Every NFL Team's Most Overpaid Player Going into 2020 Free Agency

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystMarch 9, 2020

Every NFL Team's Most Overpaid Player Going into 2020 Free Agency

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    An individual's worth is whatever the market is willing to pay. At the same time, regrettable contracts occur every offseason as NFL teams rush to sign players at exorbitant prices to retain talent or improve their roster.

    Being "overpaid" is all relative. Positional value, market value, timing and a team's individual setup are all factors when a player signs a new deal, but what happens after that point is most important.

    A franchise should be paying for what comes next, not what a player already did. The following list isn't built simply by looking at the highest-paid player on the team to see who is currently overpaid. The designation is based on compensation in relation to performance.

    Each of the featured names has underperformed based on his compensation, and many of their current teams might eventually move on to clear salary-cap space whenever it's best to do so.

    NFL accounting often creates funny money—numbers represented in team accounting but not in reality with actual spending—in order to make contracts more manageable over an extended period of time. Yet, the funny money is what counts toward the salary cap. In these particular cases, those numbers are too much based on the return.


Arizona Cardinals: RB David Johnson

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    Current Deal: Three years, $39 million ($31.9 million guaranteed)

    Four years ago, David Johnson emerged as an elite running back. He eclipsed 2,100 yards from scrimmage and earned first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl nods. He then missed all but one game in 2017 with a wrist injury, yet the Arizona Cardinals still signed him to a contract extension.

    Over the next two seasons, Johnson combined for fewer total yards than he provided in 2016 alone, and Kenyan Drake took over as the lead back. However, he will almost certainly remain part of the team this fall.

    "Cutting him is not an option," general manager Steve Keim said, per Darren Urban of the Cardinals' team site.

    The reason is simple: It would cost the Cardinals an extra $2 million on top of his $14.2 million salary-cap hit to release him this year.

Atlanta Falcons: RB Devonta Freeman

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    Current Deal: Five years, $41.3 million ($22 million guaranteed)

    Investments in running backs are not smart business because the position tends to break down rather quickly.

    The Atlanta Falcons made Devonta Freeman the NFL's highest-paid running back prior to the 2017 campaign. Since then, he has played in 30 of 48 possible games without posting more than 865 rushing yards in any of those seasons.

    Atlanta can move on from Freeman this offseason and save $3.5 million toward the 2020 salary cap. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Falcons "are weighing" the possibility of releasing him.

    "Well, I love him, too," owner Arthur Blank said of Freeman, per ESPN's Vaughn McClure. "But this has nothing to do with love. It has to do with building a roster. The salary cap is not unlimited."

Baltimore Ravens: DT Brandon Williams

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    Current Deal: Five years, $52.5 million ($33.8 million guaranteed)

    Sometimes a player is who he is, and buyer's remorse creeps in over time when he continues to be the same player.

    Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Brandon Williams is a massive space-eater. The Ravens knew this when they re-signed him prior to the 2017 campaign.

    "When you are strong down the middle right at the front point in your defense, it gives you a chance to build from there, and that is the idea here with Brandon," head coach John Harbaugh said after Williams signed his extension, per the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec

    At the same time, Williams' contract is the seventh-highest in total value among defensive tackles. The six who precede him—Aaron Donald, Fletcher Cox, Grady Jarrett, Geno Atkins, Jurrell Casey and Cameron Heyward—collapse the pocket and get to the quarterback. Williams doesn't.

Buffalo Bills: C Mitch Morse

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    Current Deal: Four years, $44.5 million ($26.2 million guaranteed)

    The Buffalo Bills made Mitch Morse the highest-paid center in NFL history on an annual basis last season. He has since been surpassed by the Las Vegas Raiders' Rodney Hudson, but he also serves as the highest-paid player on the Bills roster.

    Granted, quarterback Josh Allen is still under a rookie deal, but one still has to question the investment.

    Morse is a quality pivot. He helped solidify the Bills' offensive front after it was arguably the worst unit in the league during the 2018 campaign, and he started every game last season.

    Even so, he's paid like an elite center, which he's not. Morse is a solid pass protector but average at the point of attack. An argument can be made for multiple centers—like Hudson, the Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Kelce, Atlanta Falcons' Alex Mack and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ryan Jensen—as better performers. The Bills had to make a significant investment in the position, but the organization went overboard.

Carolina Panthers: DT Kawann Short

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    Jason E. Miczek/Associated Press

    Current Deal: Five years, $80.5 million ($35 million guaranteed)

    Defensive tackles who consistently collapse the pocket and harass opposing quarterbacks are rare. Their worth skyrockets as a result.

