Albert Haynesworth And The 25 Worst Contracts In NFL History
To Washington Redskins fans, it seems like only yesterday that the team signed Albert Haynesworth to a $100 million contract. The contract felt wrong when it was signed, and a year later, the Redskins are obviously not getting what they paid for as both sides can't stand each other.
This is just one of many bad contracts the Redskins have had in recent years, a list which also includes Donovan McNabb's contract extension. The Redskins are, of course, not the only team to have offered a large contract that ended up going badly.
Many contracts of that size end up going down as among the worst in NFL history. Which players ended up with the worst contracts, for whatever reason? Here are 25 contracts that just ended up being flat-out ridiculous.
25. Daunte Culpepper
To start off the list, we have a quarterback who originally did earn the big contract he got. At the end of 2002 season, he received a ten-year deal from the Minnesota Vikings worth as much as $102 million.
He originally proved his worth, having an amazing year in 2004. Once he got injured in 2005, his career never rebounded, and was a shell of his former self. He is one of many on the list who succumbed to injury and couldn't play as well as the contract demanded.
24. Jeff Garcia
The Cleveland Browns were sick of having a quarterback battle between Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, and a few other players you've never heard of. In 2004, they ended that by signing Garcia to a four-year deal worth $25 million.
He had an okay first season in 2005, but it was a terrible fit as he clashed with coach Butch Davis. His complaints were not what the Browns needed, so they shipped him off to Detroit. He ended his career well, and the Browns experiment ended up being the worst year of his career.
23. Scott Mitchell
Despite the issues with Culpepper and Garcia, at least they were starters, so they were expected to play well. Scott Mitchell was a career backup behind Dan Marino when the Detroit Lions signed him to a four-year, $21 million deal.
Mitchell had a great 1995 season, throwing 32 touchdowns, so I'll give him that. His other three seasons were mediocre, and he was eventually replaced as the starter in 1998 by Charlie Batch. Yes, that Charlie Batch.
22. Neil O'Donnell
After bringing the Steelers to a Super Bowl in 1995, Neil O'Donnell was a hot commodity entering free agency. The Jets signed him to a five-year, $25 million deal, and it looked like they had their quarterback of the future since Boomer Esiason was pretty much done as a pro.
While he put up decent numbers in 1997, he missed half of his first season, and was cut before the 1998 season began. The Jets went 12-4 without him, so in hindsight getting rid of him while they could worked out.
Now, let's look at players besides quarterbacks. After all, every position holds the possibility of a bad deal.
21. Tommy Kelly
Kelly is working his way off this list, and in another year or two might be off completely. Why is he on then?
Usually, a contract is considered the worst when a good player ends up performing poorly. Kelly spent part of the 2007 season on injured reserve, and was never considered anywhere near elite. Nonetheless, the Oakland Raiders gave him a seven-year, $50.5 million contract, a huge contract for a defensive tackle.
It was an utterly ridiculous contract then, but he finally had a good year in 2010 and was named a Pro Bowl alternate, so there's hope for this contract yet.
20. Edgerrin James
Signing a running back to a big contract is risky business, since he can be dominant for a couple years, then be washed up and out of the league a couple years later. That's why the Arizona Cardinals opened their wallets for a guy with five 1,000-yard rushing seasons in Edgerrin James.
A four-year, $30 million deal sounded good, and he played fairly well the first two years while breaking 1,000 yards, but his yards per carry did not come close to what they were in Indianapolis. In the third year of the deal, James lost his starting job to Tim Hightower, and quietly ended his career in Seattle.
19. Larry Brown
This contract wasn't worth much, and you can't blame the Raiders for thinking it could pay off, but it definitely never came close.
After a breakthrough year in 1995 and an amazing Super Bowl performance against the Steelers, Brown signed a five-year, $12.5 million deal with the Raiders. This sounds sensible until you factor in that he only played 12 games in two seasons, recording one interception.
18. Ahman Green
You know how 30 for a running back is essentially 40 for most other athletes? I don't think the Houston Texans got the memo.
After putting up great numbers for many years in Green Bay, the Texans signed the 29-year old to a $23 million contract for four years in 2007 He lasted two, putting up 554 yards after battling through a slew of injuries. He later went back to Green Bay to finish up his career.
17. Peerless Price
Peerless Price was coming off a career year in Buffalo in 2002 when the Atlanta Falcons traded for him and gave him a seven-year, $37.5 million deal. After two unimpressive years in Atlanta, the Falcons quickly cut their losses.
He later went back to Buffalo to wrap up his career. This seems to be a common trend among busts, with Price, Green and others going back to old teams, hoping that they can find their former glory there. Hasn't worked for anyone yet.
16. Jake Grove
You might think that it would not be that hard for an offensive lineman to live up to a contract, but that position is just as susceptible to busts. Take Jake Grove, who the Dolphins signed in 2009 to a five-year, $29 million deal.
Grove ended up lasting 12 games in 2009, and was cut by the Dolphins during the 2010 season. Not only that, but no one picked Grove up in free agency. At least he was able to play a whole season though, unlike...
15. Chuck Smith
While Jake Grove could not perform on the offensive line, Chuck Smith suddenly stopped performing on the defensive line. He actually had eight great seasons as a member of the Atlanta Falcons, finishing his time there with 58.5 sacks.
In 2000, he signed a five-year, $21 million deal with the Carolina Panthers. After two games, a knee injury knocked him out of the game. As big of a bust as this was, at least he played some games, unlike...
14. Nate Odomes
Nate Odomes spent seven years on the Buffalo Bills as a very dependable cornerback. In 1993, he moved up to elite status, having nine interceptions on the year. As a result, the Seattle Seahawks signed Odomes to a four-year, $8.4 million deal.
