5 NFL players not deserving of their current bumper contracts  

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot

When NFL teams sign a player to a massive contract, they hope the player can live up to the expectations that come along with the deal. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. Every year in the NFL, some players are overpaid relative to their production. Here are five that qualify ahead of the 2022 NFL season.

5 overpaid NFL players ahead of the 2022 season

#1 - Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot

Ezekiel Elliott was once one of the most dominant running backs in the entire NFL, which is why the Dallas Cowboys gave him one of the biggest contracts of any running back of all time. He carried a cap hit of 18.2 million dollars in the 2022 season, the third-highest among all running backs. Unfortunately, his production has fallen off significantly over the last few years.

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Elliott eclipsed 350 touches and 1,750 total yards in each of his first three full seasons with the Cowboys while averaging more than five yards per touch. He has failed to reach 300 touches and 1,350 total yards in either of his last two seasons while averaging less than 4.5 yards per touch. The Cowboys are paying for the prime version of Elliott, but he appears to be past that.

#2 - Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk

Christian Kirk signed a massive contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars during the 2022 NFL free agency period. The deal is worth 39 million dollars in guaranteed money and could be worth 72 million dollars. The Jaguars are taking a relatively high risk on a wide receiver who has never exceeded 80 receptions or 1,000 yards in any season of his entire career.

5 overpaid players ahead of the 2022 NFL season

#3 - Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders

Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz
Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz has struggled to find success over the last three seasons in the NFL. In the 2019 and 2020 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, he recorded a massive 48 combined total interceptions and fumbles while accounting for just 49 total touchdowns. He was then acquired by the Indianapolis Colts via trade, despite his struggles with the Eagles.

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While Carson Wentz significantly reduced his turnover rate, his play didn't translate to team success. He helped the Colts to just a 9-8 record and failed to make the playoffs after they made it the previous year with Philip Rivers as their quarterback. Despite all of the failures, the Washington Commanders traded for him, and his 28.3 million dollar cap hit ahead of the 2022 NFL season.

#4 - Leonard Williams, New York Giants

New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams
New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams

Leonard Williams carried a massive 27.3 million dollar cap hit for the New York Giants in the 2022 NFL season. It's the largest cap hit among all defensive ends and the tenth-highest overall cap hit among all players this season. A contract as large as his would imply highly high production and the ability to be an absolute game-changer.

Unfortunately, that hasn't exactly been the case for Leonard Williams at any point in his career. He accounted for a relatively solid 11.5 sacks during the 2020 season but hasn't exceeded seven sacks in any other season in his entire career. He's being paid like an elite pass rusher, but that's not who he is.

#5 - Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill carries a 38.6 million dollar cap hit for the 2022 season, the largest cap hit among all players this year. He has been relatively solid in his career with the Tennessee Titans, accounting for 94 total touchdowns and 27 interceptions across three years. Still, it's hard to justify him being the most expensive player against the salary cap for any given season. He currently has that title for the 2022 season.

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Edited by Piyush Bisht