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For all but eight of the NFL’s teams, the hunt for Super Bowl 56 is over. The rest of the league is already onto their pursuit of 57.
Before the free-agency dominoes begin to fall in March, now’s a good time to take stock of each team’s salary-cap situation.
The collective bargaining agreement has helped teams avoid giving out too many atrocious contracts. But each team would likely want a re-do on at least one current deal.
Here are the criteria we used to pick the worst contract on each team:
- Money owed: Specifically, what the cap hit looks like in 2022, with additional penalty for financial ramifications beyond next season.
- Performance relative to cost: What’s the return on investment based on the player’s performance?
- Player mobility: Can the franchise move on from the player via trade or release him without incurring too much dead money?
All dead cap charges and savings for cuts or trades are based on a pre-June 1 designation unless otherwise noted. All contract and salary cap information are from Over the Cap unless otherwise noted.
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The Contract: Three years, $20 million, expires in 2023
The Arizona Cardinals signed Devon Kennard to a three-year, $20 million deal in 2020 after he racked up seven sacks in back-to-back seasons with the Detroit Lions. At the time, it looked like a good value.
In reality, it hasn’t been the bargain the Cardinals wanted, particularly this season. Kennard failed to register a single sack and played more than 35 percent of Arizona’s offensive snaps in only three games.
Now, the rent has come due. While he had smaller cap hits in the first two years of his deal, he has a $9.1 million cap hit in 2022. That’s a lot to pay a pass-rusher who hasn’t produced and will be 31 next season.
With the success of Markus Golden and Chandler Jones coming off the edge, the Cardinals might decide to swallow a $4.2 million dead cap hit to part ways with Kennard this offseason.
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The Contract: Five years, $150 million, expires in 2024
It’s difficult to rebuild your roster when a 37-year-old quarterback is taking up nearly a quarter of the salary cap. That’s where the Atlanta Falcons are headed in the 2022 season.
The Falcons just had their fourth consecutive losing season, and Ryan is showing his age. He just posted his lowest touchdown percentage since 2015 and had his worst QBR ever.
They could trim that dead cap hit to $24.9 million if they designate him a post-June 1 cut or trade. But either way, it would be extremely pricey for the Falcons to move on from Ryan this offseason.
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The Contract: Two years, $14 million, expires in 2023
It’s difficult to pick out a bad contract for the Baltimore Ravens. General manager Eric DeCosta generally manages to put a competitive team on the field without overspending on any one player.
Alejandro Villanueva is the rare example of Baltimore taking a gamble on a veteran that hasn’t panned out.
The Ravens signed Villanueva after trading Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs. They brought him in to be a stopgap at right tackle, but they might have been better off going with a younger option that at least had some upside.
Villanueva has been a turnstile in pass protection. The nine sacks that he allowed this season was tied for the second-highest figure in the league.
Fortunately for the Ravens, the deal only has one more year left. However, they’re still set to shell out $9.3 million to a 33-year-old who should have competition for the starting right tackle spot next season.
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The Contract: Three years, $18.6 million, expires in 2024
Star Lotulelei is an example of an opt-out prolonging a not-so-desirable contract for a club. The defensive tackle opted out of the 2020 season, which pushed back his current deal by a year.
Lotulelei’s deal isn’t exorbitant by any stretch, but it’s far from a bargain. The aging veteran is set to count $9.4 million against the cap next season and will cost them $5.2 million in dead cap charge if they decide to cut him.
Lotulelei did have three sacks this season, but his role dwindled throughout the year. He went from playing more than 50 percent of the Bills’ defensive snaps in five of his first seven games to less than 35 percent of the snaps in each of his final three regular-season games.
Heading into his age-33 season, Lotulelei isn’t likely to play more snaps or become more productive next season. However, his cap hit is set to increase.
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The Contract: One year, $18.9 million. Expires in 2023.
