On the brink of the NFL’s new league year, let’s get a feel for which players are providing the worst contractual value in the league.

1. Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan: The 2016 MVP looks washed up following another non-Pro Bowl season. He hasn’t been an All-Pro or a Pro Bowler since that ’16 campaign, but has a league-high $40.9 million projected salary-cap hit looming in 2021.

2. Dallas Cowboys edge DeMarcus Lawrence: It appears Dallas made a huge mistake in giving Lawrence a lucrative extension after a strong two-year run in 2017 and 2018. Since then, he’s earned just 11.5 sacks in two campaigns. Now he’s due $52 million over the next two seasons with very little flexibility for the Cowboys to bail.

3. Detroit Lions edge Trey Flowers: Two years after becoming one of the highest-paid defensive players in the sport, Flowers has generated nine total sacks in 22 games for a Lions team that has gone nowhere, especially on defense. He’s owed $43.2 million over the next two seasons.

4. Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey: No running back is worth $16 million per year, and McCaffrey will only become more expensive as he enters his late-20s. That’s old at his position, especially if you’re beaten up. His injury-derailed 2020 campaign is a concern.

5. Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott: No running back is worth $15 million per year, and Elliott has not carried the Cowboys offense at all of late. His numbers have plummeted in back-to-back seasons, and there’s little reason to believe he’ll bounce back as the Cowboys offensive line fades in Zeke’s late-20s. They owe him a dumb $30.2 million over the next two years.

6. Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook: Few running backs are worth $12.6 million per year, especially if they lack durable like Cook. He’s coming off a big season on paper, but that didn’t help the Vikings much in the standings and he still missed time. In fact, Cook has never come close to participating in a 16-game campaign, and now he’s on the north side of 25 as well.

7. Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon: Few running backs are worth $12 million per year, and Mixon is not on that list after another injury-derailed season of his own. The soon-to-be 25-year-old has never made a Pro Bowl and has a career yards-per-attempt average of just 4.1, but he’s owed over $19 million in guaranteed money the next two seasons.

8. Chicago Bears edge Khalil Mack: Now 30 years old, the three-time first-team All-Pro appears to be beyond his prime. The Bears have won zero playoff games in their three seasons with Mack in the fray, and he’s slated to count $26.6 million against the cap in what could be his final season in Chicago.

9. San Francisco 49ers edge Dee Ford: The 2018 Pro Bowler has generated 6.5 total sacks in the first two seasons of his five-year, $85 million contract. He’ll milk the 49ers for another $20.1 million in 2021 before they likely decide to push him overboard for another $9.6 million.

10. New Orleans Saints QB Taysom Hill: Hill has thrown four career touchdown passes and has delivered almost no proof that he can be a regular starting quarterback, and yet they’re going to pay the 30-year-old $16.2 million in 2021. It’s lunacy.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at CBSSports.com, Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.