Had he been average over those four years, it would have been a good deal. Instead, he suffered a season-ending knee injury before training camp in 1994, then suffered another injury in 1995. He ended his career with a few games in 1996 with the Falcons, having never played a game in Seattle.
13. LeCharles Bentley
As bad as the Odomes situation was, he was just one of many pieces on the Seahawks. Bentley, however, was going to anchor the Cleveland Browns offense moving forward in the wake of a new coach and attitude.
Bentley, a Cleveland native and Pro Bowl center, signed for six years and $36 million. On the first play of training camp, he tore his patellar tendon, and after staph infections, that was it. Game over.
12. David Boston
David Boston had one great season in four years at Arizona, and had the tools to potentially be a very good receiver. As a result, the San Diego Chargers signed him to a seven-year deal.
He had 880 receiving yards and seven touchdowns his first year, but clashed with the rest of the team, and coach Marty Schottenheimer even suspended him a game for his conduct. The Chargers traded him after a season, having already grown tired of him.
11. Daryl Gardener
Daryl Gardner spent the first six seasons of his career as a defensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. When the Broncos saw how successful he was with the Redskins, they signed him to a seven-year deal.
How many games did he play the first year? He played five, missing time due to two separate suspensions for conduct detrimental to the team. He was waived at the end of that season in an abrupt end to his career.
10. Adam Archuleta
The first of four Redskins in the top 10, the Redskins' contract offered to Archuleta was one that looked like a stupid deal both when it happened and in hindsight.
After five decent years for the St. Louis Rams, where Archuleta logged a big number of sacks for a safety, the Redskins signed him to a seven-year deal. He lasted one year without an interception, and just never seemed to fit well with the Redskins. At least there wasn't animosity involved like with others on the list.
9. Brandon Lloyd
Brandon Lloyd is known as three completely different receivers. In San Francisco, he was a solid number-two option for three seasons. In Denver, he had a career year, leading the league in receiving yards this past season. In Washington, he's known quite differently.
After emerging in San Francisco, the Redskins gave him a six-year, $30 million deal. He responded with 25 receptions and no touchdowns over two seasons, and essentially fell off the map until this season.
8. JaMarcus Russell
I tried to avoid putting in rookie contracts where I could, because I inherently hate the idea of giving someone $50 million without even playing a game in the NFL, so the list could just as easily be full of them.
Either way, you can't ignore JaMarcus Russell. The first overall pick in 2007 signed a six-year deal worth $68 million, and after a mediocre 2008, Russell was just horrendous in 2009. Now, he is one of the all-time draft busts, and most likely done in the NFL.
7. Shaun Alexander
Alexander won the MVP in 2005, so it makes sense that the Seattle Seahawks would reward him with a good contract. What makes less sense is giving him an eight-year, $62 million contract. The end result? Two decent years, but he proved his best years were behind him and did not live up to the deal.
6. DeAngelo Hall
DeAngelo Hall has had a solid year with Washington, unlike many others in the top ten. As for his time with the Raiders, that was a much larger problem.
Hall started his career with the Atlanta Falcons for four seasons, and emerged as a great cornerback.
5. Donovan McNabb
Donovan McNabb seems to have gotten the short end of the stick for most of his NFL career. After a long career at Philadelphia, a change of scenery was needed, and the Redskins were the team to provide that change.
The Redskins provided McNabb with a five-year deal worth $78 million, and in his first season he struggled. In fact, Mike Shanahan put in Rex Grossman for the rest of the season under strange circumstances, and it looks like McNabb is now on his way out of D.C.
4. Deion Sanders
Mr. Prime Time himself was one of the Redskins big-contract guys, along with Albert Haynesworth, that ending up causing more problems than it solved. He was a great player coming off a great season in Dallas in 1999, but was 32 when the Redskins signed him to a seven-year, $56 million deal.
What did the Redskins get in return? For one year, he was a decent cornerback and caught four interceptions, but he clashed with everyone in Washington and demanded his release at the end of the season. All in all, a terrible move on all fronts.
3. Javon Walker
The signing of Javon Walker by the Oakland Raiders falls squarely in the category of "what were they thinking?" When he was in Denver, he was released after the team couldn't find anyone who wanted him in a trade.
What do the Raiders do having seen this? They give him a six-year, $55 million deal. He caught 15 passes for 196 yards in 2008 and was released at the end of the 2009 season. His career is presumed to be over, since he has a four-game suspension on hold for when put on an active roster.
2. Michael Vick
Michael Vick is known today as the man who came back from the dogfighting charge and underwent a career revival, having his greatest year as a member of the Eagles and nearly winning the MVP (I presume he'll finish second).
Before that, he was an overrated passer who was considered a glorified running back. Nonetheless, after 2004, he signed a ten-year deal with Arthur Blank saying he would be a lifelong Falcon. He lasted two years, putting up good stats in 2006, rushing for over 1,000 yards.
He was never worth the contract he got to begin with, but at least he performed to the best of his abilities under it.
1. Albert Haynesworth
Congrats, Albert Haynesworth. Your contract puts you at the top of the list. Given the controversy he had in Tennessee though, the Redskins should have seen this coming.
After the 2008 season, the Redskins signed Haynesworth to a seven-year, $100 million deal. Since then, he's been suspended by the team, failed a physical, been in a war with Mike Shanahan, and did not come close to being the defender he was in Tennessee.
You could argue that lasting more than one season makes this not as bad as McNabb or Sanders, but when you factor in on-field issues, off-field issues, and an inability to get in shape, he should have never come close to a $100 million deal.