Jags' payroll. 

    There's no choice here. Bortles has revealed to the football world time and again the last five years that he's a good backup quarterback at best, which means that in this pass-happy era, he might be worth $5 million per year if lucky.

    His current average annual salary is a putrid $18 million. 

    Bortles is so bad that he'll likely be paid $16.5 million to walk away this offseason. No qualified quarterback except Brock Osweiler has a lower passer rating than Bortles since the No. 3 overall pick entered the league in 2014, and on paper, he regressed in his fifth season. 

    At the moment, Bortles might be the most overpaid player in the league.

Kansas City Chiefs: WR Sammy Watkins

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    It would be fair to say pass-rusher Justin Houston is the highest-paid player on the Kansas City Chiefs—his $16.8 million average annual salary is the largest on the roster, and he had fewer sacks than fellow front-seven defenders Dee Ford and Chris Jones in 2018. 

    But Houston is still a consistently effective presence on the edge, and there's also a good chance he won't be on the Kansas City roster much longer. A report last week from The Athletic's Jay Glazer indicated the Chiefs are trying to dump Houston's bloated salary in a trade. 

    So instead let's give this to wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who was the NFL's highest-paid receiver in terms of total cash in 2018 but caught just three touchdown passes in 10 regular-season games while again hobbled by injuries. 

    The oft-injured top-five pick from 2014 has bounced around the league for a reason, and it's beginning to look as though Kansas City went overboard by handing him a three-year, $48 million deal last offseason. 

    Watkins is one of just six NFL wideouts making $16-plus million a year, which is silly considering there are at least two better pass-catchers on the roster in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. 

Los Angeles Chargers: OT Russell Okung

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    In this case, we're not even knocking Los Angeles Chargers left tackle Russell Okung. The nine-year veteran is a key piece to the Bolts' puzzle, and he's coming off back-to-back solid seasons since joining the team in 2017. 

    But the fact is Okung is the eighth highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL, and he certainly isn't even one of the 25 best players at the position. The 31-year-old is a reliable, slightly above-average pass protector who takes a few too many penalties and has never really lived up to being a No. 6 overall pick in 2010. 

    Okung will count $16 million against the salary cap in each of the next two seasons, and there's a good chance that as he ages, he won't be remotely worth that kind of money. But the Chargers don't have a successor waiting in the wings, and continuity along the offensive line is critical. 

    So for now, they've got no choice but to overpay a decent player in a crucial role.

Los Angeles Rams: RB Todd Gurley

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    Yes, we're telling you that a two-time first-team All-Pro who is one season removed from winning Offensive Player of the Year and coming off a campaign in which he led the NFL with 21 touchdowns is overpaid. 

    How? It's simple. Todd Gurley plays one of the least valuable positions in the sport. And when he was injured late last season, Gurley's stand-in provided proof that he's basically replaceable. 

    Gurley, who last offseason signed a record-breaking four-year contract worth $57.5 million (including $45 million guaranteed) to remain with the Los Angeles Rams through 2023, was an MVP contender when he went down with a knee injury in December. But that's when Los Angeles signed journeyman C.J. Anderson off the street, and Anderson went over 120 yards in three straight games, including a playoff victory over the Cowboys. 

    The Rams offense didn't miss a beat during that stretch, averaging 36.3 points per game. 

    As Gurley's health improved, he struggled to regain a full-time role and didn't look as effective on the field. And that's also a concern because now a report has emerged from Jeff Howe of The Athletic that the 24-year-old has arthritis in that injured knee. 

    The Rams might already regret making him the highest-paid back in the league.

Miami Dolphins: DE Robert Quinn

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    For now, veteran defensive end Robert Quinn is a member of the Miami Dolphins. And so long as that's true, Quinn will undoubtedly be the most overpaid player on that roster. 

    Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports Quinn is expected to be released this offseason, which makes perfect sense considering the soon-to-be 29-year-old is the second highest-paid player on the team and the ninth highest-paid defensive end in the NFL. 

