A lot of NFL players just got paid a lot of money in free agency, and a lot of mistakes were made.
That’s nothing new. NFL teams have been overpaying talented players in hopes of hitting the jackpot for decades, although the price tags have really skyrocketed in recent years.
With that in mind, here’s a look at 10 particular players who have made a ridiculous amount of money with very limited returns on their teams’ investments.
QB Matthew Stafford ($211 million): The ninth-highest-paid player in NFL history has one Pro Bowl nod in 11 seasons, and the Detroit Lions have yet to win a single playoff game with him under center. There’s still time for the 32-year-old, but he hasn’t been worth close to a quarter-billion dollars so far.
QB Alex Smith ($161 million): Smith has at least earned three Pro Bowl honors in 13 pro seasons, but he’s been a starting quarterback in just two playoff games since coming into the league as the top pick of the 2005 draft.
QB Sam Bradford ($130 million): The last top pick to strike gold before the rookie wage scale kicked in earned $3.8 million for every one of his 34 career victories. He never even appeared in a playoff game in an abysmal career that took him to four cities in nine years.
QB Andy Dalton ($84 million): The 32-year-old has lost all four of his playoff starts for the Cincinnati Bengals. He has one touchdown pass and six interceptions in those games.
QB Mark Sanchez ($74 million): The 2009 No. 5 overall pick was at least part of a couple of playoff run with the New York Jets, but he won just 37 of his 73 career starts, and threw more interceptions than touchdown passes.
CB Trumaine Johnson ($69 million): The only defensive player on this list has never been a Pro Bowler, but he landed a couple of franchise tags before getting a huge long-term contract from the Jets. And he’s not done yet.
QB Matt Cassel ($64 million): The journeyman made a lot of money on two decent seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots early in his career. He won just 36 of his 81 career starts.
RB Darren McFadden ($49 million): The 2008 No. 4 overall pick never had a 250-carry or 1,200-yard season. He was an inconsistent, unreliable fumble machine who never came close to a Pro Bowl.
QB Brock Osweiler ($41 million): After helping the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl in 2015, Osweiler hit the jackpot with the Houston Texans but never delivered. He retired at age 28 with 15 career wins in 30 starts.
QB JaMarcus Russell ($39 million): One of the biggest busts in NFL history was paid $39 million to win seven games in three terrible seasons. He walked away with that money at the age of 24, and has barely been heard from since.
Honorable mention: QB Chase Daniel ($34 million and counting): By the end of this year, the journeyman backup will have made $39 million in 11 seasons. He’s started five games in his entire career. Basically, he’s collected all that money as a clipboard-holding insurance policy. The man is paid millions to watch NFL games up close and personal.