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Worst Contracts for Each AFC Team (2021)

(Image credit Charles Goldman/USA Today Sports)

Written by: Nicholas Mullick

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. In this article let's take a look at the worst contract in every team in the AFC conference. All of the Contract information was found on

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens - DE/EDGE Calais Campbell (2 years $25 million - Expires 2022)

This was a hard choice to make as Baltimore has been fantastic in managing their salary cap. But If I were to choose a bad contract on this team I would have to go with Calais Campbell. Now Calais Campbell in 2020 signed a 2-year contract worth 25 million dollars (20 Million Guaranteed). This is nothing against Campbell as he has been solid with the Ravens but I feel that the Ravens paid a little too much money for a guy past his prime and is on a notable decline. He also has not had double-digit sacks since 2018 with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He could rebound this season but has been impressive with the Baltimore Ravens. Overall though Kudos to former GM Ozzie Newsome and current Ravens GM Zach DeCosta for doing a good job managing their salary cap. It will be interesting how DeCosta will handle Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews' eventual contract extensions.

Cincinnati Bengals - CB Trae Waynes (3 years $42,000,000 - Expires 2023)

No question here when I heard that the Bengals had signed Trae Waynes during the 2020 offseason I thought it was going to be a one-year prove-it deal as he had an up and down tenure with the Minnesota Vikings. But when I heard the official contract I was completely shocked. This was a massive overpay for an inconsistent cornerback who is getting 15 Million guaranteed. Ever since signing his contract Waynes has dealt with injuries and was placed on the Covid-19 list. He did not even play during the 2020 season and he has been an injury bug this season as well as he has dealt with a nagging hamstring injury. Hopefully, Waynes can be healthy and show that he was worth the contract that was given to him. As of now though I have to label him as the worst contract currently on this team.

Cleveland Browns - Odell Beckham Jr. (5 years $90,000,000 - Expires 2024)

If you were to tell me 5 years ago that Odell Beckham would be a part of the Cleveland Browns I would have not believed you. Odell Beckham has not been terrible for the Browns but a big issue has been durability. Beckham has dealt with a ton of injuries and has never truly been the same since the 2017 season where he suffered a dislocated ankle. Yes, he did have two 1,000 yard seasons during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. But since his 2017 injury, he has never had more than 6 touchdowns or had over 77 receptions. He suffered a torn ACL during the 2020 season and I wonder how his durability will be long-term for the Cleveland Browns.

Pittsburgh Steelers - QB Ben Roethlisberger (1 year $14,000,000 - Expires 2022)

There is no question on who has the worst contract on this team. It is QB Ben Roethlisberger and it is not even close. Who thought it was a good idea to give him a massive extension to a quarterback who is suffering through massive decline and has huge injury risk. No surprise Big Ben has not worked out at all for this team and suffered a serious elbow injury and has not been the same player. While I have been outspoken against the Steelers at least this organization restructured his last contract and Converted $19.5M dollars into a signing bonus. Imagine if they didn't do this Ben would have been owed 41 million dollars this season thus completely putting them under the salary cap.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills - DT Vernon Butler (2 years $15,000,000 - Expires 2022)

I was never a big fan of Vernon Butler as if there was one word I would call him is inconsistent. There would be moments where he would look like a solid defensive player stopping runs and sacking the QB. But on other moments he would get completely dominated by an offensive lineman. His tenure with the Carolina Panthers was a flop and I was shocked that he got the contract that he did. My biggest issue with this contract is that he has 9.5 million dollars fully guaranteed. This is way too much for a player that has been inconsistent throughout his football career in the NFL. I debated putting Mitch Morse at this spot but he was dealing with minor injuries and he was solid last season when he was healthy. Morse also was better later in the season than he was at the beginning of the season. But overall I don't see a completely terrible contract on this team. As of now and great work to GM Brandon Beane as he has done a solid job managing the salary cap for the Buffalo Bills.