    After all, the Dolphins appear to be rebuilding, and Quinn just isn't worth that much money under those—or any—circumstances. 

    The 2011 first-round pick hasn't put together a double-digit-sack season since he was last a Pro Bowler in 2014, and he was hardly better than a replacement-level edge-rusher during his one season in Miami. 

    Now, the Dolphins would be silly not to move on and save the $12.9 million remaining on his soon-to-expire contract. 

Minnesota Vikings: QB Kirk Cousins

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    There are a lot of candidates for this distinction on the Minnesota Vikings roster. Defensive end Everson Griffen has encountered issues off the field and could be declining on the field despite a $14.5 million salary, cornerback Xavier Rhodes didn't do much to earn his $14 million salary in 2018, and Riley Reiff is a below-average left tackle making $11.8 million per year. 

    But quarterback Kirk Cousins is making nearly twice as much as those guys, and Cousins failed to make the playoffs or the Pro Bowl while ranking in the bottom 10 in the league with 7.1 yards per attempt in 2018. 

    The three-year, $84 million deal he signed last offseason is fully guaranteed. He's the highest-paid non-All-Pro in NFL history. He's only been a Pro Bowler once. And worst of all, he's anti-clutch. 

    The 30-year-old has led just two fourth-quarter comebacks in his last two full seasons. He's 5-13 in prime-time games, he's 4-25 against winning teams, and he's 13-23-2 in road games. 

    Things could change in the next couple seasons, but Cousins wasn't worth even half of that money in 2018. 

New England Patriots: S Devin McCourty

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    Unsurprisingly, it was difficult to identify a grossly overpaid member of the New England Patriots. New England is one of the smartest teams in the league, and it doesn't let overpaid veterans linger on the roster. 

    The closest thing? Probably either safety Devin McCourty or tight end Rob Gronkowski, just because they're both likely on the downturn while making more than $9 million per year at non-premium positions. But Gronk can still take over games, as we saw in this year's playoffs. 

    McCourty has just four interceptions and two forced fumbles in the last four years. He'll turn 32 this summer, and he's been to just one Pro Bowl in the last eight seasons. Yet the nine-year veteran is the fifth highest-paid safety in the NFL.

    McCourty's salary-cap hit to New England in his 2019 contract year will be a whopping $13.4 million, which is why it wouldn't be shocking if the Patriots moved on

New Orleans Saints: WR Cameron Meredith

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    It looks as though the New Orleans Saints made a mistake by giving wide receiver Cameron Meredith a two-year, $9.5 million deal in 2018.

    They may have been tempted by the fact Meredith put together a surprise standout season with the Bears in 2016, but a major knee injury cost him his 2017 campaign, and concerns about that knee might have scared Chicago away last offseason. 

    Sure enough, a fresh knee injury cost Meredith a large chunk of his inaugural season in New Orleans, and he wasn't effective before being placed on injured reserve in November. The 26-year-old caught nine passes in his first three games as a Saint, but he wasn't even targeted in his next three games before being shut down for the remainder of the year. 

    Now Meredith is due $6.5 million in 2019, and even if he's cut, he'll cost the Saints $2.8 million. 


New York Giants: QB Eli Manning

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    We originally had pass-rusher Olivier Vernon in this spot, but then the New York Giants smartly dumped the majority of the 28-year-old's $19.5 million cap hit by way of a Friday trade with the Cleveland Browns. 

    But Vernon was only a hair ahead of quarterback Eli Manning in the first place, because the post-prime 38-year-old is eating up far too much cap space with a $23.2 million cap hit for his 2019 walk year.

    Manning has made just one Pro Bowl since putting together a strong 2012 season. He hasn't led the Giants to a single playoff win during that stretch, and he's thrown at least 10 more interceptions than any other quarterback in the league over the same span. 

    He's quite simply been one of the worst signal-callers in pro football for more than half a decade running, but only a dozen of his positional counterparts are paid more handsomely. 