    But that value plummets once they're no longer considered premier interior pass-rushers.

    Kawann Short signed a massive contract with the Carolina Panthers prior to the 2017 campaign. He had registered 17 sacks the previous two seasons. He has provided 10.5 over the three following years with a significant decrease in production during each campaign.

    Injuries are becoming a concern, too. The 31-year-old Short missed all but two games last season with a torn rotator cuff.

    Yet, the defensive tackle holds a $20.3 million salary-cap hit for the 2020 campaign. The Panthers can't do much about it, either, because the organization would save only $3.1 million upon his release.

Chicago Bears: TE Trey Burton

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Current Deal: Four years, $32 million ($22 million guaranteed)

    Trey Burton hasn't been the caliber of weapon the Chicago Bears expected when they signed the move tight end prior to the 2018 campaign. Injuries have played a part, though, and the Bears are willing to keep Burton as a primary piece for the offense as a result.

    "Word is they're OK with Trey Burton being the headliner there, on the belief that he's just had a lot of bad injury luck the last couple years." Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported.

    At the same time, the Bears aren't necessarily content since the front office has "been exploring potential trades to bolster tight end," according to The Athletic's Kevin Fishbain and Adam Jahns.

    Burton's salary-cap hit exceeds $8 million in each of the next two seasons. His production must increase, or the Bears will go in another direction.

Cincinnati Bengals: QB Andy Dalton

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    Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

    Current Deal: Six years, $96 million ($17 million guaranteed)

    Andy Dalton is currently a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, but he won't be for much longer. The Bengals are likely ready to move on since they own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. LSU's Joe Burrow is the presumptive favorite for the selection, which leaves Dalton's status in limbo.

    The Bengals could cut him since no guaranteed money exists on the final year of his current deal. But Cincinnati is working to facilitate a trade, per the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

    "I can tell you one thing, what Andy Dalton's done for the Cincinnati Bengals is not something that we're going to forget and we're not going to just willy-nilly, make something happen with him that, a) he's uncomfortable with and, b) that we're uncomfortable with," director of player personnel Duke Tobin told Rapoport.

Cleveland Browns: LB Christian Kirksey

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    Current Deal: Four years, $38 million ($20 million guaranteed)

    Injuries wrecked Christian Kirksey's last two seasons. The Cleveland Browns linebacker played in only nine total games during that span thanks to hamstring problems and a torn pectoral tendon.

    He's making $9.5 million annually, and the Browns simply haven't gotten much of a return from their 2017 investment.

    What makes Kirksey's situation even more interesting is the Browns' current approach to the linebacker position. The team plans to move on from free-agent middle linebacker Joe Schobert because it isn't prepared to pay him $10 million or more on an annual basis, according to Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot.

    Kirksey's current deal averages a $10.2 million salary-cap hit over the next two seasons. The Browns will likely look into renegotiating or releasing the 27-year-old linebacker.

Dallas Cowboys: DE Tyrone Crawford

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    Mark Tenally/Associated Press

    Current Deal: Five years, $45 million ($24.7 million guaranteed)

    The Dallas Cowboys have been the league's biggest rainmakers this past year by signing Demarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith, La'el Collins and Ezekiel Elliott to massive deals. The team is now working on extensions for Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper.

    All this new money could push some of the old money out the door.

    Tyrone Crawford signed a five-year, $45 million contract extension during the 2015 campaign. He's now in the final year of said deal after missing 12 games last season and requiring two surgeries on his hips to repair labral tears, according to ESPN's Todd Archer.

    Considering the Cowboys' continued contractual negotiations with others and Crawford's $9.1 million salary-cap hit this year, the defensive lineman is an ideal candidate to restructure his deal or be released.

Denver Broncos: QB Joe Flacco

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Current Deal: Three years, $66.4 million ($44 million guaranteed)

    The fact the Denver Broncos ever thought Joe Flacco could be their answer at quarterback was mind-boggling at the time. Now, the team must deal with the repercussions of trading for the 35-year-old signal-caller a year ago.

    Flacco still has two remaining seasons on his current deal with a combined salary-cap hit of $51.3 million.

    Two weeks ago, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio told reporters the veteran quarterback still hasn't been medically cleared after last season's neck injury. And as Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, told Denver 9News' Mike Klis, "Joe has every intention to play but not at the risk of his long-term health."

