Bad contracts are part of every NFL offseason.
2015 featured 10 of them that really stood out. The most remarkable free agent busts in 2015 include the big names that underwhelmed. But they also include some contracts that looked horrible at the time they were signed.
Note: All contract data courtesy of Spotrac.com.
10. Kenny Britt, WR, St. Louis Rams
Contract Signed: 2 years, $9.15 million ($3.55 million guaranteed)
Stats: 13 Games Played, 30 Catches, 551 Yards, 2 Touchdowns
The Rams shouldn’t have re-signed Kenny Britt to a deal that paid him over $4.5 million. They should have given him a prove-it deal in that one-year, $3.5 million range that Michael Crabtree signed. But they’ll live and learn from this mistake.
That being said, Britt hasn’t been terrible and had a breakout game in the Ketchup vs. Mustard bowl (more on that here). But to have a No. 3 receiver (at best) making over $4 million per season is a bit ridiculous. The Rams would have been better off with a cheaper option.
9. Byron Maxwell, CB, Philadelphia Eagles
Contract Signed: 6 years, $63.0 million ($25.0 million guaranteed)
Stats: 13 Games Played, 58 Tackles, 2 Interceptions, 2 Fumbles Forced, 1 Fumbles Recovered, 9 Pass Deflections
Wow. The Eagles are just stupid. They not only gave a player who didn’t deserve $10.5 million per year that money, but they continued to play him in a bad role for him until the past couple of weeks when he has finally turned his season around.
Maxwell started the season by getting dominated by Julio Jones and Roddy White versus the Falcons. They attacked and picked on him all day, and he just couldn’t handle it. That trend continued for quite a few weeks, but the Eagles finally adjusted their strategy to put him in the best position to succeed. For that, he’s not being listed higher than here.
8. Eddie Royal, WR, Chicago Bears
Contract Signed: 3 years, $15.0 million ($10.0 million guaranteed)
Stats: 7 Games Played, 27 Catches, 186 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 1 Carry, -1 Yards, 1 Punt Return, 16 Yards
When a receiver gets a $15 million deal with $10 million guaranteed, they should have actually shown potential to be a 1,000-plus yard receiver at some point in their career. Eddie Royal hadn’t. He was a true No. 3 for most of his career and should have been paid closer to $9 million over three years, at most.
In hindsight, Royal would have been a horrible investment even playing for $3 million per year. He hasn’t played with the speed he showed off earlier in his career and just doesn’t look like even a competent receiver in the NFL anymore. This was just a terrible investment for the Bears.
7. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Miami Dolphins
Contract Signed: 6 years, $114.375 million ($59.955 million guaranteed)
Stats: 13 Games Played, 48 Tackles, 4.0 Sacks, 5 Pass Deflections
J.J. Watt Suh is not.
After signing one of the biggest contracts of all time, there was nothing outside of curing cancer, getting 10 sacks, throwing for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns this season that would have made people think that Ndamukong Suh earned his money.
However, Suh’s on this list for his lack of effort more than anything else. Sure, he’s performing at a similar level statistically speaking (four sacks, 48 tackles) that he always has been. The problem is that level isn’t what people made it out to be.
He needs to be in a rotation in order to be at his best because he clearly doesn’t bring his full effort on every down — something Jon Gruden was highly critical about during Week 15’s Monday Night Football contest against the New York Giants.
Deservedly so. Been knowingly quiet on the field all year long. RT @DanHanzus: Jon Gruden putting Ndamukong Suh on blast tonight.
— Courtney Fallon (@CourtneyFallon_) December 15, 2015
6. Bruce Carter, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Contract Signed: 4 years, $17.0 million ($4.25 million guaranteed)
Stats: 12 Games Played, 27 Tackles, 1.0 Sack, 1 Pass Deflection
The Buccaneers gave Bruce Carter $17 million and expected him to be the new captain of the defense. Then fourth-round pick Kwon Alexander beat him for the starting role and outplayed him all year.