Miami Dolphins - CB Byron Jones (5 years) / $82,500,000 - Expires 2025)

Many will probably disagree with me on this but I think that Byron Jones is the worst contract that the Dolphins currently have on their roster. I like Byron Jones and I think he has been a solid signing with the Miami Dolphins but I feel that he was definitely an overpayment. Especially as he is currently guaranteed 54 million dollars which is a little too much to me. He has had moments of brilliance like his performance against the Kansas City Chiefs but he has had moments where he was poor in coverage and missed easy tackles. The Dolphins don’t have an absolutely terribly expensive contract on this team but for now, I will give the worst contract on the Dolphins to Byron Jones.

New England Patriots - WR Kendrick Bourne (3 years $15,000,000 - Expires 2024)

This was a signing that I never got during the latest offseason. I know the Patriots did need receiving help but Kendrick Bourne was terrible during his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers and the only reason he got over 600 yards was that every receiver was hit by the injury bug last season. This was a complete overpay in free agency and say what you want about Stephone Gilmore at least he has been a big part of this Patriots defense when he is on the field. He is still one of the best defensive players on this team. Kendrick Bourne, on the other hand, is not good and the Patriots overpaid him and guaranteed him 7.2 million dollars which is too much in my opinion. Overall I don't hate the contracts currently on the Patriots for now but as of now, Kendrick Bourne has the worst contract currently on the team.

New York Jets - LB CJ Mosley (5 years $85,000,000 - Expires 2025)

No question with this one. Mainly due to bad luck as in CJ Mosley’s first game with the Jets, He tore his ACL and was done for the 2019 season. Jets fans hoped CJ Mosley would play and look like his old self but unfortunately, the pandemic hit and he made the decision to opt-out of the 2020 NFL Season. Again this is a total big bad luck for the New York Jets. Hopefully, CJ Mosley will have a strong season and play up to his contract this season and so far he has done alright this season. The Jets can’t move on from him until 2023 at the earliest so the Jets will have this contract for at least a few years.

AFC South

Houston Texans - QB Deshaun Watson (4 years $156,000,000 - Expires 2026)

Never in a million years would I think Deshaun Watson would have the worst contract on this team but here we are. This is not due to the on the field as Watson is still in his prime and can still perform well for this team. He has the worst contract due to the off-the-field issues. He has requested to be traded from this organization as he was upset about the GM and Head Coach that was hired from this team. Not only is he guaranteed 110 million dollars but he has a no-trade clause in his contract. So it is going to be hard to trade without it being approved by him. To make it worse now he has multiple sexual assault allegations against him. This organization is willing to pay him to not play this season. Now I don’t know what happens with Watson but I doubt that he will ever play for the Texans ever again or this season at all.

Indianapolis Colts - QB Carson Wentz (4 years $128,000,000 - Expires 2025)

This is a real shame to me because I had a lot of hope that Carson Wentz would be better in a new environment. So far he has not worked out in Indianapolis and once again he has dealt with the injury bug. It still has amazed me how Carson Wentz managed to injure both of his ankles. But with the injuries that keep occurring with Carson Wentz. His contract has become extremely risky to have on a team's Payroll. Especially when he is guaranteed 108 million dollars. It just stinks because without Carson Wentz I don’t see how the Philadelphia Eagles even win the Super Bowl as Wentz got the team to the playoffs but suffered a Torn ACL. Wentz has never been the same and His contract is easily the worst one that the Indianapolis Colts have to deal with.

Jacksonville Jaguars - OL Andrew Norwell (5 years $66,500,000 - Expires 2023)

The Jaguars are in full rebuild mode right now and a big issue with the first few Jaguar games is how bad their offensive line is. One player that has regressed this season is Andrew Norwell. He has struggled this season protecting Trevor Lawrence and has struggled to open holes for James Robinson and Carlos Hyde to run through. He is the man that is being paid the most out of the entire roster and I would not be surprised if the Jaguars decide to release him at the end of the season to add more money to their salary cap. Especially as he is getting older and the Jags might want to get younger for their o-line.