When the Carolina Panthers traded a 2021 sixth-round pick and 2022 second- and fourth-round picks to the New York Jets for quarterback Sam Darnold in April, it was a calculated risk. If Darnold’s lack of production was a result of Adam Gase and the Jets organization—which was entirely plausible—they could have hit big.
Instead, they are living in the darkest timeline of the deal.
Darnold was just as bad this season if not worse than he was with the Jets. He completed only 59.9 percent of his passes while throwing 13 interceptions to nine touchdowns and going 4-7 as the starter.
The Panthers already picked up Darnold’s $18.9 million fifth-year option back in April. That may complicate their efforts to sign or trade for a new quarterback this offseason.
Instead, they might be forced to search for his replacement in a draft that doesn’t have a clear-cut No. 1 option at quarterback.
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The Contract: Three years, $24 million, expires in 2023
Much like the Panthers with Sam Darnold, the Chicago Bears would have gotten a steal had Nick Foles worked out as their quarterback. They sent only a fourth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020 to acquire him.
Instead, Foles spent this season as the Bears’ third-string quarterback. Veteran Andy Dalton began the year as the starter, although rookie first-round pick Justin Fields quickly supplanted him.
Dalton signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Bears last offseason, so he’ll be off their books this year. With Fields heading into the second year of his rookie contract, Chicago would only have $15 million tied up on quarterbacks between him and Foles.
They could also free up $8 million in cap space by trading Foles this offseason. The Super Bowl 52 MVP had a successful start in a win over the Seattle Seahawks, which might entice a team looking for quarterback competition.
However, Foles’ $10.7 million cap hit negates some of the advantage the Bears would have in building a roster around a quarterback on a rookie deal.
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The Contract: Three years, $42 million, expires in 2023
This isn’t an indictment of Trae Waynes’ play or the Cincinnati Bengals’ decision-making. The veteran cornerback just hasn’t been able to stay healthy over the course of his contract.
The Bengals signed Waynes in 2020, but a torn pectoral kept him from taking a single snap last year. He played only five games this season, as a hamstring injury sidelined him for another lengthy stretch.
During his limited action, Waynes hasn’t contributed much. He had no interceptions and only one pass defended during the regular season.
Meanwhile, the Bengals have found answers in their secondary with other free-agent acquisitions. Chidobe Awuzie is Pro Football Focus’ third-highest-graded cornerback, while Mike Hilton has provided strong value for his contract.
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The contract: Four years, $42 million, expires in 2024
The good news for the Cleveland Browns is that Austin Hooper soon won’t be the NFL’s highest-paid tight end anymore. The bad news is that he’s still going to be making significantly more than he did this year.
That’s a hefty price to pay for a tight end who didn’t even lead all Browns tight ends in receiving yards or touchdowns. David Njoku led the team in both of those categories, and he’s about to become a free agent.
The Browns are the only team that used 1-3 personnel (one running back and three tight ends) more than 10 percent of the time this season. That explains why they value the position so much, but it’ll be tough for them to roster three good tight ends while paying Hooper that much.
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The Contract: Six years, $90 million. Expires in 2027.
Ezekiel Elliott remains a top ten running back in the NFL. His ability is not being disputed here. The massive price tag that comes with the production is the problem.
Elliott’s $6.8 million cap hit ranked sixth among running backs this season and was manageable. Next year, he skyrockets to the No. 1 spot with an $18.2 million charge. There’s still more than $30 million in dead cap charge associated with the deal so there isn’t much wiggle room either.
The problem is the Cowboys have proven they could get a reasonable percentage of his production at a fraction of the cost.
For the second season in a row, Tony Pollard has averaged more yards per carry and reception than Elliott. Their average yards before contact are nearly identical, so they are both getting a similar opportunity from the line up front.
With Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, Dalton Schultz and Connor Williams all set to hit free agency, the Cowboys are going to have a hard time retaining talent with Elliott on the books.
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The Contract: Four years, $44 million. Expires in 2024.
It’s hard to fault a team for investing in the offensive line. Especially when they’re trying to figure out their quarterback situation, but Graham Glasgow has clearly not been worth the investment.
