4 NFL WRs who bombed after signing a massive deal ft. Odell Beckham Jr.

The New York Giants never saw a return on their investment in OBJ
The New York Giants never saw a return on their investment in OBJ
Chris Winterburn

There is a lot of money to be shared in the NFL. It often goes to the truly elite players who are then expected to pay back their teams with outstanding performances on the field.

A number of players who receive big paydays are unable to deliver on their end of the bargain. There are numerous examples of this around the league. Some believe that the latest might be Deebo Samuel.

Deebo Samuel finally came to an agreement on an extension with the San Francisco 49ers. They have agreed on a three-year contract extension worth $73.5 million with $58 million guarenteed. Some worry it may be too much money to give a dual-threat receiver.

Samuel was forced to virtually work as a running back and receiver in the 2021 NFL season. While it helped his stats tremendously and made him deserving of a bigger contract, it also put irreversible strain on his body.

Breaking: The 49ers are giving Deebo Samuel a three-year extension worth up to $73.5M, including $58.1M guaranteed, sources tell @AdamSchefter.

Many worry that the 49ers will not see the true value of the money given to Samuel. There are a number of examples in the past where a wide receiver has earned a huge contract, only to bomb after signing it.

Every contract carries a risk, but wide receivers are more prone to dips in performance than almost any other position.

On that note, let's discuss four NFL receivers who failed dramatically after signing a huge contract.

#1 Randall Cobb ($40 million deal with the Green Bay Packers)

Green Bay Packers v Kansas City Chiefs
Green Bay Packers v Kansas City Chiefs

In 2015, Randall Cobb was set to hit the open market. He was the best WR available in the NFL at the time.

He was sensational with the Green Bay Packers, where he formed a strong partnership with Aaron Rodgers. The Wisconsin franchise elected to stop him hitting free agency by signing him to a $40 million deal.

Cobb turned down more lucrative deals elsewhere to sign with the Packers who quickly began to wish that he hadn't.

Cobb’s performance levels dropped through the floor. He never posted another 1,000 receiving yards in a season again, and he never returned to the Pro Bowl.

Cobb scored 12 touchdowns in the final year of his rookie deal in Green Bay. The weight of $40 million must have dragged Cobb down as he slipped to six touchdowns the following season. This was the most he ever registered in a single campaign ever again. His contract became a millstone around the Packers' neck.

Cobb spent four more years in Green Bay, before signing with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent.

#2 Amari Cooper ($100 million deal with the Dallas Cowboys)

Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings
Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings

Amari Cooper shone as an NFL rookie with the Las Vegas Raiders before his career appeared to take a downward spiral.

Yet, upon being traded to the Dallas Cowboys, the wide receiver began to shine in the NFL once more.

His ability to score touchdowns was admired in Dallas. The impact he had on the 2018 season after arriving near the trade deadline was palpable.

In 2019, he had a career year, posting 1,189 receiving yards and scoring eight touchdowns. He didn’t miss a single game and was the Cowboys’ primary receiving option.

A five-year deal worth $100 million was thrown in his direction, and he gladly signed it.

The Cowboys were convinced they had spent wise money, yet just two years later, he was out of Dallas.

Cooper’s performances didn’t necessarily spiral out of control. He still scored five and eight touchdowns respectively in his two remaining seasons with the Cowboys. His play, however, was that of a middle receiver, not one being paid $100 million.

He began to be targeted less and less frequently by Dak Prescott, and Cooper's contract put the Cowboys in a really difficult cap position.

Eventually, the Cleveland Browns took him off their hands in a trade that saw them give up fifth and sixth round picks. This showed just how far Cooper’s value had fallen.

#3 Javon Walker ($55 million deal with the Oakland Raiders)

Javon Walker headshot (
Javon Walker headshot (

There are some NFL contracts that you just look at and immediately write them off as bad business.

The Oakland Raiders giving a 29-year-old receiver who had already undergone multiple knee surgeries a six-year deal worth $55 million just made no sense.

Javon Walker had been productive with the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos, although he had only had one real shining season in the NFL.

This came in 2004 when he scored 12 touchdowns and registered 1,382 yards.

A lot changed in the four years between that glorious season and his arrival in Oakland. He never produced anything good with his new team.

On this day 12 years ago, Javon Walker told the #Raiders he wanted to retire 4 months after signing a $55 million, 6-year contract. He changed his mind the next day and ended up catching 15 passes for 196 yards and 1 TD in 11 games over the next 2 seasons

In his only year with the franchise, he played just eight games, scored one touchdown, and registered 196 yards. He missed a large part of the season due to injury.

It was an abysmal return for a starting receiver, let alone one being paid $55 million. He was released and subsequently retired.

#4 Odell Beckham Jr. ($95 million deal with the New York Giants)

Jacksonville Jaguars v New York Giants
Jacksonville Jaguars v New York Giants

Odell Beckham Jr. was a star in the NFL, and it’s unfortunately easy to forget that.

When he arrived in New York, he was the darling of the league, leaving NFL fans gasping with his one-handed catches.

Yet, his performances only lasted until he received his major payday.

The Giants signed the receiver to a deal worth $95 million. The final five million were tied into a bonus structure, and he subsequently bombed badly.

It was a deal which, when signed, made Beckham the highest paid WR in NFL history. He didn’t deliver the numbers expected.

In his first three years in the NFL, he scored 12, 13, and 10 touchdowns respectively. He also registered 1,305, 1,450 and 1,367 yards respectively.

Beckham was an elite performer, perhaps the best in his position in the league, and the Giants knew it.

Fans were overjoyed when he agreed to re-sign in New York, even if it was an expensive move.

What followed was a drop of epic proportions. He played just 12 games in 2018 and scored six touchdowns. He became an increasingly anonymous presence on the Giants’ offense.

As his performances deteriorated, his relationships in New York did, too. At the end of the season, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns.

Edited by Windy Goodloe


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