Tampa can move on easily from the vastly underperforming Carter after the season and should chose to do so.
5. C.J. Spiller, RB, New Orleans Saints
Contract Signed: 4 years, $16.0 million ($9.0 million guaranteed)
Stats: 12 Games Played, 34 Carries, 110 Yards, 32 Catches, 223 Yards, 2 Touchdowns, 6 Kick Returns, 125 Yards, 1 Fumble
When the Saints signed C.J. Spiller, they were trying to replace the speed and talent of Darren Sproles in their offense. They wanted someone who provided the receiving ability and outside rushing ability that could give them a potential home-run threat within their offense.
Spiller has been anything but. He’s averaging just over three yards per carry and has shown a lack of explosion that he’s had in previous years. Add in an injury, and this four-year deal looks like a massive waste of cash for the Saints.
4. Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Contract Signed: 3 years, $21.0 million ($10.0 million guaranteed)
Stats: 13 Games Played, 31 Catches, 386 Yards, 3 Touchdowns
When signing Andre Johnson, the Colts thought they were going to get someone who was at least a shell of the player that went No. 2 overall back in the 2003 NFL draft and averaged 1,287 yards per every 16 games played during the first 12 seasons of his career.
In Indianapolis, he hasn’t been close to the same player. He’s on pace for a season of 38 catches for 475 yards and four touchdowns, which would be a career low for yardage and his second-worst season in catches. For $7 million per year, that’s just not close to a good value, and it seems clear his days as an elite pass-catcher in the NFL are over for good.
3. Percy Harvin, WR, Buffalo Bills
Contract Signed: 1 year, $6.0 million ($5.9 million guaranteed)
Stats: 5 Games Played, 19 Catches, 218 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 5 Carries, 31 Yards, 5 Kick Returns, 108 Yards, 1 Fumble
Percy Harvin started the season with three respectable games that saw him average five catches and 64 yards per game while scoring a touchdown. Since those three games, Harvin was limited to 26 yards receiving and suffered a season ending injury.
Considering he was signed for a one-year, $6 million deal, his return on investment has been piss-poor. The Bills would have been better spending half of that money on Michael Crabtree and having a much better player—on and off the field.
2. Curtis Lofton, LB, Oakland Raiders
Contract Signed: 3 years, $18.0 million ($6.5 million guaranteed)
Stats: 13 Games Played, 61 Tackles, 1.0 Sacks, 1 Fumble Recovered
When a team spends $18 million on a linebacker, they hope that he can at least keep his starting job for the entire season. However, Curtis Lofton got benched by the Raiders halfway through the season due to poor performance.
He struggled to adapt to Oakland’s new scheme under defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. Neiron Ball had outplayed Lofton and took the starting role until he was lost for the season with a knee injury.
Lofton is getting re-inserted back into the lineup, but the damage was done. He may not be cut at the beginning of the league year. But it wouldn’t be shocking to see Lofton cut post-June 2nd when the Raiders can let him go without a cap penalty when the because of how poorly he has played.
1. DeMarco Murray, RB, Eagles
Contract Signed: 5 years, $40.0 million ($21.0 million guaranteed)
Stats: 12 Games Played, 174 Carries, 603 Yards, 4 Touchdowns, 41 Catches, 298 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 1 Fumble, 1 Fumble Lost
The Eagles thought they needed to trade away LeSean McCoy and upgrade him with the 2014 leading rusher in DeMarco Murray. Looking back, that was not the best decision by Chip Kelly, who has relegated Murray to a backup role this past month (read about that here).
They paid Murray a deal that averages $8.0 million per year and were expecting him to maintain the same kind of 1,800-yard rushing and 400-yard receiving season that he put up last year with the Dallas Cowboys.
Unfortunately for Chip Kelly and the Eagles, Murray hasn’t fit the scheme effectively and has under-performed for them this year. When it comes to value, this might rank among the worst free agent contracts in NFL history. He could wind up as dead money in the coming seasons ($21 million in dead cap the next four years) if the Eagles cut him after the season.