First of all, the 28-year-old has struggled to stay in the lineup for the Broncos. After starting 13 games in 2020, he has only been in the lineup for seven in 2021. Even when he has played it hasn’t been great.
He has posted a pedestrian 65.1 grade from PFF this season. Both Dalton Risner and rookie Quinn Meinerz have posted better marks. The difference is that those two will cost the team around $3.3 million next season while Glasgow’s contract is much more costly.
The Broncos have already reworked the contract. He was originally slated to carry a base salary of $8.4 million and a cap hit of $11.4 million. However, he took a $5.3 million pay cut on the base, per Field Yates of ESPN so his cap hit should come in somewhere around $7 million.
It’s a more reasonable move but With younger options that can provide better play for less money it still doesn’t save the contract from being their worst deal.
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The Contract: Five years, $90 million. Expires in 2024.
Much like picking coaches from the Bill Belichick coaching tree, signing free agents from New England can be risky business.
Guys like Jamie Collins and Nate Solder had success within the Patriots organization but didn’t deliver as free agent signings. The latest to join that group is Trey Flowers. He was signed to a massive contract after putting up 21 sacks in four seasons with the Patriots.
With Matt Patricia coming to Detroit, the hope was he could help instill the Pats’ culture and become a premier pass-rusher.
The leadership part may be working out. General manager Brad Holmes called him the ultimate glue guy and ultimate leader when addressing his future with the club.
However, the production side of things hasn’t matched up with his cost. He has only been on the field for 14 games over the last two seasons and has a combined 3.5 sacks after notching seven in his first season in Detroit.
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The Contract: Two years, $20.5 million. Expires in 2023.
It’s really tough to find bad contracts on the Packers roster. It’s a testament to the job that general manager Brian Gutekunst has done and probably a large factor as to what they are the top seed in the NFC.
That’s also why it’s not surprising they’ve taken steps to mitigate the impact of Preston Smith’s contract. What was once a four-year, $54 million pact was adjusted before the 2021 season started to what is now essentially a two-year deal worth $20.5 million.
That included incentives for sacks that kept his earning potential within the original value of the contract.
Those incentives started at six sacks. With nine on the season, he ultimately added $1.25 million to his deal. It’s not a massive overpay, but the presence and success of Rashan Gary leaves the Packers with an interesting decision with their pass-rushers this season.
Even with the re-worked deal the Packers are scheduled to take a $19.8 million cap hit in 2022. Za’Darius Smith’s injury makes his contract a huge question. He’s owed $28.1 million next season. He was incredibly productive with 26 sacks in 2019 and 2020 but spent all but one game on the IR this season with a back injury.
The problem is that it’s a ton of money invested in two veteran pass-rushers when Gary proved he could produce at a similar level. He had 9.5 sacks this season and will cost the club just $5 million.
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The Contract: Four years, $156 million. Expires in 2026.
The Texans don’t have much money committed to players on the roster right now. Only three players carry a cap hit of more than $6.8 million: Deshaun Watson, Laremy Tunsil and Brandin Cooks.
Tunsil is obviously a high-caliber tackle and Brandin Cooks was one of the best things about their offense this season. They are both worth the money they are making.
However, Deshaun Watson’s presence on the team and the payroll continue to be an issue.
After requesting a trade in the offseason, the quarterback was the subject of 22 civil lawsuits by women who have accused him of sexual assault and misconduct. He also faces 10 criminal complaints, including two from women who haven’t filed lawsuits.
The allegations and investigations were a sticking point during Watson trade discussions this season, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. He is set to be deposed in the civil cases in February.
Watson is scheduled to account for nearly 20 percent of the Texans’ cap space in 2022 at $40.4 million. Until his legal issues and his status with the team are resolved, this will remain a terrible contract that restricts the Texans’ ability to build a competitive roster.
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The Contract: Three years, $18.6 million. Expires in 2025.
