NFL Salaries: 6 Overpaid Football Players

NFL Personnel

By Guest Writer James Quizon:

The criteria for an overpaid NFL Players list are actually oh-so-easy and oh-so-simple: get paid like an elite player and play like a scrub. Meaning if you have committed the crime of the century: earn an 8-figure pay-check and then produce real bad numbers then you will definitely make the list.

Sure, there are probably other NFL players that are even more hopeless or inept (say, Tim Tebow) but we have to consider the salary-to-performance ratio too. Tebow doesn’t quite fit the bill because he only had a $2.1M base salary last year and his contract with the New England Patriots is only about $1.4M. So really Tebow bashers, it’s not that bad.

Without further ado, here are six overpaid players entering the 2013-2014 NFL Season.

1.    Mario Williams (DE, Buffalo Bills)


Overpaid NFL Player Mario Williams

(Image source from Top Bet)

The Buffalo Bills locked down defensive end Mario Williams in the offseason of 2012 luring him away from the Houston Texans. The offer was a 6-year $96M contract that made him the highest-paid defensive player in the history of American Football!

All well and good if he delivered the hits, right? Well, let’s see. In his first year with the Bills, Williams registered 10. 5 sacks (18th in the league and 11th among DEs), 2 forced fumbles (38th) and a mediocre 37 tackles (28 solo)—definitely not worth the $12.4M cap hit the Bills got last season. Williams is due another $72M in the next four years.

Guess what, that’s not enough for Mario as he even sued his ex-girlfriend for a 785K ring!


2.    Gerald McCoy (DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Overpaid NFL Player Gerald McCoy (alt tag)

 The Bucs picked Gerald McCoy as the third overall pick in the 2010 Draft. So far, he’s not playing like a first round pick. And well, he missed 13 games in the last 3 years due to injuries and that does not help his stock at all.

Not surprisingly and going by raw numbers, he’s not even the top defensive player for Tampa Bay. Lavonte David, Mason Foster and Michael Bennett have had more impact than him last season. Bennett has since moved to Seattle as a free agent in the offseason so McCoy will have to be the #1 guy in the Bucs’ defensive line. McCoy is due around $10.9M this season and another $13.1M in 2014— two looong years if you’re a Bucs fan. And oh, let’s add insult to injury: linebackers David and Foster will earn a combined $1.9M next year or roughly 17% of what McCoy will be getting.

3.    Tony Romo (QB, Dallas Cowboys)


Overpaid NFL Player Tony Romo

Earlier this year, Tony Romo signed a 7-year extension with the Dallas Cowboys worth $119.5M. Here’s the year-by-year breakdown:

2013 – $11.8M

2014 – $21.7M

2015 – $25.2M

2016 – $15.1M

2017 – $19.0M

2018 – $19.5M

2018 – $20.5M

Now let’s take a look at his Quarterback Rating (and league rank) over the years:

2012 – 90.5 (11th in the league)

2011 – 102.5 (4th)

2010 – 94.9 (unranked, missed 10 games)

2009 – 96.2 (9th)

2008 – 91.4 (8th)

2007 – 95.2 (6th)

2006 – 94.7 (4th)

And here are the Cowboys’ win-loss cards in those years:

2012 – 8-8

2011 – 8-8

2010 – 6-10

2009 – 11-5 (made the postseason)

2008 – 9-7

2007 – 13-3 (made the postseason)

2006 – 9-7 (made the postseason)

The Cowboys made their decision that they will live and die with their “star” quarterback. Looking at Dallas’ success rate with Romo…it looks like we need to ready the funeral.

Whoever uploaded the video below most likely agrees with us:


4.    Darren McFadden (RB, Oakland Raiders)


Overpaid NFL Player Darren McFadden

 The 25-year-old running back signed a 6-year contract worth over $60M with the Raiders in 2008 and they expected him to be one of their franchise players. Expectations fell short as McFadden failed to become a legit game-changer with Oakland.

In the first 5 years of that contract, he has cracked the 1000-yards mark only once (1,157 in 2010) and he never had a complete 16-game season missing 23 of 80 games in his career. Oakland’s record in that stretch? As ugly as McFadden’s numbers: 30 wins against 50 losses. The good news for Raiders fans is that this season will be the final year in McFadden’s contract that pays him about $9.6M.

As Latrell Sprewell in the NBA said, “got to feed the family”. In McFadden’s case, his pit bulls:


5.    Mark Sanchez (QB, New York Jets)

Overpaid NFL Player Mark Sanchez

(Image source from ESPN)

 Welcome to Mark Sanchez’s world:

Sanchez’s QB Rating

2012 – 66.9 (32nd)

2011 – 78.2 (23rd)

2010 – 78.2 (24th)

2009 – 67.7 (27th)

But then, the Jets did chose to look away from those numbers and actually restructured his deal this offseason in a contract that will potentially give him around $54M the next four years (We’ll do the math for you: that averages to $13.5M per year.)

It’s not as if they were successful with him recently? Jets went 6-10 in 2012 and 8-8 in 2011 as Sanchez failed to improve.

And then there’s this:


6.    Michael Vick (QB, Philadelphia Eagles)


This season, Michael Vick will be in a real dogfight (pun intended) against Nick Foles for the Eagles’ starting quarterback spot and well, to remain significant in the NFL.

Vick remains one of the most polarizing figures of the sport and now on his 10th year in the league he continues to be a conundrum for most—will he ever get back to form when he was with the Atlanta Falcons? He had two relatively good runs with the Falcons leading them to the divisional round in 2003 after they upset the Green Bay Packers in the wildcard round; and then to an NFC Championship appearance in 2005. With Philly, he showed flashes of brilliance but struggled for the most part especially in the postseason.


The good news for the Eagles is that they were able to restructure Vick’s contract going into the new season. Still, Philly will take a cap hit of over $12M in what could be Vick’s final year with the team. 

There are certainly other overpaid players in the NFL and we could have compiled a larger list than just the six you see above but for the moment we thought we’d keep it neat and to the point. As long as we have Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez as part of the headliners among our Overpaid NFL Players list it’s safe to say we’ve compiled a goddamn accurate list. Agreed?



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