    Drew Lock is the Broncos' starting quarterback. Flacco's time with the organization appears limited to when he's actually cleared by doctors since the franchise can save $10.1 million with his release.

Detroit Lions: TE Jesse James

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    Current Deal: Four years, $22.6 million ($10.5 million guaranteed)

    The Detroit Lions looked like they were putting together an interesting approach by signing Jesse James in free agency and then selecting fellow tight end T.J. Hockenson with the eighth pick in the 2019 NFL draft. Two-tight end sets would be extremely difficult to handle with those two on the field.

    Yet, the Lions used 12 personnel (one running back and two tight ends) slightly less than the league average last season, according to Sharp Football. James and Hockenson combined to pull in 48 receptions for 509 yards. Fourteen different individual tight ends eclipsed one or both of those numbers.

    James' overall usage could increase depending on personnel packages, but his impact in the passing game likely won't with Hockenson's development serving as a key to the team's offensive success.

Green Bay Packers: TE Jimmy Graham

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    Current Deal: Three years, $30 million ($11 million guaranteed)

    The Green Bay Packers surprised many when they aggressively pursued Jimmy Graham during the 2018 offseason and made him the league's highest-paid tight end on an annual basis.

    The signing pointed to a new approach within the organization. A more aggressive front office yielded significant results with other free-agent acquisitions like Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith, but Graham hasn't quite lived up to expectations. A combined 1,083 receiving yards and five total touchdowns since joining the Packers simply isn't enough on a roster that lacks a true No. 2 receiving threat beyond Davante Adams.

    At 33 years old, Graham isn't the same explosive target he once was. As a result, he's not expected back in Green Bay this season, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The Packers would save $8 million upon his release.

Houston Texans: WR Will Fuller V

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    Current Deal: Four years, $10.2 million ($9.4 million guaranteed)

    On the surface, Will Fuller V's inclusion among those considered overpaid appears a tad unfair. But his standing is a direct result of the rookie wage scale.

    The Houston Texans picked up Fuller's fifth-year rookie option, which will cost the team $10.2 million this season.

    Fuller's 2020 salary-cap hit exceeds those of Jamison Crowder, John Brown, Julian Edelman, Robert Woods and Tyler Boyd. Each of those wide receivers either led his team in receiving last season or produced a 1,000-yard campaign. Fuller has never accomplished either goal.

    Granted, DeAndre Hopkins' presence detracts from the 2016 first-round pick's production. Yet, Fuller has never played a full 16-game slate or eclipsed 670 receiving yards. The 25-year-old target is a nice complementary piece when healthy, but his upcoming salary-cap hit indicates he should be far more.

Indianapolis Colts: QB Jacoby Brissett

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    Current Deal: Two years, $30 million ($20 million guaranteed)

    One quote will dominate the Indianapolis Colts' quarterback discussion all offseason, and it doesn't exactly bode well for the team's current starter, Jacoby Brissett.

    "All options are open and on the table," owner Jim Irsay told reporters. "I've never quite been in a year where this was so unusual. ... [General manager] Chris [Ballard] and [head coach] Frank [Reich] and I have really talked about this, and, man, we're really open-minded."

    The Colts and Brissett did what they could when facing the extenuating circumstances created by Andrew Luck's surprise retirement. The organization paid the 27-year-old signal-caller to create some stability, but it also gave itself an out if needed after the 2019 campaign.

    As of now, Brissett carries a $21.4 million salary-cap hit into the 2020 season. But Indianapolis could recoup $8.9 million with his release to put toward another starting option.

Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Nick Foles

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    Current Deal: Four years, $88 million ($50.1 million guaranteed)

    A year ago, Nick Foles was hailed as a conquering hero. The former Super Bowl MVP was supposed to be the missing piece of the puzzle the Jacksonville Jaguars needed to consistently compete at a high level.

    Foles suffered a shoulder injury in his first game with the Jaguars. The veteran quarterback missed 10 weeks before getting back onto the field, and his re-insertion into the lineup lasted three weeks before he was benched for rookie Gardner Minshew II.

    The Jaguars aren't committing to either quarterback at this point.

    "We're in a position where we feel we've got two guys who can play," head coach Doug Marrone told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine.

    Instead, Jacksonville is gauging interest in Foles' trade market, though nothing substantive has materialized, according to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.

Kansas City Chiefs: WR Sammy Watkins

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    Current Deal: Three years, $48 million ($30 million guaranteed)

    Sammy Watkins will forever be a legend in Kansas City for his 38-yard reception in Super Bowl LIV that set up what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.

    But the post-Super Bowl glow will likely be short-lived since Watkins' 2020 salary-cap hit isn't feasible for the Chiefs organization as it attempts to sign Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones to long-term contract extensions.

    As of now, Watkins carries a $21 million salary-cap hit. No other wide receiver will cost more if things stand the way they are. They're not expected to, though.

    Chiefs general manager Brett Veach indicated Kansas City isn't likely to keep Watkins at that price, according to ESPN's Adam Teicher, and the team is open to renegotiating the receiver's current deal. If nothing can be reached, Kansas City could save $14 million with his release.

Las Vegas Raiders: WR Tyrell Williams

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    Current Deal: Four years, $44.3 million ($22 million guaranteed)

    Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams is a victim of expectations.

    Williams originally signed with the Raiders to serve as the team's No. 2 receiving threat opposite Antonio Brown. Head coach Jon Gruden spoke of building the game's best wide receiver corps. But Brown never played a down for the Raiders, which thrust Williams into the spotlight.

    The 28-year-old target didn't produce to the level the Raiders needed. In fact, he finished third on the team with 42 receptions. Yes, he missed two games due to a foot injury, but his annual salary is still on the same level as those owed to Keenan Allen, Emmanuel Sanders, Tyler Boyd and Tyler Lockett.

    An opportunity arose, and Williams didn't exactly capture the moment. The Raiders front office, meanwhile, is still searching for help at wide receiver.

Los Angeles Chargers: Edge Melvin Ingram III

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Current Deal: Four years, $64 million ($34 million guaranteed)

    With Philip Rivers no longer part of the Los Angeles Chargers organization, only one player on the team's roster averages over $11.3 million annually. Melvin Ingram III is now the Chargers' highest-paid player.

    His inclusion isn't an indictment of his recent play, though he registered only seven sacks in each of the last two seasons. It's a statement of where he'll likely go from this point forward. Ingram turns 31 years old in April.

    Right now, Joey Bosa is the Chargers' dominant pass-rusher. Ingram is still being paid like an elite edge-rusher when he's not. His $16 million annual salary is in the same range or more as those earned by J.J. Watt, Za'Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter.

    Ingram may have made three consecutive Pro Bowls, but it's difficult to place him among the league's upper-echelon edge-defenders.

Los Angeles Rams: RB Todd Gurley II

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    Current Deal: Four years, $57.5 million ($45 million guaranteed)

    The Los Angeles Rams' Todd Gurley will likely serve as a cautionary tale regarding large investments in the running back position for years to come.

    The overall value of running backs continues to vary, but Gurley's recent history shows exactly why some are reticent to make a significant financial investment in the position.

    Prior to the 2018 campaign, the Rams made Gurley the league's highest-paid running back (since eclipsed by the Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott). Everything ran smoothly until his knee gave him significant trouble during the 2018 postseason. The 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the Year became an afterthought in the biggest games of his life, then his production decreased last season with an average of 3.8 yards per carry.

    According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, "all options are on the table" regarding Gurley's future.

Miami Dolphins: WR Albert Wilson

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    Current Deal: Three years, $24 million ($14.5 million guaranteed)

    Albert Wilson is arguably the fourth-best wide receiver on the Miami Dolphins roster, yet he owns the second-largest contract among the position group. His actual 2020 salary-cap hit ($10.8 million) is significantly more than DeVante Parker's after Parker led the team with 1,202 receiving yards.

    In his two years with the Dolphins, the 27-year-old speedster hasn't played a complete season and has combined to catch 69 passes for 742 yards.

    But the Dolphins have the flexibility to move on from Wilson. According to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, the front office is "likely to discuss" a possible contract restructuring. Or, the team could release the receiver outright and save $9.5 million.

    The salary-cap savings are probably more beneficial with Parker, Preston Williams and Allen Hurns still on the roster.

Minnesota Vikings: CB Xavier Rhodes

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    Current Deal: Five years, $70.1 million ($32.8 million guaranteed)

    Name recognition goes a long way, and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes is a perfect example.

    Rhodes made the Pro Bowl this past season even though he played arguably the worst football of his professional career. According to Pro Football Focus, he received the seventh-worst grade of any cornerback who played 300 or more snaps.

    The Vikings are barely under the projected 2020 salary cap. Everson Griffen's departure put Minnesota back into the black, but more roster trimming is necessary to create the type of financial flexibility necessary to operate in 2020 and beyond.

    TwinCities.com's Chris Tomasson wrote Rhodes "likely won't return," and the $8.1 million the Vikings could save by releasing the cornerback makes that approach a near-certainty.