This one is admittedly picking nits. Hines is a useful player in the offense. He’s a good receiving back who chipped in over 300 yards receiving and his $5.1 million cap hit isn’t exorbitant.
But with Jonathan Taylor on the roster and cap hits north of $6 million in 2023 and 2024, he’s probably an unnecessary expense.
After turning the ball over twice and taking six sacks against the Jaguars to end the season, Carson Wentz could be a consideration. But his contract really has just one more year. The Colts will pay him $28.3 million next season and could walk away from the final two years with no dead cap.
It forces their hand to committing to Wentz for another season, but the contract isn’t an exorbitant price for a quarterback and has long-term flexibility.
The Hines contract is simply a case of paying a player a little too much for a role they could probably fill with a Day 2 or 3 draft pick. His Over The Cap valuation for the season was $2.3 million. Next season, he’ll be making double that.
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The Contract: Four years, $35 million. expires in 2025.
With Urban Meyer at the helm last season, the Jaguars went on a spending spree in free agency. They brought in several free-agent veterans who were good but not great.
Rayshawn Jenkins was among those. Coming off his second season as a starter for the Los Angeles Chargers, the Jags signed him to a deal that cost them little in the first year but will now balloon up to around $10 million per year for the next three years.
The problem is that Jenkins wasn’t nearly as good this season. In his final season with the Chargers, he gave up just 5.7 yards per target and an overall passer rating of 78.0 when targeted. This year, those numbers rose to 8.5 yards per target and a passer rating of 96.9, per Pro Football Reference.
Jenkins was the 71st-graded safety by Pro Football Focus this year. The early returns on this move have not been good.
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The Contract: Five years, $104 million. Expires in 2024.
According to Over The Cap’s valuation of Frank Clark this season, he was overpaid by a whopping $21.4 million this season.
To make matters worse, his $25.8 million cap hit climbs to $26.3 million next season.
That’s the going price for an elite edge-rusher. The problem is that Clark hasn’t been that for the Chiefs.
He only had 4.5 sacks this season after putting up just 6.0 last year, around $3.4 million per sack. That’s neither great value on defense nor a good way to help out Patrick Mahomes and the offense.
Clark’s recent time in Kansas City has been marred by injuries and offseason arrests. Outright releasing him would force the Chiefs to eat a $13.6 million dead cap charge.
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The Contract: Three years, $35.2 million. Expires in 2023.
This is among the easiest selections on the list. The Cory Littleton signing can officially be declared a flop for the Raiders.
Littleton scored a big payday after his stint with the Los Angeles Rams. The first year was a bit of a disappointment, and the Raiders have restructured his contract twice. The second time saved them around $4 million in 2021, but they’ll feel the effects of it in 2022.
Littleton is set to be a $15.7 million cap hit in 2022 with a $14.0 million dead cap charge. That means he’s nearly guaranteed to be on the roster at least until June 1, when he can be cut with $4.0 million in dead money.
The problem is that Littleton is going to occupy all that money and the roster spot throughout free agency. He played five defensive snaps or fewer in each of the Raiders’ last four regular-season games.
More than $15 million for a guy who has essentially become a special teams player is a hard pill to swallow.
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The Contract: Three years, $30 million. Expires in 2023.
Since drafting Justin Herbert, the Los Angeles Chargers have made a lot of investment in protecting him. They drafted Rashawn Slater in the first round of the 2021 draft and signed veterans Corey Linsley at center and Matt Feiler at guard.
Most of those moves have been beneficial. Slater had an incredible rookie season. Linsley has been as advertised, and Feiler has been a consistent starter.
But the move to bring in veteran Bryan Bulaga hasn’t brought the results the team hoped for.
That isn’t entirely because Bulaga has played poorly. Granted, he posted a 55.8 grade on PFF with his play in just 45 snaps, but it’s the 45 snaps that are the problem.
Bulaga has dealt with both core and back injuries that forced him to miss all but one half of a game this season. At 32 years old, there’s reason to be pessimistic he may be a sunk cost at this point.
