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AFC Worst Contract For Each Team 2022


Image Credit: (Nathan Ray Seeback/USA Today Sports)


Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/

Twitter: @nicholasmullick


In the NFL many teams pay top dollar in order to get the best free agents in order to play on their team. No matter how successful a team is there will be some terrible contracts that they have to deal with when managing their salary cap. I did an article like this last season, so I thought why not do it again and take a look at the worst contract of every team in the AFC conference for 2022. All of the Contract information was found on Spotrac.com


AFC North


Baltimore Ravens - OT Ju’Wan James (2 years 4,575,000, Expires 2023)


Baltimore really does not have a completely awful contract on the team as of now. However I have to go with Ju’Wan James if I need to choose one. Mainly because his cap hit is at 3 million dollars and he has only played 1 game during his time with the Ravens. This is nothing against James as I have never heard a bad thing said about the guy, but he just can’t stay healthy. Remember in Denver where he tore his achilles while being away from the facility and had to forfeit a chunk of his money. That absolutely sucks and luckily when he got released Baltimore signed him and stashed him in 2021. 2022 was supposed to be the year that he contributes, but he yet again tore his achilles and is on IR. It really stinks and I hope James can one day play again. For now though has the worst contract on the team.


Cincinnati Bengals - OT La’el Collins (​​3 years 21,000,000, Expires 2025)


Tough choice, but for now I have to go with La’el Collins. Especially as he has struggled since joining the Bengals and yes I know it maybe early, but I don’t think the Bengals have a brutal contract on this team. Collins currently has a cap hit of 4.66 million dollars and he is not performing to his contract. According to PFF.com he is the 65th rank tackle out of 72 eligible tackles. Which is not good at all and if he does not improve it would not be surprising to see the Bengals get out of his contract.


Cleveland Browns - QB Deshaun Watson (​​5 years $230,000,000 Expires 2027)


No Question here. Ok say what you want about Watson, but who seriously thought it was a good idea to sign Watson to a fully guaranteed contract. Look at how it wrecked the Vikings salary cap for years, this is going to be 10 times worse. Who knows how well Deshaun will play after not playing football for multiple weeks as he is going to be extremely rusty. If he does not play like Old Deshaun, then this will be one of the worst contracts in the NFL. For now it is a big question mark, but easily the worst contact the Browns have now.


Pittsburgh Steelers - FB Derek Watt (3 years 9,750,000 Expires 2023)


It is a lot harder to choose an awful contract on this team now that Big Ben is finally gone. Again like I keep saying 2 years too late, but hey he is finally gone and it makes it harder choosing the worst contract on the team. I have to go with a player this team barely uses and still pays and that player is Derek Watt. This is nothing on Derek as when on the field he is decent, but the Steelers just barely use him and he is getting paid way too much. I doubt Pittsburgh brings him back unless Watt takes a pay cut.


AFC East


Buffalo Bills - DE/EDGE Von Miller (6 years 120,000,000 - Expires 2028)


Look, don't get mad at me as Von Miller was one of my favorite players during his time in Denver. I think he will be a solid player for a year or two, but the contract Buffalo gave him is for way too much and too long. Especially for someone who will suffer decline in a few years and just looking at his cap hit the entire contract just terrifies me on a potential cap issue in a few years. In 2022 his cap hit is 5.1 Million, 2023 18.7 Million, 2024 21.2 Million, 2025 21.2, 2026 23.7 Million, and 2027 30 Million. When Miller’s contract ends he will be 39 years old. For the short term it is a must as it is Superbowl or bust for the Bills and Von Miller might be the final piece on this defense. However it is clear to me that out of the contracts on the Buffalo Bills, Von Miller’s is the worst.


Miami Dolphins - WR Cedrick Wilson (3 years 22,050,000 Expires 2025)


Tough choice as there are a ton of new large contracts Miami signed during last offseason. If I have to choose one contract in Miami that is the worst I got to go with Cedrick Wilson. The Wilson contract was a bit of an over pay for Wilson as he really only had one good year in Dallas. Ever since signing that contract Wilson has done a whole lot of nothing for the Dolphins. He only has had 4 catches for 40 yards this season. He has not performed well and especially with the cap hit he has now at 5.7 million this year. In 2023 his cap hit is 8 million and for 2024 it is 8.3 million dollars. Hopefully Wilson can perform better later in the season, but for now he currently has the worst contract on the team.


New England Patriots - TE Jonnu Smith (4 years 50,000,000 - Expires 2025)


I debated between Hunter Henry or Jonnu Smith, but when healthy Henry is more consistent. Jonnu Smith has had troubles with durability and when it comes to on the field he has not been performing well. He has struggled blicking and lacks consistency as some games he is a liability and other games where he is decent. It is also strange how the Patriots are using him as well, then again the Patriots have two terrible coaches in Matt Patricia and Joe Judge running this offense. With a cap hit of 8.3 Million in 2022, 17.4 million in 2023, and 18.4 million in 2024, Smith's contract gets worse and worse at the level he is performing now.


