Image Credit: (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
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 NFC conference for 2022. All of the Contract information was found on Spotrac.com
Chicago Bears - DE/EDGE Robert Quinn (5 years, $70,000,000 Expires 2025)
Has to be Robert Quinn as many forget the Bears did blow it up last season and got rid of a lot of their bad contracts. One contract they tried getting rid of, but failed to do so is DE/EDGE Robert Quinn. Now I think Quinn is a solid player, but Quinn is 32 years old and this season especially he is showing signs of decline. With the Bears rebuilding, the Bears will try to get out of Quinn’s contract as it is clearly the worst on the team.
Detroit Lions - OG/OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (5 years, $45,000,000 Expires 2025)
It was either Halapoulivaati Vaitai or Jared Goff and since Goff is having a good season this year, I have to go with Vaitai’s contract being the worst. He has not fit well in Dan Campbell’s offense and is currently dealing with a back injury. I keep saying this, but back injuries are no joke at all and even if he returns this season he will not perform that well. Detroit will still need another year to be ready for a playoff spot and I won’t be shocked if the Lions part ways with him.
Green Bay Packers - OT David Bakhtiari (4 years 92,000,000 Expires 2025)
Now look, I think when healthy Bakhtiari is a Top 5 tackle in the NFL. But ever since signing that contract, he just has not been able to stay healthy and he has always had setbacks with his knee injury. The question now surrounding David Bakhtiari is if he is ever going to play another down for Green Bay? I swear since signing this large question he has only played in I believe 3 games. I looked it up and it has been almost 2 years since he tore his ACL and he has not played at all. Yes he played in that game against Detroit last year in the season finale, but ever since he has disappeared. Bakhtiari’s contacts gets worse and worse the more he is not on the field and if he does not perform like the old David Bakhtiari, then it would not surprise me if the Packers either part ways with him, or utilize an Oswieler effect move to get out of his contract. Luckily he now has finally played for the Packers, but I still am not sure if he will play like he did when healthy. Time will tell, but for now this contract is bad for the Packers.
Minnesota Vikings - QB Kirk Cousins (1 year 35,000,000 Expires 2024)
It still makes no sense why the Vikings keep giving fully guaranteed contracts to Kirk Cousins. It is obvious that he is not the guy at QB for the team and It is going to be time for the Vikings to rebuild as it is clear they are not going to win with this core. Now Cousins has not been horrendous with the team, but he is not worth the amount of money he is being paid by the Vikings. He has been a big anchor to the Vikings cap space and hopefully this will be the last fully guaranteed deal for the team to give to Kirk Cousins.
Dallas Cowboys - RB Ezekiel Elliot (6 years / $90,000,000 Expires in 2027)
No questions here as to who on the Cowboys has the worst contract. Now Elliot has not been a liability this year, but signs are already showing of his decline. Also the length of this contract is just absolutely ridiculous. I still doubt Elliot will make this contract as Tony Pollard is starting to gain traction as he overall is a better running back. Problem is Pollard is being missed thanks to Mike McCarthey. But Elliot will suffer massive levels of regression and this contract will be a bigger albatross.
New York Giants - WR Kenny Golladay (4 years 72,000,000 Expires 2025)
Oh dear where do we begin with the New York Giants. There is still a chunk of bad contracts on this team, but the worst is clearly WR Kenny Goliday. Even looking back, giving this contract to Golladay made little sense due to his durability concerns. I mean he was great in Detroit when healthy, but since getting paid he has not been great. In 2021 he looked lost in that offense and only caught 37 passes for 521 yards. He has not even gotten a single touchdown as a New York Giant. Even in 2022 there was uncertainty of how large his role was going to be during the preseason. During the Preseason finale of course many fans wanted him cut as he performed really lazy in that game. Now of course that was not going to happen due to his awful contract, but it is clear he is likely out of the Giants once they can afford to get out of his awful contract
Philadelphia Eagles - OT Andre Dillard (4 years 12,370,584 Expires in 2025)
Definitely a tougher one as last year with Lane Johnson the Eagles restructured his deal and is a lot more healthier this season. In fact the Eagles did a great job restructuring their deals that it was tougher to make a pick. One offensive lineman who has not stayed healthy or worked out since acquiring him is OT Andre Dillard. He has been a complete disaster since he was selected 22nd overall in the 2019 NFL draft and one reason why is that he can’t stay healthy. Even when healthy he has struggled a lot through his career as an Eagle. It does not look like Dillard will be an Eagle in 2023.
Washington Commanders - QB Carson Wentz (4 years, 128,000,000 Expires 2025)
Ahhh the Commanders and bad contracts. It is almost like tradition for the Commanders to sign bad contracts. Well let's have a twist and have the commanders trade for a bad contract in QB Carson Wentz. Come on everybody knew that Wentz was going to be the one here, the guy probably has the worst contract in the NFL today. Just ask Indianapolis as they were about to eat dead cap to no longer have Wentz on the team. He can barely stay healthy and he just has not been the same since tearing his ACL.