If Bulaga doesn’t retire, the Chargers are going to have to figure out a way to mitigate his substantial $14 million cap hit that would be the third-largest on the team. That shouldn’t be hard. Only $3.3 million of the hit would count against the team if he is outright released.
As far as bad contracts go, this one isn’t that hard to move on from, a testament to how well the Chargers have put together this roster.
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The Contract: Three years, $18 million. Expires in 2023.
This one isn’t necessarily egregious, it just doesn’t provide the Rams with the kind of value you’d like to see.
Robinson is a fine player. He was PFF’s 22nd-graded interior defender in 2021 and at 26 years old, he still has plenty of tread on the tires.
But with his cap hit nearly doubling in 2022 at $9.5 million, the Rams should consider figuring out a way to mitigate that hit. That could come in the form of an extension, considering Robinson’s strong play.
However, the Rams are dishing out big money to several stars. Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey all carry cap hits over $20 million. Even a slight overpay to someone like Robinson can make it difficult for them to have the cap room they’ll need to get better in 2022.
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The Contract: Three years, $30.5 million. Expires in 2024.
The problem with DeVante Parker’s contract isn’t that it is going to break the bank. He’s set to count $8.9 million against the cap next season.
There are worse figures for a No. 2 receiver. The problem is that it continues to lock Parker into a receiving corps that could be much better outside of Jaylen Waddle.
Parker will be entering his eighth year with the Miami Dolphins. Outside of his 2019 campaign, in which he went over 1,200 yards with nine touchdowns, he just hasn’t produced enough on this deal.
The good news is the worst of the contract is over. He accounted for a $12.1 million hit in 2021. His dead cap charge in 2022 would be $5.4 million if the Dolphins release him and half that post-June 1, so it’s possible he remains on the roster and continues to take opportunities from a younger option who could have a higher ceiling.
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The Contract: Two years, $66 milllion. Expires in 2023.
Kirk Cousins is a good quarterback. But if a passer is going to take up more than 20 percent of a team’s salary cap, there better be team success that comes with it.
The Vikings are in a tough spot. They have a talented roster, but back-to-back finishes around .500 with Cousins at the helm puts them at a fork in the road with him set to count for $45 million against the cap in 2022.
They can sign him to another extension. It would mean more money and more years, but a less drastic cap hit this season. Or they could trade him, but that won’t be easy.
“I don’t think they could trade him with another team picking up all that salary,” Over the Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press‘ Chris Tomasson. “But they could probably trade him if they were to pay $10 million of that contract, and then they would still save money.”
So the contract sticks them with either being severely hamstrung this season, paying him to play elsewhere or committing to even more Kirk Cousins. That’s a bad deal.
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The Contract: Four years, $50 million. Expires in 2025.
The Patriots utilized a bold strategy when they went all-in on both Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith in free agency last offseason.
Henry turned out to be a great investment. He was third on the team in receptions and receiving yards and provided Mac Jones with a reliable red-zone target, leading the team with nine touchdowns.
That wasn’t the case with Smith. In theory, Henry and Smith could be a force if the team was going to utilize both of them. Instead, the Patriots were in 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) just 14 percent of the time, per Sharp Football Stats.
While Henry has a defined role in the offense and has been a fit, Smith has not.
That makes it pretty painful that Smith is going to have the third-highest cap hit for a tight end in the league next season. With $13.8 million guaranteed, the Pats are pretty much stuck with the deal for at least another season.
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The Contract: Four years, $40 million. Worth up to $94 million. Expires in 2026.
Taysom Hill has one of the most unique contracts in the NFL. It makes some sense given his unique skill set.
The Saints essentially signed him to a deal that will pay him like a running back or wide receiver but has the potential to be more in line with a franchise quarterback.
Hill’s deal carries $21.5 million in guarantees. With incentives and potential base salary escalators based on him being a productive quarterback, it could be worth up to $94 million, according to CBS Sports’ Joel Corry.
