NFL free agency is now just three weeks out, which means some real stupid general managers will hand out some real stupid contracts. For now, though, these are the 10 worst active deals in the league (you can see the 10 best contracts entering free agency here).
10. Chicago Bears edge Khalil Mack: Six years, $141 million (expires in 2025) — Mack is a tremendous player, but the Bears have yet to win a playoff game since giving him that juicy deal two seasons ago. Now he’s only a year from 30, the Bears still don’t look like prime contenders, and Mack is owed over $53 million over the course of the next two years.
9. New York Jets LB C.J. Mosley: Five years, $85 million (expires in 2024) — An off-ball linebacker has no business making $17 million a year. And it would be one thing if Mosley came through with a strong debut campaign in green, but instead he missed all but two games. Even if they move on ahead of his age-30 season in two years, the Jets will have been forced to pay the guy $51 million for basically two years’ worth of work.
8. Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith: Four years, $94 million (expires in 2023) — This one isn’t really Washington’s fault, as nobody could anticipate Smith would suffer a horrible knee injury midway through his first season with the team. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve paid him nearly $39 million for practically nothing the last two years, or the fact that they owe him more than $72 million over the course of the next three seasons. There’s a good chance he collects checks without playing during that entire span.
7. Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: Four years, $134 million (expires in 2024) — This is simple: Rodgers is no longer an elite quarterback, but he remains one of the highest-paid players in league history. Ever since breaking his collarbone in 2017, the 36-year-old has a mere 95.6 passer rating. And yet Green Bay owes him almost $98 million between now and the end of the 2022 campaign.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars QB Nick Foles: Four years, $88 million (expires in 2023) — Foles was essentially already benched for a rookie sixth-round pick in the first year of that contract. He had a couple of awesome but aberrational experiences in Philadelphia, but it’s already clear the Jags made a mistake here. There’s a good chance they’ll have to pay him $22.1 million to hold a tablet in 2020, and even after that they’d have to pay him $12.5 million just to go away.
5. Miami Dolphins S Reshad Jones: Five years, $60 million (expires in 2023) — There’s a reason Jones was pretty much the only veteran the rebuilding Dolphins didn’t release or trade in the last year. His awful contract has been too prohibitive. Jones hasn’t been a top-tier player since 2017 and is coming off an injury-derailed season at the age of 32, but it would cost Miami more than $10 million to part ways now. If they hang on and release him next offseason, it’ll cost them close to $20 million for one more year of service.
4. Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson: Three years, $39 million (expires in 2022) — The 28-year-old continues to live largely off his one Pro Bowl season, which came way back in 2016. Since then he’s averaged just 3.6 yards per carry and has essentially become a non-factor in the Arizona offense, but it would cost the Cards more than $16 million to wave goodbye. By the time they inevitably release him next offseason, Johnson will cost the team another $17.2 million.
3. New York Jets RB Le’Veon Bell: Four years, $52.5 million (expires in 2023) — Bell’s yards-per-attempt average dropped from 4.9 in 2016 to 4.0 in 2017, then he sat out an entire season before that rate plummeted to 3.2 in 2019. It’s pretty clear the 28-year-old is running out of gas, and now the Jets will owe him $15.5 million in 2020. You can tell Jets head coach Adam Gase didn’t even want the guy.
2. Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff: Four years, $134 million (expires in 2025) — There’s almost no way the Rams can avoid giving Goff nearly $69 million the next two years, which is simply catastrophic from a cap standpoint. In his last 21 starts, the 25-year-old has an abysmal passer rating of 83.9. And that doesn’t even include his horrendous performance in Super Bowl LIII.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger: Two years, $68 million (expires in 2022) — Big Ben led the NFL in interceptions in 2018 and then was a mess before suffering an early-season elbow injury in 2019. He still hasn’t recovered from major surgery on said elbow and looks out of shape at the age of 38 (on March 2). It’s a tragedy that the Steelers owe him $33.5 million in 2020, and that’s probably the only reason Roethlisberger hasn’t retired.