Most Overpaid Players of the 2014 NFL Season
Most Overpaid Players of the 2014 NFL Season
Not every NFL player produces in accordance to his paycheck. Here are several whose 2014 salary didn’t line up with their statistics.
Note: Comparisons based on base salary only, unless otherwise noted. Salary numbers courtesy of Spotrac.com.
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears
2014 salary: $17,500,000 or $972,222 per interception (18)
Not to kick a guy when he’s down, but the contract extension Cutler signed before the season now seems ill timed in a number of ways. Not only did he tie for the league lead in interceptions with 18 (along with six lost fumbles), but Cutler’s seven-year, $126.7 million deal also seems foolish in light of the more team-friendly pacts that Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton signed afterwards.
Instead, Cutler now has to weather the criticism and backlash that comes from being the NFL’s highest-paid player (in terms of overall contract) on a team that woefully underachieved. To make matters worse, Cutler’s future in Chicago appears tenuous with a rookie general manager in charge and a new head coach coming on board in the near future.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
2014 salary: $7,600,000 for one game played
Peterson’s case is certainly unique given the circumstances, but let’s not forget that while he was on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list he was still being paid. The league’s highest-paid running back, Peterson received his game checks up until Nov. 18, when he was suspended without pay.
While that decision cost him more than $4 million, he still made $7.6 million in base salary alone (also due $2.65 million in various bonuses), which isn’t too shabby considering he played in just one game.
Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts
2014 salary: $2,252,708 or $750,903 per touchdown (3)
Richardson’s base salary may not seem that outrageous at first glance. But when you factor in that only 13 running backs were paid more in 2014, Richardson averaged just 3.3 yards per carry with three touchdowns, and he has yet to play a single snap for the Colts in the playoffs, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2012 draft is starting to look like one of the biggest busts in recent history.
On top of all that, Richardson is scheduled to make $3.2 million in 2015 and don’t forget Indianapolis gave up a 2014 first-round pick to acquire him from Cleveland in the first place. See Browns fans, not everything has gone wrong these past few seasons.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
2014 salary: $8,235,294 for 0 touchdowns
The fact that Bowe went an entire season without catching a single touchdown is hard to fathom, but when you throw in his large salary (plus $3.25 million in bonuses) it makes it even harder to comprehend.
One of the highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL, Bowe certainly hasn’t performed accordingly. Since catching 15 TD passes in 2013, Bowe has recorded 13 in the last four seasons combined. And did I mention the $40 million remaining on his contract, which goes through 2017?
Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks/New York Jets
2014 salary: $6,470,588 or $3.2 million per team
Harvin played in eight games for the Jets compared to just five for the Seahawks, but you get the idea. I’m not sure what’s more telling – the fact that Seattle gave up on Harvin less than two seasons after trading three draft picks (including a first- and third-rounder) to get him or that he still has $41.5 million left on his contract, which goes through 2018.
Whoever ends up being the Jets’ next head coach, one of his jobs will be to try and squeeze more production out of his mercurial and often fragile yet highly compensated all-purpose threat.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers
2014 salary: $4,700,000 or $2,350,000 per touchdown
It’s bad enough that Davis’ receptions decreased by half (52 to 26) from 2013 to ’14, but to go from 13 touchdowns to just two? Davis did miss two full games and parts of others due to injuries, but his disappearance from the 49ers’ offense is hard to explain.
Whether a head-coaching change is the catalyst Davis needs to get back to his Pro Bowl form remains to be seen, but he needs to produce better numbers in 2015 to justify his $7 million cap hit (base salary $4.35 million) or he could be the next ex-49er looking for a new team.
Greg Hardy, DE, Carolina Panthers
2014 salary: $13,116,000 for one game played
Similar to Adrian Peterson, Hardy’s off-field issues resulted in him playing one game before being placed on the exempt list. Unlike Peterson, however, Hardy remained on the list the rest of the season (went on prior to Week 3 after being made inactive for Week 2), meaning he collected his entire salary. Hardy also pocketed another $48,000 as his playoff share for the Panthers’ Wild Card win.
Hardy signed a one-year deal after Carolina applied the franchise tag to him this past offseason, so he will be one of the more interesting players to watch when free agency commences in March.
Brian Orakpo, LB, Washington Redskins
2014 salary: $11,455,000 or $477,292 for every tackle (24)
Another franchise tag signee, Orakpo played in just seven games because of a torn pectoral muscle. It’s the second time in three seasons that Orakpo missed most of the year because of a torn pectoral (2 GP in 2012). But injuries aside, it's not like Orakpo did a lot this season when he was on the field.
In seven games, Orakpo, the NFL's highest-paid linebacker in terms of base salary, managed half a sack and 24 total tackles. He’s a pending free agent who didn’t make the best of impressions in his walk year.
Brandon Carr, CB, Dallas Cowboys
2014 salary: $7,500,000 for 0 interceptions
Granted a cornerback’s value can be tied more to just interceptions (see Richard Sherman), but in Carr’s case, some statistics can’t be ignored. In three seasons in a Cowboys uniform, Carr has recorded six interceptions. That number alone is enough to question why he’s the second-highest paid defensive back (base salary) in the NFL, but to go all of this season without picking off a single pass? And it’s not like quarterbacks were avoiding him (again, ala Sherman) in the first place.
On top of the $4.7 million in bonuses he made in 2014, Carr’s cap hit totals $26.5 million for the remaining two years on his deal. And he also has a $12.7 million player option (including signing bonus) for 2017.