All of this would make sense if Hill was a young quarterback who has shown signs that he can be a full-time passer. But he’s 31 years old and is coming off a season in which he threw just four touchdowns to five interceptions.
On March 19, the contract will become guaranteed through 2023, meaning the Saints are essentially locked in to be paying a 33-year-old quarterback who still feels like a project. That’s a scary proposition given how much of his success has been dependent on his athleticism.
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The Contract: Four years, $72 million. Expires in 2025.
The Giants are just one year into the massive contract they signed wide receiver Kenny Golladay to in the offseason, but it’s not looking good.
By annual average value, Golladay’s contract is tied with Tyreek Hill as the sixth-most lucrative in the league.
Needless to say, the Giants aren’t getting a Hill-like impact for their investment. Golladay’s first campaign in New York yielded just 37 catches for 521 yards and no touchdowns. The receiver has already acknowledged it’s not good enough.
There are factors outside of his control. It has become pretty clear that Daniel Jones is not the answer at quarterback, and ownership has already spoken about how they feel about Joe Judge’s reign as head coach.
The Giants will have to hope that a new coach and potentially a new quarterback can help Golladay flourish. He’s on the books for cap hits north of $21 million in each of the next three years.
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The Contract: Five years, $85 million. Expires in 2025.
In today’s financial landscape, off-ball linebackers rarely see huge paydays. There are only six inside linebackers scheduled on contracts next season that carry an average value north of $14 million.
Unfortunately for the Jets, C.J. Mosley is one of them. The 29-year-old is set to cost the team $17.5 million next season, with an even bigger dead cap charge ensuring that he will be on the roster.
Mosley’s time with the Jets has been largely unfruitful. He only played in two games in 2019 because of a groin injury, then opted out of the 2020 campaign. That pushed the contract for another year.
This season, Mosley was a reliable tackler. He amassed 168 combined tackles on the season, but a linebacker in this price range has to be a difference-maker in pass coverage. Mosley was anything but.
Teams found him as the weak link routinely, targeting him 68 times for 58 completions, 525 yards and three touchdowns for a passer rating of 113.5.
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The Contract: Four years, $56.2 million. Expires in 2025.
Father Time comes for everyone in the NFL eventually, and he’s hit Brandon Brooks pretty hard over the last few seasons.
Brooks’ tenure with the Eagles includes three Pro Bowl selections, so it’s understandable that he’s one of the higher-paid players on the roster. Unfortunately, he’s been MIA for two seasons in a row now because of injuries.
He ended the 2019 season with a dislocated shoulder, missed all of 2020 with a torn Achilles in training camp and only got on the field for two games in 2021 before suffering a torn pectoral muscle that cost him the rest of the campaign.
Brooks will be 33 next season. It isn’t likely that Eagles fans will see the same dominant blocker on the field consistently again. That realization is made even more difficult by the fact that he’s set to be a $19.4 million cap hit next season with a $15.7 million dead cap charge if they cut him.
After that, there are two more seasons of cap hits of at least $18 million.
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The Contract: Five years, $53.8 million. Expires in 2025.
When the Steelers traded for Joe Schobert in August, it only cost them a sixth-rounder. With the season in the rearview mirror, it appears the Jaguars still might have got the better end of the deal.
That’s because the Jaguars at least got out of Schobert’s contract, which includes a cap hit of $9.7 million in 2022 followed by $11.2 million in 2023 and 2024. The good news for the Steelers is that very little of the money remaining on his deal is guaranteed.
They can walk away from the deal and only see $1.9 million in dead cap charges this offseason.
The veteran middle linebacker was brought in to be a consistent presence beside Devin Bush. He did little to do that. He ranked 46th among all inside linebackers on PFF with a grade of 52.6.
Robert Spillane wasn’t much better at 46.3 for the season. But he did start over Schobert in the regular-season finale and will likely be much cheaper to retain as a restricted free agent this summer.
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The Contract: Two years, $24 million. Expires in 2023.