New York Jets - WR Corey Davis (3 years 37,500,000 - Expires 2024)


Compared to last year this was a bit of a harder choice due to CJ Mosley finally being healthy and playing for the Jets. Plus the Jets restructured his contract, so I am ruling him out compared to last year. For now, I have to go with WR Corey Davis. Although he had a decent 1st year with the Jets catching 34 passes for 492 yards along with 4 touchdowns. However he only played in 9 games due to an injury. Throughout his career he has dealt with durability issues and the last season he has been healthy and played an entire season was in 2018. Hopefully Davis can perform better this season, but what he is being paid now, he is definitely a bad contract.


AFC South


Houston Texans: WR Brandon Cooks 2 years 39,764,000 - Expires 2025)


Look I don’t think Brandon Cooks is terrible and has a ton of talent, but it is clear that he is not the future of the Texans. However he did sign a two year extension and his cap hit for 2023 is 26.6 million and in 2024 24.6 million dollars which is ridiculously high for a player turning 30 and having durability issues that follow him. Besides that the Texans don’t have a completely awful contract on the team. Cooks has the potential to be awful cap anchor on a team that could use cap space for there rebuild. I hope that does not happen as when healthy Cooks is a good receiver. I still wonder why Jack Easterby is still a part of that organization, though?


Indianapolis Colts - QB Matt Ryan (5 years 150,000,000 - Expires 2024)


Is there really any debate with this one? Matt Ryan looks completely cooked as the QB of the Indianapolis Colts and is getting paid a lot of money. His cap hit this year is 18.7 million dollars and since he has another year left on his deal Ryan’s cap hit is 33.2 million dollars. Yeah that is a big Yikes and it grows with every bad performance he has had with the team. If Ryan retires, which seems likely his dead cap hit will be 18 million dollars. I will just end this with a question, What if Andrew Luck never retired?


Jacksonville Jaguars - WR Christian Kirk (4 years 72,000,000 - Expires 2026)


Even though Kirk has been decent so far, I can’t ignore the overpay that the Jaguars made on Kirk during free agency last offseason. I called Kirk’s deal “the big one” and “the signing that broke the league”, as it caused a chain reaction where every recovered player wanted a pay upgrade. The Jaguars could have easily given Kirk 10 million dollars less. Trent Baalke better be right about this deal as it was a head scratcher when it was revealed. However I kind of like what the team is doing and maybe Baalke might be on with his moves. I do hope Kirk can produce like a Top receiver in the league to justify that contract.


Tennessee Titans - QB Ryan Tannehill (4 years 118,000,000 - Expires 2024)


If this was a year ago I probably would have gotten a ton of hate as Tannehill has performed well during his time with Titans. Well this season is the opposite as he looks like a shell of his former self and has suffered massive regression this year. He currently has a cap hit of 38.6 million which is the most in the league and holds a 27 million non guarantee in 2023. He clearly has the worst deal on the team now and it hurts knowing that Tanehill also is not the long term future for the Titans. Remember, they drafted Malik Willis in the 3rd round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Titans could easily look to try and get out of his contract whenever they can.


AFC West


Denver Broncos - QB Russell Wilson ​​(5 years 242,588,236 - Expires 2029)


Yikes, maybe the Broncos should have waited to pay Russell Wison after he finished his first season. He has not looked great at all through the first few games in his Denver Broncos tenure. It is clear that Wilson has suffered massive levels of regression and is now dealing with a shoulder injury that might be long term. When someone has to get an injection just so they can play, that is not a good sign. Maybe once the Broncos get rid of Nathanial Hackett (Who is likely one and done after this season) he could do better, but if this season is a sign to come, this may turn into the worst contract in the AFC.


Kansas City Chiefs - DE/EDGE Frank Clark (2 years 30,175,000 - Expires 2024)


With the Chiefs being in a cap crunch, out of all the contracts It has to be Frank Clark. Especially as he has just not been the same since Superbowl 54. Not only has he had off the field issues, but he has durability concerns that have clearly affected the way he plays. Even when healthy he has struggled to perform well this season. He clearly is not worth the amount of money that the Chiefs are being paid. With QB Patric Mahomes' Gigantic contract kicking in the Cheifs are going to need to cap crunch. Clark’s contract does not help with that and nobody should be shocked if Clark is gone once this season is over.

Las Vegas Raiders - DE/EDGE Clelin Ferrell (4 year, $31,360,816 - Expires 2023)


Ferrell has been a disaster since the Raiders drafted him 4th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. This was an easy choice as although his contract expires at the end of the year he has a cap hit of 9.9 million dollars, the 3rd most on the team. The Raiders don’t have a worse contract excluding Ferrell as of now. It does not look like the Raiders will be extending him at the end of the season. To be honest it is for the best for both parties.


Los Angeles Chargers - CB J.C. Jackson (5 years 82,500,000 - Expires 2027)


It may be early, but I have to go with CB J.C. Jackson here. I was not really a big fan of the deal the moment it was signed during free agency. In New England he was a fine secondary piece, but at the contract he currently is paid where his cap hit will be 8 Million in 2022, 17 Million in 2023, 19.3 Million in 2024, 19 Million in 2025, and 19.1 Million in 2026 that is a bit much for Jackson. He already is dealing with durability issues and has struggled to adapt to the Chargers defense. Jackson has been burned multiple times as well in coverage. Hopefully he can improve, but as of now he clearly has the worst contract on the team.


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