New York Jets: CB Trumaine Johnson

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    Big-ticket free-agent pickup Trumaine Johnson didn't have a bad debut season with the New York Jets, but the league's second-highest-paid cornerback was by no means a shutdown cover man during an injury-derailed 2018 campaign. 

    That's enough to be considered the most overpaid player on a roster that has been gutted in recent years. 

    Johnson still intercepted four passes in just 10 games, but when you give a guy a five-year, $72.5 million deal, you expect him to act as a consistent game-changer from the get-go. That wasn't the case with the 29-year-old Johnson, who was beat a little too frequently by opposing quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson in an up-and-down campaign. 

    Maybe he'll get back on track and have better injury luck in 2019. He'd better hope so, because he's slated to count $15 million against the cap in 2020, and at that point, the Jets could save money by parting ways.

Oakland Raiders: G Kelechi Osemele

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    The fourth highest-paid guard in the NFL struggled while battling a knee injury in 2018, and there were signs the soon-to-be 30-year-old Kelechi Osemele was starting to decline before that. 

    That makes Osemele the most overpaid member of the Oakland Raiders, with bad 2018 acquisition Jordy Nelson following closely behind after a three-touchdown maiden season in the Bay Area. 

    Nelson's $7.1 million average annual salary is quite high for a receiver who is nothing more than a complementary weapon at age 33, but Osemele is one of just a handful of interior offensive linemen making more than $11 million per year, and he hasn't really been on top of his game since his All-Pro debut season with the Raiders in 2016. 

    It's worth noting that the rebuilding Raiders can pocket Osemele's entire $10.2 million 2019 cap hit by releasing him right now. 

Philadelphia Eagles: DE Brandon Graham

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    The Philadelphia Eagles love their defensive linemen, and they've had a thing for Brandon Graham ever since drafting him 13th overall back in 2010. 

    That might explain why Philly wouldn't let the 30-year-old pass-rusher hit the open market this offseason, re-signing him to a three-year contract worth $13 million per year, according to Pro Football Talk.

    That makes Graham the 12th highest-paid defensive end in the league, which is jarring considering he's now on the wrong side of 30 and still never been an All-Pro or Pro Bowler. 

    The relatively steady nine-year veteran has missed just one game the last four seasons, but he's coming off a campaign in which he recorded just four sacks and a mere 11 quarterback hits in 16 starts. And while his sack numbers have never done justice to his pass-rushing ability, it's problematic that he's never had a double-digit-sack season.

    At this point in his career, Graham probably isn't worth eight figures. 

Pittsburgh Steelers: S Morgan Burnett

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    Antonio Brown's salary might be an albatross for the Pittsburgh Steelers right now, but at least Brown is still a star player. And besides, it doesn't look as though he'll be a Steeler much longer. 

    So instead let's look at veteran safety Morgan Burnett, whom Pittsburgh mistakenly signed to a three-year, $14.4 million deal last offseason. 

    The signing wasn't actually a mistake. It was no accident, but it was an awful decision in hindsight. The Steelers already had the talented young Sean Davis at free safety, and a month after signing Burnett, they selected Terrell Edmunds in the first round of the draft. 

    There just wasn't room for Burnett, who told NFL.com's Ian Rapoport that he felt he played out of position as a dime-package linebacker. 

    He also said he wants to be released, but if that doesn't happen, he'll cost the Steelers $6.5 million as a glorified sub in 2019. 

San Francisco 49ers: QB Jimmy Garoppolo

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    Sometimes, you just have to overpay a guy. At least that's what the San Francisco 49ers might have figured when they gave quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a five-year, $137.5 million contract despite the fact the former Tom Brady disciple had seven career NFL starts on his resume. 

    After all, Garoppolo is a quarterback, and he'd put together some stellar performances both in San Francisco and New England. And when you have a 26-year-old potential franchise quarterback on your hands, you really can't afford to let him get away. 