New England Patriots: WR Mohamed Sanu Sr.

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    Current Deal: Five years, $32.5 million ($14 million guaranteed)

    The New England Patriots didn't exactly get what they expected when they traded a second-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for wide receiver Mohamed Sanu Sr.

    Sanu was at a disadvantage on two fronts.

    First, the eight-year veteran had to pick up the Patriots' complicated scheme on the fly and struggled. Second, he worked through an ankle issue and finally had surgery this past week, according to NFL Network's Mike Giardi.

    He managed 26 receptions in eight games with New England.

    "I haven't really scratched the surface yet of what I know I can do," Sanu said in late December, per ESPN's Mike Reiss. "Getting adjusted to things people have known for years, or months, you have to catch up."

    A full offseason in the same program will help Sanu and rationalize a $6.5 million salary-cap hit, though none of it is guaranteed.

New Orleans Saints: CB Janoris Jenkins

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    Current Deal: Five years, $62.5 million ($28.8 million guaranteed)

    To be completely fair, the New Orleans Saints didn't acquire Janoris Jenkins until Dec. 17 after the New York Giants waived the cornerback four days earlier.

    His standing among the overpaid is relative to his current cap hit for the 2020 campaign, should the Saints decided to keep the 31-year-old defender. That seems unlikely at the moment.

    As of now, Jenkins' salary-cap hit is $11.3 million, but none of it is guaranteed. Still, an interesting second option exists: The Saints could extend Jenkins' current deal and lessen his current financial figure.

    "Look, he's a real good foot athlete," head coach Sean Payton said after the season, per NOLA.com's Rod Walker. "He's smart, he came in and competed. Obviously he was in great shape, but I was encouraged and impressed."

New York Giants: OT Nate Solder

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    Current Deal: Four years, $62 million ($34.8 million guaranteed)

    The offensive tackle market completely changed over the last two offseasons. Due to a dearth of quality blockers thanks to less-than-prepared prospects coming into the league, reliable veterans became far more valuable. As a result, the price for average-to-above-average blockers skyrocketed.

    Over the last two offseasons, Nate Solder and Trent Brown—neither of whom made a Pro Bowl before signing with their current teams—reset the market as the highest-paid offensive linemen in history.

    Solder came first, and his inclusion in the New York Giants lineup didn't go smoothly. The 31-year-old left tackle allowed far too much pressure.

    When that disappointing play is coupled with an upcoming $19.5 million salary-cap hit for the 2020 season, the Giants might want to look for more offensive tackle help.

New York Jets: CB Trumaine Johnson

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    Current Deal: Five years, $72.5 million ($45 million guaranteed)

    Two years ago, the New York Jets made Trumaine Johnson the league's highest-paid cornerback. The $34 million guaranteed at signing remains the bar for future defensive back deals.

    But the pairing has been nothing short of a disaster. According to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, the Jets "are looking for cornerback help on the free-agent market," and they're simply waiting until the CBA is agreed upon before releasing Johnson "to split that hit over two seasons."

    Currently, Johnson's release would create $12 million in dead salary-cap space unless the Jets can designate the move as a June 1 cut.

    There's arguably no player more overpaid than Johnson since his team is willing to eat all that money and is just biding its time to do so.

Philadelphia Eagles: WR Alshon Jeffery

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    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    Current Deal: Four years, $52 million ($26.8 million guaranteed)

    The Philadelphia Eagles and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery need to move on from each other before the situation gets any worse. Criticisms of quarterback Carson Wentz, which were linked to Jeffery, created a ruckus in the locker room as a "prominent player on offense confronted Jeffery to the point where they had to be separated," per the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane.

    According to The Athletic's Connor Hughes, the Eagles "are looking to move Jeffery," and the receiver "would welcome the change of scenery."

    Jeffery's contract is tough to swallow, though.

    His $15.7 million salary-cap hit escalates to $26.1 million in dead cap space if the Eagles can't find a trade partner. Even if everything was fine, which it obviously isn't, the 30-year-old is still recovering from a foot injury after posting the lowest yards-per-catch average of his career (11.4).

Pittsburgh Steelers: QB Ben Roethlisberger

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    Current Deal: Two years, $68 million ($37.5 million guaranteed)

    The future of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization rests on the injured right elbow of 38-year-old quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

    Prior to said injury, Roethlisberger was worth every penny as one of the game's elite quarterbacks. But no one has any clue what type of player he'll be upon return. General manager Kevin Colbert, for example, thinks he might be better.

