Kirk Cousins

8 Worst Contracts in the NFL Right Now

Cover Photo: Getty Images 

The NFL's free-agency period is often an exercise in futility. The same teams always seem to make big splashes, and it often comes back to bite them.

When you really think about it, this makes sense. The truly elite NFL players rarely hit free agency because their teams simply won't let that happen. For example, Kirk Cousins was the best quarterback to enter the free-agent market since Peyton Manning in 2012, who was only available because of a potentially career-ending neck injury.

As a result, NFL teams are often forced to overpay for players once they hit the open market in order to secure their services. With that said, let's take a look at the eight worst contracts in the NFL right now.

8. Cameron Meredith, WR, New Orleans Saints

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The New Orleans Saints acquired Cameron Meredith after a breakout 2016 campaign with the Chicago Bears. Meredith signed a 2-year, $9.5-million contract with the Saints in 2018, but he's only played six games for New Orleans since then, tallying just nine receptions. For the ninth-highest-paid player on the team, that just won't cut it.

7. Trent Brown, OT, Oakland Raiders,

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Trent Brown signed a 4-year, $66-million contract with the Oakland Raiders this offseason, making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history. Brown is a serviceable player, but he was only rated as the 32nd-best tackle this season, according to Pro Football Focus. Making a decent tackle the highest-paid player at his position just doesn't seem like a reliable way to build a team.

6. Sammy Watkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

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Similarly, Sammy Watkins is another decent player who is getting massively overpaid. That's not to say Watkins isn't valuable when he's on the field. He's an excellent deep threat and takes attention off of the Kansas City Chiefs' other playmakers, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. But Watkins signed a 3-year, $48-million contract with Kansas City last season, and he only delivered 519 yards and three touchdowns. That's not what you want to pay for a decoy.

5. Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Cameron Brate is a reliable player, but he's one of the highest-paid tight ends in the league. He's not even the best tight end on his own team. Brate signed a 6-year deal worth $40.8 million, yet he only tallied 30 catches for 289 yards this past season. Playing Brate often forces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to shy away from O.J. Howard, and allocating that much money to the tight end position isn't a good use of resources, especially for a team with as many holes as the Buccaneers do.

4. Trumaine Johnson, CB, New York Jets

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You'd think Trumaine Johnson would be somewhat of a cautionary tale for the New York Jets, but they doubled down and handed out a few massive deals this offseason. Johnson signed a 5-year, $72.5-million contract with the Jets, and he already looks like a massive bust just one season into the pact.

3. Matt Kalil, OT, Carolina Panthers

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The Matt Kalil contract was perplexing, to say the least, when the Carolina Panthers and then-GM Dave Gettleman signed him in 2017 – and this deal certainly isn't aging well. Kalil's deal is worth $55.5 million over five years, but he missed the entire 2018-19 season, and was only rated the 69th best tackle in 2017-18, according to Pro Football Focus. 

2. Alex Smith, QB, Washington Redskins

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This one is tough to stomach as Alex Smith is on this list through no fault of his own. Smith's career with the Redskins was off to a strong start, but he suffered a gruesome leg injury in Week 11, which has put his NFL career in jeopardy. Washington shelled out a 4-year, $94-million contract for Smith last offseason, and if he can't return to the field, or never becomes the player he once was, it'll be one of the worst contracts in the sport.

1. Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings

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So far, the Kirk Cousins experiment in Minnesota has been a disappointment. Cousins signed a unique contract worth $84 million over three years, with every penny of it guaranteed. The Minnesota Vikings thought Cousins would take them over the top, but they regressed in his first year with the team. Cousins was fine statistically, but he only led the Vikings to an 8-7-1 record. Unless he turns it around in year two, the Cousins' contract is probably the worst in football right now.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.