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#pounditWednesday, April 24, 2024

Each NFL team’s worst contract

New Orleans Saints – Coby Fleener, tight end

Coby Fleener put up some decent numbers in Indianapolis, but when he signed a five-year, $36 million with the Saints, expectations were high. After all, with Drew Brees at the helm and talented receivers around him, Fleener should have set some career marks. That didn’t happen and he finished the 2016 season with just 50 receptions for 631 yards and three touchdowns. With his cap hits now rising, Fleener has to produce much more to warrant his substantial salary.

New York Giants – Rhett Ellison, tight end

The Giants have a number of large and questionable contracts, but signing tight end Rhett Ellison to a four-year, $18 million deal with $8 million guaranteed at the start of free agency more than raised a few eyebrows. Ellison had never come close to that sort of deal in the past and was primarily used as a blocking tight end in Minnesota. The deal seemed even more strange when New York spent their first-round pick on tight end Evan Engram, who is poised to be their No. 1 going into the season. Needless to say, it’s a rather large deal for a reserve tight end who serves a very specific and limited role.

New York Jets – Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive end

When the Jets signed Muhammad Wilkerson to a five-year, $86 million deal with a $15 million signing bonus and $53.5 million guaranteed, it didn’t seem as unreasonable as other NFL contracts. When the bottom fell out and he produced only 4.5 sacks in 15 games last season, that perception changed. Given the defensive line market in the NFL, another 12-sack season could alter the tone for Gang Green and Wilkerson yet again in 2017, but should he continue to struggle, the deal will only continue to look worse.

Oakland Raiders – Sean Smith, cornerback

The Raiders were in desperate need of help in their secondary a year ago, so they went out and signed former Chief Sean Smith, who was coming off of an impressive season. That did not translate however, and Smith found himself burned repeatedly early on in 2016. Although he recovered to some degree as the season wore on, he never returned to 2015 form, which Oakland had paid $38 million for. If things don’t change in 2017, Smith could be cut loose.

Philadelphia Eagles – Vinny Curry, defensive end

Potential sometimes leads general manager to gamble, and that’s exactly what happened when Eagles GM Howie Roseman signed Vinny Curry to a five-year, $47.3 million extension with $23 million guaranteed. Curry’s cap hit will be $9 million in 2017 and bloat to $12.25 million in 2020, although the Eagles have more flexibility in the later years. Since signing the mega deal, Curry has tallied just 38 tackles and six sacks in 32 games.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Maurkice Pouncey, center

The Steelers have a number of bad contracts, so it’s shooting fish in a barrel when choosing which is the worst. And at first glance, Maurkice Pouncey’s five-year, $44.13 million deal doesn’t seem that bad. Even the $13 million signing bonus and $13 million in guarantees aren’t that bad, but considering Pouncey missed the 2015 season and didn’t light the world on fire in 2016, his cap hits are becoming a bit more concerning.

San Francisco 49ers – Vance McDonald, tight end

In four seasons, former second-round pick Vance McDonald has hauled in 64 receptions for 844 yards and seven touchdowns. Apparently the 49ers decided to pay him as if those were compiled during a single season, signing him to a three-year, $19.7 million contract with $9.1 million guaranteed last year. San Francisco clearly sees some upside with McDonald, but the contract handed out is far more about what could be than what has been.

Seattle Seahawks – Luke Joeckel, guard

The Seahawks have almost no bad contracts on the books, so choosing anyone is nit-picky. But if one deal had to be highlighted, it’s the one-year, $8 million contract handed out to Luke Joeckel this offseason. Seattle typically doesn’t invest big money into their offensive line let alone over-pay, so after Joeckel struggled at both guard and tackle in Jacksonville, giving him $7 million guaranteed raised some eyebrows.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Robert Ayers, defensive end

After two solid seasons with the Giants and a career-best 9.5 sacks in 2015, Robert Ayers Jr. was a solid second-tier defensive end option in free agency a season ago. The Buccaneers pounced, signing him to a three-year, $19.5 million deal with $10.5 million guaranteed. And while those numbers aren’t bad, Ayers appeared in only 12 games and recorded just 6.5 sacks a season ago. He also struggled against the run, which highlights his $6.25 million cap hit in 2017.

Tennessee Titans – Logan Ryan, cornerback

The Titans released Jason McCourty and then signed Logan Ryan, a near-carbon copy, to replace him. And while Ryan recorded 92 tackles a season ago, which was the most by a cornerback in the NFL, that was a product of him giving up too many passes. Ryan has potential, but three years and $30 million ($16 million guaranteed) is a bit of a gamble.

Washington Redskins – DeAngelo Hall, defensive back

Signing veteran DeAngelo Hall to a four-year, $17 million deal with $5.65 million guaranteed prior to the 2014 season didn’t seem bad at all. But hindsight is 20/20 and few could have foreseen Hall’s fall from grace. He’s been forced to switch from cornerback to safety, and has appeared in only 17 games over the last three seasons as he’s battled multiple injuries. He’s also slated to open the 2017 season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

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