    "Physically, he should be better," Colbert said, per ESPN's Brooke Pryor. "The arm, who knows? His arm might be stronger coming out of this surgery."

    But that's not realistic.

    Considering Big Ben's advanced age and the beating he's taken over his career, it's far more realistic to believe he won't be the same player during the final two years of his current deal, both of which exceed $31 million if he reaches his roster bonuses.

San Francisco 49ers: RB Jerick McKinnon

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    Current Deal: Four years, $30 million ($18 million guaranteed)

    The San Francisco 49ers did the one thing they never should have done: invest in a running back.

    The Shanahan offensive scheme has created opportunities for running backs since Mike Shanahan led the Denver Broncos organization. A significant investment in the position seemed counterintuitive, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan saw something in Jerick McKinnon.

    "There's so many things I liked about him, just visualizing how I would use him and the stuff that we would do," the coach said upon signing the running back, per the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows.

    A torn ACL prior to the 2018 campaign prevented McKinnon from playing the last two seasons. In his absence, Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman have excelled.

    49ers general manager John Lynch expects to sit down with McKinnon's representation and discuss a restructured deal, according to Barrows.

Seattle Seahawks: C Justin Britt

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    Current Deal: Three years, $27 million ($17.3 million guaranteed)

    The Seattle Seahawks are interesting because the organization has generally invested in all the right places.

    Russell Wilson demands the biggest deal as a true franchise quarterback. Bobby Wagner is next as the game's best middle linebacker. Duane Brown plays a premium position blocking for Wilson's blind side. Finally, wide receiver Tyler Lockett is an exceptional playmaker when healthy.

    All four investments make complete sense.

    Justin Britt's standing as the team's fifth-highest salary is somewhat suspect.

    When healthy, Britt is a reliable, slightly above-average center. Yes, he's a team leader and a usually reliable part of an oft-struggling Seahawks offensive front, but his best season came four years ago, and he's coming off a season-ending torn ACL.

    With all that in mind, Britt's cap hit is $11.4 million this year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: TE Cameron Brate

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    Current Deal: Six years, $40.8 million ($18 million guaranteed)

    Cameron Brate's appearance among the league's most overpaid players has less to do with the tight end and far more with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' decisions in recent years.

    Brate's extension came less than a year after the organization invested a first-round pick in fellow tight end O.J. Howard.

    So, it comes as no surprise Brate's production has decreased since he posted 48 receptions for 591 yards during the 2017 campaign. He finished fifth on the team with 311 yards last season.

    Normally, a second tight end not producing—neither Tampa Bay tight end posted significant numbers—wouldn't be a big deal. But Brate has the third-richest deal in total contractual value among tight ends. Only the Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce and the Philadelphia Eagles' Zach Ertz have bigger contracts.

Tennessee Titans: CB Malcolm Butler

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    Current Deal: Five years, $61.3 million ($30 million guaranteed)

    Only five Tennessee Titans are scheduled to carry a salary-cap hit of at least $10 million into the 2020 campaign. Of course, that number will almost certainly change once the organization figures out exactly what it will do with quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry, both of whom are free agents.

    But the Titans have been fiscally responsible without investing huge numbers into free agents—except for cornerback Malcolm Butler. Left tackle Taylor Lewan and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey are homegrown talents and dominant performers at times. They've earned the right to be the team's two highest-paid players.

    Butler hasn't lived up to the massive free-agent deal he signed prior to the 2018 campaign. Adoree' Jackson and Logan Ryan have been Tennessee's top two corners.

    Ryan is a free agent, though, and the 30-year-old Butler finally has an opportunity to show his full worth.

Washington Redskins: OT Trent Williams

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Current Deal: Five years, $68 million ($41.3 million guaranteed)

    The numbers on Trent Williams' current contract with the Washington Redskins are basically meaningless at this point since the standoff between the two parties continues.

    Williams sat out all of last season over multiple grievances regarding Washington's medical staff, the team's leadership and his contract. The fractured relationship may never heal after Washington finally granted the left tackle's representation the right to seek a trade, according to ESPN's Dianna Russini. A fresh start and a new contract appear to be Williams' priorities. 

    The seven-time Pro Bowler only has one year—a $14.5 million salary-cap hit—remaining on his current deal. But when healthy and on the field, the 31-year-old lineman is one of the league's best.

    Either Washington somehow finds a way to make something happen and keep him in place, or Williams will be dealt.