These five NFL contracts stand as some of the worst in league history


These teams thought they were making the right move, but instead they turned out to be some of the worst contracts in NFL history.

The NFL is the most profitable professional sports league in the country, by a large margin, but when it comes to player contracts, they pale in comparison to the fat payouts NBA and MLB players receive. But just because the NFL isn’t handing out salaries north of $100 million everyday, doesn’t mean there haven’t been some truly awful contracts.

Daunte Culpepper

After coming off a season where he threw for 4,000 yards, it made total sense why the Minnesota Vikings thought signing Dante Culpepper to an extension was a smart move. His production in 2003 was elite, but after signing the dotted line Culpepper never replicated that success.

He threw eight interceptions in the first two games of the year, and later suffered an ACL tear in Week 7. When backup Brad Johnson performed well enough to be considered as the starting QB going forward, Culpepper forced for a trade out of Minnesota. The trade landed him in Miami where he lasted one season, and despite playing 4 more years with several teams after Minnesota, he slipped into irrelevance and was altogether forgotten.

Michael Vick

For as nostalgic as we get about Michael Vick’s days as the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons we often forget about how truly awful some of his contracts were once his prime was interrupted for his part in an illegal dog fighting ring. Atlanta wanted to make him a Falcon for life with their 10-year $130 million deal they offered him after the 2004 season.

Only problem, Vick only played two years of that colossal contract with the Falcons after being sentenced to 24 months in prison and a 2-year suspension from the league. To make matters worse he received another $100 million+ deal post-suspension.

The Philadelphia Eagles took a gamble on the former Pro-Bowler, inking a six-year deal, but Vick never completed a full season in Philly due to injuries. After the 2013 season both sides came to an agreement to restructure his deal, making him a free agent before his contract was up. Vick spent two more years in the league before his career ended in 2015.

Javon Walker

The Oakland Raiders thought Javon Walker’s could duplicate his 1,000-plus receiving seasons he produced in Green Bay and Denver when they picked him up in 2008. Instead what they got for their 6-year $55 million deal was two seasons in which he started a total of 7 games and caught one touchdown pass.

Walker finished his time in Oakland with only 15 receptions for 196 yards. With $16 million guaranteed of his contract,  that’s almost 1 million dollars per reception. Walker was released by the Raiders after underperforming, and racking up injuries, unfortunately for the Raiders it cost them a little over $14 million to release him.

Albert Haynesworth

After back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons with the Tennessee Titans, the Washington Redskins bet the house on Albert Haynesworth in 2009 with a 7-year $100 million deal. At first, it wasn’t considered a bad move, but his history of injuries and his tendency to have a poor work ethic began creeping up in Washington.

His production dropped significantly over the two seasons in D.C., and he clashed frequently with head coach Mike Shanahan.  After a subpar 2009 season where he started 12 games, Haynesworth was reduced to a bench player, failing to start in a single game. Washington didn’t have to pay him the full price tag of his contract, but for his two years of forgettable service the Redskins had to shell out $38 million before releasing him.

Nnamdi Asomugha

In the summer of 2010 Nnamdi Asomugha was considered the top free agent on the market. His resume spoke for itself, a three-time Pro Bowler two-time First-Team All-Pro, and his 2006 season with the Oakland Raiders, where he recorded a career-high 8 interceptions, was the third most in the league.

The Philadelphia Eagles thought the 5-year $60 million signing was worth it, even head coach Andy Reid said that Asomugha was one of, if not the the best cornerback in the league, but Asomugha did little to live up to that praise. In his two seasons with Philly, Asomugha totaled only 4 interceptions and was a major reason as to why the Eagles allowed 60 touchdowns in his two seasons there.

After failing to agree with the Eagles to restructure his hefty contract, Philadelphia cut the once elite cornerback. After one season with the San Francisco 49ers Asomugha retired as a member of the Oakland Raiders, the only place where he saw any success.

There are countless terrible contracts throughout NFL history and there will undoubtedly be more to come, these are just some of the cautionary tales of high-risk contracts gone wrong.

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