Atlanta Falcons - None
This one is a bit of a tougher one as I really don’t think Atlanta has a horrendous contract on the team. Especially as they did blow it up last offseason and in rebuild mode. I was going to go with LB Deion Jones, but he got traded to the Cleveland Browns. I debated putting Calvin Ridley here as he is suspended for the year, but I decided not to. So you know what I have decided to not include a contract for the Atlanta Falcons. Which I thought I would never say a year ago, but not having an overall bad contract is a good thing for a team rebuilding. I wish the Falcons luck on their rebuild and break the 28-3 curse.
Carolina Panthers - QB Sam Darnold (4 years, 30,247,715 Expires in 2023)
I really wish this was never the case as I was a big Sam Darnold fan in his USC and I wanted him to succeed after the New York Jets ruined him during the Adam Gase years. However it just has not worked at all with Darnold in Carolina. The Panthers even acquired Baker Mayfield via trade and don’t see him as the long term starter. The Panthers claimed his 5th year option and are paying him 18.8 million dollars and he has not been active once this season due to his injury. Clearly the worst contract on the team goes to Darnold.
New Orleans Saints - WR Michael Thomas (5 years 96,250,000 Expires 2025)
I really don't want to put Michael Thomas here as I picked him to be the comeback player for this season, but I have to. He has not been able to stay healthy and has had constant ankle injuries. In fact his ankle issues took him out the entire 2021 NFL Season. He looked solid the first few weeks of the season, but now he is dealing with a foot/ankle injury and has not played since week 3. Even though it has not been a big problem lately, he has had off the field issues where he has been a locker room cancer. When healthy Thomas is a fantastic player, but due to the durability issues and the amount he is getting paid, he clearly has the worst contract on the team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - WR Ressell Gage (3 years 30,000,000 Expires 2025)
I don’t overall hate the contracts that the Buccaneers are paying as it is Super Bowl or bust as long as Tom Brady is still playing at QB. The one contract that I was not of fan of during the offseason is Russell Gage. Now I am not calling Russell Gage a terrible player, but a lot of games he performed well in Atlanta were mainly during garbage time. He also has not been the most consistent player as one game he will have a great game and in the next game he will either barely contribute or have a minimal performance. His cap hit also is going to be an issue next year if Brady does retire. In 2023 and 2024 Gage’s cap hit is 12.1 million dollars per year. Hopefully he will be more consistent and have great performances.
Arizona Cardinals - C Rodney Hudson (3 years 30,000,000 Expires 2024)
There are many choices for an awful contract in Arizona right now. I have decided to choose Rodney Hudson on this list. Now I have said many times that the Cardinals offensive line is terrible and while Hudson to me is there best o-lineman. He also has struggled this season and has been dealing with multiple injuries to his ribs, shoulders, and now he is dealing with a knee injury. It also hurts that Hudson might not finish this contract as he contemplated retirement during last offseason. Even if he plays, his dead cap next year is 11 million dollars and at that point he might be at the point of regressing a lot. Plus maybe the Cardinals may get rid of older players if Kingsbury is out of a job at the end of the season.
Los Angeles Rams - QB Matthew Stafford (4 years 160,000,000 Expires 2027)
Look there is no denying how talented Stafford is and I am glad that he finally got a ring after it being years of him being wasted in Detroit. However, with his elbow issue being worse than it is, I wonder if Stafford will be the same QB long term. As of now he has already started showing signs of decline and to me it is clear Stafford is having difficulty throwing the football. If his elbow injury gets worse and he continues to decline then the extension the Rams signed him too only looks worse.
San Francisco 49ers - CB Emannuel Mosley (2 years 9,384,000, Expires 2023)
It is very tough to choose a bad contract on the 49ers. Now look, I think Mosley is an excellent player and when healthy is a good cornerback. Keyword is when healthy as since signing that contract injuries have affected his play. In 2021 he dealt with a nagging Ankle/Knee Injury; that even took him out of a few games. Now he suffered a Torn ACL that will take him out of the 2022 NFL Season. Resigning him has not gone to plan and he is for now the worst contract on the team. At least Mosley might be a bit cheaper when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Seattle Seahawks - S Jamal Adams (4 years, 70,580,000 Expires 2026)
I think it is safe to say that the Seahawks regret making that trade with the New York Jets to acquire Jamal Adams. Ever since the Seahawks have acquired Adams, he suffered a ton of injuries and massive levels of regression. But due to the fact that Seattle traded a ton of draft capital for him, they had to give him a new contract as they had no leverage whatsoever. He has not worked out and is a poor fit on this defense. As of now he suffered a Torn Quad that is likely going to take him out for the rest of the season. He is clearly the worst contract on the team and is unlikely going to be on this team in the long term.