The 49ers have made the best of a bad situation with the Dee Ford contract. What could’ve been a disastrous deal for them has really only resulted in $30 million over the last three years, per Over the Cap.
Considering his original deal was for five years and $85 million, the Niners have mostly dodged a bullet with this deal.
Both Ford and the team went to the bargaining table again at the beginning of the 2021 season to rework the deal. David Lombardi and Matt Barrows of The Athletic reported the new agreement was essentially for two seasons and could be worth $24 million based on incentives.
It’s a lot better than it could have been, but it’s still the worst one on the books for next season. The Niners will be on the hook for an $11.9 million cap hit next season for a player who has only appeared in 18 games over the last three seasons.
Ford had 13.0 sacks in his final season with the Kansas City Chiefs but has only had 9.5 in three years with in San Francisco, as injuries to his back and neck have limited him and his availability.
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The Contract: Three years, $54 million. Expires in 2023.
The Seattle Seahawks don’t have a lot of big cap hits on the books for 2022, but Bobby Wagner is going to be especially well compensated for what he does.
It makes sense that he has one of the biggest contracts on the team. He’s long been a leader on what has historically been a great defensive unit. The problem is that he is now a soon-to-be 32-year-old who is going to carry a cap hit of more than $20 million.
While the Seahawks could have justified paying that much for a player who doesn’t play a premium position when they were a perennial contender, they just finished the season 7-10 and have plenty of holes to fill in the offseason.
Wagner is still good at what he does. He had 170 tackles this season and was ranked 15th among the inside linebackers whom PFF graded. Still, the team is going to have to look at how to approach the final year of his current contract.
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The Contract: Three years, $18 million. Expires in 2024.
The Bucs obviously transformed themselves into a Super Bowl-winning and contending team by bringing in Tom Brady, but they also have a ton of guys on team-friendly deals.
For all the talent on the roster, there are only seven players who will cost the team over $10 million next season. Each of them is well worth the compensation.
But in the next tier of contracts, Cameron Brate stands out as one of the few whose performance probably isn’t worth his compensation. Brate is due to cost the Bucs $7.3 million next season. Before they re-sign anyone, that would make him the ninth-highest-paid player on the team.
With O.J. Howard and Rob Gronkowski both set to hit free agency, that’s not ideal. Brate was on the field for just 39.6 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and clearly took a back seat in the passing game to Gronk.
He only hauled in 30 of his 57 targets for 245 yards on the season, albeit with four touchdowns.
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The Contract: Five years, $82.5 million. Expires in 2026.
Sometimes it doesn’t take long for the shine to come off a new signing. For instance, the Tennessee Titans are already probably wishing they had a do-over with the Bud Dupree contract just one season into his tenure.
The Titans went all-in on bolstering their pass rush with the former Pittsburgh Steeler last offseason. Dupree did not contribute much in that department. He had just three sacks in 11 games. He missed six games between knee and abdominal injuries.
As it turns out, the answer to their pass-rushing woes might have been on the roster all along. Harold Landry III had his best season of his career with 12 sacks.
Now he’ll hit free agency, and the Titans’ ability to retain him could be hampered by the fact that Dupree is due cap hits of at least $18.7 million in each of the next four seasons.
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The Contract: Six years, $84 million. Expires in 2025.
For the second straight season, Landon Collins ended the season on the injured reserve. In 2022, Collins will be among the highest-paid players on the team for the third season in a row.
When Washington signed Collins away from the New York Giants, it seemed as though they were scoring a big win while sticking it to a division rival. That hasn’t been the case.
In addition to the injuries, his on-field performance hasn’t been that great either. Collins was clearly the team’s third choice at safety, with both Bobby McCain and Kamren Curl seeing a larger share of the snaps.
Teams routinely found Collins in coverage. He gave up a league-high eight touchdowns. While he’s tied for that honor, it’s even more mind-boggling that he did it in just 13 games.
All contract and salary cap information via Over The Cap unless otherwise noted.