    But Garoppolo started slowly in 2018 before a torn ACL cost him all but the first three games of the year. Now he's a 27-year-old with only 10 career starts under his belt, and yet he's the fourth highest-paid player in the history of professional football. 

    Not sure anyone would even dispute that until he actually strings together his first strong full season, Garoppolo will be comically overpaid. 

Seattle Seahawks: S Kam Chancellor

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    There's a strong chance star Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor will never play another NFL game. A severe neck injury has kept him off the field since midway through the 2017 season, and Chancellor essentially announced his retirement last summer. 

    But because his hefty contract is guaranteed for injury through the 2019 season, the 30-year-old three-time Pro Bowler remains officially on the books. And right now, his $12 million salary is taking up more of Seattle's cap space than anyone else on the roster except quarterback Russell Wilson and 2019 franchise-tag recipient Frank Clark. 

    This isn't a slight toward Chancellor—a thumper who was a pleasure to watch and will always be tied to the legendary Legion of Boom. But the very fact that he's taking up that much cap space without being on the field makes him overpaid. 

    That might change soon if the Seahawks designate Chancellor a post-June 1 cut. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR DeSean Jackson

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    While we admittedly had to do some reaching to name overpaid players in New England, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Seattle, the challenge with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was deciding which one of their severely overpaid players takes the cake. 

    There's over-the-hill defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and his $15.9 million salary. There's mediocre left tackle Donovan Smith, who was inexplicably handed a new contract worth $13.8 million a year. And there's Jason Pierre-Paul, who's probably pushing it with a $15.5 million average annual salary. 

    But the "winner" is wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who doesn't appear to have a lot left in the tank but is making $11.2 million a year. 

    McCoy is still effective on the back nine of his career, and he's the face of that defense. Smith could have a bright future and is at least durable. And Pierre-Paul quietly had 12.5 sacks last season. But Jackson, who hasn't scored more than four touchdowns in a season since 2014, is coming off a second consecutive so-so season at age 32. 

    With Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries and O.J. Howard on the roster, there might not be much room left for Jackson in Tampa. It's odd he remains on the payroll despite the fact the Bucs can dump all $10 million of his 2019 salary free of charge. 

Tennessee Titans: CB Malcolm Butler

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    Former Patriots scout and current Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson loves his former Pats. In fact, he's spent big bucks on New England cornerbacks in free agency in each of the last two offseasons. 

    Unfortunately, those two dudes—Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan—are the two most overpaid players on the Tennessee roster. 

    Ryan has by no means been a disaster in coverage, but the 28-year-old former pick machine has zero interceptions in two seasons with the Titans. Far from ideal considering he's pulling in $10 million per season on a three-year deal. 

    But Butler is even richer. The Super Bowl XLIX hero and 2015 Pro Bowler signed a five-year, $61.3 million contract with Tennessee last offseason, making him one of the 10 highest-paid corners in the league. But he performed terribly for much of his initial season with the Titans, embarrassing himself routinely early in a penalty-plagued season. 

    Now Butler's 29, and it's fair to wonder if Bill Belichick was smart to let him walk at what might have been the end of his prime. 

Washington Redskins: CB Josh Norman

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    Plenty of options to close out with for the Washington Redskins, who shouldn't be giving $8 million a year to borderline starter Paul Richardson or $9.4 million to the never-healthy Jordan Reed. But the edge goes to cornerback Josh Norman, simply because the guy continues to live off what he accomplished several years ago in Carolina. 

    The 2015 first-team All-Pro was a liability all season long in coverage, surrendering several home-run touchdowns on deep balls. He intercepted a few passes but wasn't reliable at all, which isn't cool when you're the highest-paid corner in NFL history. 

    Norman has failed to make the Pro Bowl in each of his three seasons with Washington, which means they've essentially flushed $44.8 million down the drain.

    If he doesn't deliver again with a $14.5 million cap charge in 2019, look for the Redskins to move on before giving the 31-year-old a chance to see the final season of his blockbuster five-year deal. 


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