Tennessee Titans - WR Julio Jones (3 years $66,000,000 - Expires 2024)

Look I like Julio Jones and I am glad that he is free from the Atlanta Falcons but the Titans traded away too much in order to acquire a declining Julio Jones who is making way too much money. Especially with the guaranteed money as he is guaranteed 64 million dollars through his entire contract. Julio is no longer in his prime and will most likely be declining and he is already dealing with injuries as he could be out this week against the New York Jets with a Leg injury. Hopefully, he doesn't but as of now Julio Jones currently has the worst contract on the Titans mainly due to the guaranteed amount he is owed.

AFC West

Denver Broncos - DT Shelby Harris (3 years $27,000,000 - Expires 2024)

Shelby Harris has been okay on this defensive line and has continued to be signed to multiple 1-year extensions and the most he got was 3.25 million dollars. The issue now is that the Broncos decided to overpay to keep him here. I don't think he is worth the contract that he was given and he is also guaranteed 15 million dollars in this deal. He has been inconsistent as a run stopper and when he provides pressure to the quarterback. I debated putting Von Miller at this spot as he is getting paid way too much money and there is injury risk with him as he missed the 2020 season due to injury but he doesn't have too long left on his contract and has a ton of value on this team as a leader on defense. Overall I don't think that the Broncos have an extremely terrible contract on this team and they did a solid job renegotiating some contracts on this team and getting rid of o-lineman Ja'Wuan James.

Kansas City Chiefs - DE/EDGE Frank Clark (5 years $104,000,000 - Expires 2024)

The Chiefs had no choice in this scenario as they had to pay Frank Clark after the team paid a high price for Frank Clark including a 1st round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He had a big impact on the Chiefs since he was acquired and was signed to an extension. Ever since signing this contract, Frank Clark has not been the same player he was since the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl 54. He has dealt with injuries and off-the-field issues. Fun Fact ever since Clark left Seattle he has never hit double-digit sacks. He has lacked the production that is needed in order to justify this contract. Once Patrick Mahomes Gigantic's 500 Million dollar contract hits the Chiefs will be in a big cap crunch and I won't be surprised if the Chiefs decide to get rid of Frank Clark if he continues to underperform.

Las Vegas Raiders - DE/EDGE Clelin Ferell (4 years $31,360,816 - Expires 2024)

The Raiders took Clelin Ferrell 4th overall during the 2019 NFL Draft. He has not worked for this team at all. He has mainly been mediocre and inconsistent during his time with the Raiders. He has not been terrible but he has shown flashes that he can be a player in this league. The problem with Ferell also involves his durability as he has missed games due to injuries and being placed on the Covid-19 list. I would not call him a bust yet as he still has another season to prove himself. But as of now his contract that he received being a 4th overall pick has been absolutely terrible, easily the worst on this team. Did you know Ferrell is making more money than Darren Waller, Corey Littleton, Yannik Ngakoue, Quinton Jefferson, and Casey Hayward?

Los Angeles Chargers - CB Chris Harris Jr (2 years $17,000,000 - Expires 2022)

The Los Angeles Chargers don’t have a ton of bad contracts on this team but the one contract that stood out to me that has not worked out is Chris Harris Jr. Chris Harris is one of the most underrated players on the Denver Broncos defense during their Superbowl 48 and 50 games the Broncos played in. The Broncos made the decision to get younger on the defense and start to rebuild and decided to not re-sign him. So Chris Harris decided to sign with the Los Angeles Chargers and he has not worked out with the team. Why? Well, simple injuries and he dealt with a foot injury that has taken him out during a chunk of the 2020 season. He still has not played this season as well as he is dealing with a shoulder injury. Even when he is healthy Harris has struggled playing with the team. I doubt the Chargers re-sign him once his contract is up but as of now, the Chargers have done a solid job handling their salary cap.


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