NFL contracts are often a hot-button issue. People love to debate who’s making too much, too little, who deserves more, and who is overpaid. Some athletes outplay their deals, while others cash in and fail to deliver. Teams obviously try hard to avoid the latter situation, but sometimes things don’t work out as hoped.
With all of that in mind, here’s a look at the worst contract on every NFL team entering the 2018 season.
Arizona Cardinals – Jermaine Gresham, TE
After signing him to two consecutive one-year deals, the Cardinals suddenly decided to invest heavily in Jermaine Gresham, signing him to a four-year, $28 million deal with $16.5 million guaranteed. The $7 million annual salary far exceeds any contract Gresham had previously signed, which is curious considering he hasn’t exceeded 500 yards in a single season since 2012 with the Cincinnati Bengals. Add in that Greshman is now on the wrong side of 30, and it’s easy to understand how he made this list.
- Aaron Colvin, Albert Wilson, Andrew Luck, Avery Williamson, Charles Clay, Demario Davis, DeSean Jackson, Dion Sims, Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen, Eric Berry, Ezekiel Elliott, Jamie Collins, Jermaine Gresham, Joe Flacco, Jordan Reed, Jordy Nelson, Justin Britt, Kyle Rudolph, Logan Ryan, Matt Kalil, Menelik Watson, Ndamukong Suh, Randall Cobb, Rhett Ellison, Russell Okung, Tyrone Crawford, Vance McDonald, Vontaze Burfict
NFL contracts are often a hot-button issue. People love to debate who’s making too much, too little, who deserves more and who is overpaid. Some athletes outplay their deals, while others cash in and fail to deliver. Teams obviously try hard to avoid the latter situation, but sometimes things don’t work out as hoped.
With all of that in mind, here’s a look at the worst contract on every NFL team.
Arizona Cardinals – Jermaine Gresham, tight end
The Cardinals put an emphasis on re-signing tight end Jermaine Gresham and as a result, may have drastically over-paid for him. He hasn’t had over 460 yards receiving since 2012, has seen his catch rate hover around 60% in each of the previous two seasons and hasn’t scored more than two touchdowns since 2014. Those are mediocre numbers at best for a player signed to a four-year, $28 million contract with $16.5 million guaranteed.
Atlanta Falcons – Brooks Reed, defensive end
Brooks Reed is not exactly a bad player — he’s a high-motor guy who plays a very defined role. Of course, when the Falcons signed him to a five-year, $22 million deal in 2015 they expected much more. Instead, what they’ve gotten for $9 million guaranteed is 42 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble in 28 games.
Baltimore Ravens – Joe Flacco, quarterback
When the Ravens signed Joe Flacco to a monstrous $120.6 million deal in 2013, many foresaw potential issues looming. However, at the time, Flacco was coming off of a magical postseason run that culminated with a Super Bowl XLVII victory. He had earned his money. But in 2016, facing a massive cap number, Baltimore was forced to extend Flacco with a three-year, $66.4 million deal. Now under contract through 2021, Flacco has cap hits above $24 million beginning next year and throughout the remainder of his deal, large dead cap numbers that render him uncuttable and guarantees that make him untradeable. Arguably, it’s the worst contract in the NFL.
- Allen Hurns, Brian Cushing, Brock Osweiler, Brooks Reed, Coby Fleener, DeAngelo Hall, Dre Kirkpatrick, Jabaal Sheard, Jermaine Gresham, Joe Flacco, Justin Houston, Logan Ryan, Luke Joeckel, Marcell Dareus, Marvin Jones, Matt Kalil, Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Glennon, Mo Wilkerson, Ndamukong Suh, Randall Cobb, Rhett Ellison, Riley Reiff, Robert Ayers, Russell Okung, Sean Smith, Stephon Gilmore, Tavon Austin, Tyrone Crawford, Vance McDonald, Vinny Curry
Former Vikings tight end Rhett Ellison signed with the Giants in free agency this week, and his father says the leadership in Minnesota is the reason his son and other players are choosing to leave town.
Riki Ellison, who was an NFL linebacker for 10 seasons and won three Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, ripped the Vikings in a tweet on Saturday.
exodus of their draft picks out of the Minnesota Vikings in free agency – with a new stadium, new facility – statement on toxic leadership
— Riki Ellison (@RikiEllison) March 12, 2017
As Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press noted, Riki Ellison also criticized the team in a Facebook post for the “mentality of physical practices” which he says resulted in “hurt players on the offensive line and burn out the desire of the defense to play hard.” He piled on even further in a phone interview with Tomasson.
“Do (free agents) think this program is going in the right direction and a Super Bowl contender or are they in a position to be another start-up, starting up from scratch?” Ellison asked. “That’s why you see your veterans are leaving because they have to look at the future. They should be able to retain anybody they want.
“There is something going on, from my perspective. Why would people be leaving a brand-new facility (U.S. Bank Stadium)? They got the best facility in the world. … That’s just not a normal thing to happen.”
The Vikings have yet to re-sign any of their own free agents, and Rhett Ellison is one of six players to leave so far this offseason. In his Facebook post, Riki Ellison said the team imploded during the bye week after starting out 5-0 last year. He added that offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s decision to leave in the middle of the season was a major “red-flag indicator.”
“Why would one of the best offensive coordinators walk out (after) they’re 5-0, and the best team in the NFL?” Riki Ellison wrote. “Something happened in that (bye) week.”
Turner’s decision to resign so abruptly was certainly a head-scratcher, and we know one of the best players in Vikings history is not feeling the love from the team. While Riki Ellison may be exaggerating a bit, his son spent five seasons in Minnesota and has a very good idea of what has been going on behind closed doors.
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- Rhett Ellison
Minnesota Vikings tight end Rhett Ellison was called for an unusual facemask penalty in overtime against the Chicago Bears on Sunday that wiped out a field goal and temporarily cost the Vikings a win.
The Vikings got the ball second in overtime after forcing a Bears punt, so a field goal would have won the game. Matt Cassel led them from their 22 to the Bears’ 21, and they set up for a 39-yard field goal. Kicker Blair Walsh made the kick, but the field goal was nullified by the penalty called on Ellison. Two plays later, they attempted a 57-yard field goal and missed.
The Bears got great field position after that miss and attempted a 47-yard field goal by Robbie Gould on second down, clearly thinking the kick would be a lock. But Gould missed, giving the Vikings the ball back and another chance to win the game. Minnesota eventually set up for another field goal and made it to finally win 23-20.
The fan reaction after that facemask penalty was great: