When an NFL team awards a player with a lengthy contract that pays them a disgusting amount of money, it is usually based on the potential that the team places on the player’s future in the league.
As teams prepare to construct their rosters for the 2017 season, who are some of the league’s highest paid players?
6. Torrey Smith – wide receiver, San Francisco 49ers
2017 salary: $9.475 million
Heading into the 2015 offseason, Smith was coming off a year in which he caught a career high 11 touchdowns. The 49ers were in need of some better production from their wide receivers and were able to land Smith in free agency after agreeing to a five-year, $40,000 million contract.
Two years later, the wide receiver has not even totaled (yes totaled) 55 catches, 1,000 recieving yards, or 8 touchdowns during his time in San Francisco. His lack of production cannot even really be blamed on injuries either as Smith has only missed four of his 32 games with the 49ers.
5. Mario Williams – defensive end, Miami Dolphins
2017 salary: $10.5 million
After a disappointing 2015 season with the Buffalo Bills, Williams was eventually cut but the team and became a free-agent in 2016. The Dolphins obviously thought that the defensive end still had the ability to play like the guy who had double-digit sacks during each season from 2012 to 2014 and signed him to a two-year, $17 million contract during the 2016 offseason.
Despite playing in 13 games last year for Miami, Williams only started in five of them. His 1.5 sacks and nine solo tackles in 2016 were also the worst single-season totals of the defensive end’s 11-year NFL career. There have a been a few rumors stirring around that the Dolphins will be releasing Williams this offseason and that seems like a brilliant choice to make.
4. Brock Osweiler – quarterback, Houston Texans
2017 salary: $19 million
Grab ahold of something tight and prepare yourself to what is about to be written. Osweiler is currently scheduled to make more money in 2017 than Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, and Tom Brady.
During his first season as a full-time starting quarterback, it could not have gone much worse for the 26-year-old Osweiler. In 15 games with the Texans last year, the quarterback completed less than 60 percent of his passes for just 2,957 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions.
Quarterbacks who make the type of money that Osweiler does normally do not get benched for the final two games of a season when their team is still in the midst of a playoff hunt. But that is exactly what happened to the Texans’ signal caller after the team was tired of his constant struggles in 2016.
3. Darrelle Revis – cornerback, New York Jets
2017 salary: $15.33 million
After 10 seasons in the NFL, it seems as though Revis is heading into the final few years of his football career. Formerly known as the top cover corner in the league, that title no longer belongs to the Jets’ defensive back.
In 2016, he allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a rating of 104.2 when throwing passes to the receivers Revis was covering. Quite the increase from the 60.4 rating he has allowed over the entirety of his career.
It seems as though “Revis Island” is no longer the scary destination that quarterbacks once did their best to avoid.
2. Adrian Peterson – running back, Minnesota Vikings
2017 salary: $18 million
Injuries derailed Peterson’s chance to have a successful 2016 season. But even if he were able to put up decent numbers last year, he would still be considered overpaid due to the position group that he is a part of.
LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills is expected to make almost $10 million less in 2017 and his salary is currently the second highest among running backs for next season. Given that he will be turning 32-years-old in less than a month, Peterson’s window of being one of the league’s best backs is no longer in existence.
1. Justin Houston – linebacker, Kansas City Chiefs
2017 salary: $22.1 million
In the two seasons since, the linebacker has missed 16 of Kansas City’s 32 games while averaging just under six sacks per year. Definitely not stats worthy for someone who is scheduled to be the NFL’s highest paid player on defense in 2017.