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#pounditMonday, July 4, 2022

Each NFL team’s worst contract

Detroit Lions – Marvin Jones, wide receiver

The Lions signed Marvin Jones to a five-year, $40 million contract with $20 million guaranteed this offseason, which would be a solid deal if it’s the same receiver who compiled a league-leading 408 yards through three games last season. On the other side of the coin, it’s not a good deal if it’s for the receiver who had only 522 yards in the final 13 games of last season.

Green Bay Packers – Randall Cobb, wide receiver

The Packers signed Randall Cobb to a four-year, $40 million deal with $13 million guaranteed after his 1,200-yard season in 2014. At the time, that seemed like a bargain. Unfortunately, injuries have limited Cobb in each of the previous two seasons and his production has decreased consistently. Now Green Bay is on the hook for over $12.6 million in each of the next two seasons.

Houston Texans – Brian Cushing, linebacker

Once upon a time, Brian Cushing was a healthy, dominant linebacker worthy of a six-year, $52.5 million deal with $21 million guaranteed and a $9 million signing bonus. Then he wasn’t. Not because his skill deteriorated, but because his health did. He’s appeared in 16 games only once over the previous five seasons and has lost an obvious step despite his high football IQ. His cap hits are just shy of $10 million over the next four seasons, and that’s a lot of money for a player on the wrong side of 30 and with knee issues.

Indianapolis Colts – Jabaal Sheard, linebacker

There aren’t many questionable contracts on the Colts’ roster, so Jabaal Sheard’s three-year, $25.5 million deal may be a bit of a reach. Still, with a cap hit of nearly $10 million in 2017, he’ll need to produce career highs in order to make the investment fruitful. If he doesn’t, the Colts can cut and run in 2018 with little consequence.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Allen Hurns, wide receiver

When the Jaguars signed Allen Hurns to a four-year, $40.7 million contract with $20 million guaranteed, he was coming off of a 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown season and looked to be their receiver of the future. In 2016, Hurns took a major step back, hauling in only 35 receptions for 477 yards, three touchdowns and a catch rate below 47%. Now in 2017, Hurns must return to his big-money form or face an uncertain future in Jacksonville.

Kansas City Chiefs – Justin Houston, linebacker

Sometimes bad contracts are nothing more than bad luck. Such has been the case in Kansas City with Justin Houston, who deservedly landed a six-year, $101 million deal in 2015. He had recorded 22 sacks the year prior, nearly breaking the NFL’s all-time record, and was considered among the elite at his position. Since then however, Houston has been riddled with injury, appearing in just 16 games and recording only 11.5 sacks. That’s a steep falloff for a player with a cap hit over $22 million.

Los Angeles Chargers – Russell Okung, offensive tackle

A year removed from grading out as the league’s 38th offensive tackle courtesy of Pro Football Focus, Russell Okung landed the largest contract at his position based on an average annual salary. Perhaps the Chargers are expecting Okung to turn back the clock to his former, better self, but if not, the four-year, $53 million deal with $25 million guaranteed could haunt them for quite some time.

Los Angeles Rams – Tavon Austin, wide receiver

Tavon Austin never materialized after being selected No. 8 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, but despite that, the Rams signed him to a four-year, $42 million extension with $28.5 million guaranteed anyway. He rewarded them with a career-high 509 yards in 2016, but his catch rate dropped to less than 55%. Those are not exactly the numbers you want out of a receiver who’s slated to count for nearly $15 million against the cap this season.

Miami Dolphins – Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle

Safety Reshad Jones could have arguably gone here, but the perception of his deal could change this coming season. That’s not likely to be the case for Ndamukong Suh, who deserved a substantial chunk of change, but had signed a six-year, $114.4 million contract in 2015. Was he in his prime? Yes. Has he played well in Miami? Yes. But despite all of that, Suh is still earning 80.4 percent over the baseline at this position league-wide.

Minnesota Vikings – Riley Reiff, offensive tackle

Surprised to see another marginal offensive lineman on this list? You shouldn’t be. Despite ranking 48th among all offensive tackles last season (via Pro Football Focus), Riley Reiff landed a five-year, $58.8 million deal with $26.3 million guaranteed from the Vikings this offseason. That was just the nature of the market this year, but it could prove costly for Minnesota (and others) moving forward.

New England Patriots – Stephon Gilmore, cornerback

Stephon Gilmore is one of the best up-and-coming cornerbacks in the league and he represented a legitimate need for the Patriots. He’s expected to play well in 2017, but that doesn’t necessarily mean New England signed him to a team-friendly deal. They rarely make a big-money splash, but that’s exactly what they did with Gilmore. His five-year, $65 million deal with $40 million guaranteed and an $18 million signing bonus is even richer than it seems. It’s the most guaranteed money the Patriots have ever given a player and the largest signing bonus for any active cornerback in the NFL. That’s a lot to live up to.

See the last teams on Page 3

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