Each NFL season features its fair share of surprises and disappointments. Many players and teams will far exceed the expectations placed on them prior to the start of the season, while many others will completely fail to reach theirs. This is what makes the NFL unique, as it is almost impossible to predict what will happen each year.
The 2022 NFL season has been the year of overpaid quarterbacks failing to meet the demands that come along with their massive contracts. The offseason leading up to the 2022 season featured more money handed to quarterbacks than ever before, including multiple record-breaking deals.
Among all of the huge contracts that were signed during the 2022 offseason, the four largest by AAV in NFL history occurred this year. It should come as no surprise that all four were quarterbacks, but it may be a bit more shocking that none of them made it to the playoffs this year.
Here are the four quarterbacks fitting this alarming narrative:
#4 - Deshaun Watson, NFL - $46 million
Deshaun Watson was acquired by the Cleveland Browns via trade with the Houston Texans during the 2022 offseason. Despite a looming suspension and having never played a game for his new team, he was rewarded with a fully-guaranteed $230 million contract.
Watson's contract features the most guaranteed money on a single contract in NFL history. He was suspended for the first 11 games of the season. He only played in six games this year, but the Browns missed out on making the playoffs. They will look to make a return on their massive investment next year.
#3 - Kyler Murray, NFL - $46 million
When Kyler Murray signed a massive contract worth $46 million in AAV during the 2022 offseason, many around the league questioned whether it was the right move. While Murray is clearly an elite talent, many believed he hadn't quite accomplished enough yet to deserve the type of deal he received.
The skeptics may have been on to something, as Murray severely regressed during the 2022 season before being injured prior to its conclusion. The disastrous performance by the Arizona Cardinals this season, despite making the playoffs last year, also resulted in head coach Kliff Kingsbury being fired.
#2 - Russell Wilson, NFL - $49 million
Russell Wilson was involved in one of the most shocking moves of the entire 2022 offseason when the Seattle Seahawks traded him to the Denver Broncos. The Broncos rewarded their new superstar quarterback with a massive contract extension worth $49 million in AAV, the second-most by any player ever.
Wilson has been one of the single most disappointing players in the entire league during the 2022 season. He threw for 16 touchdowns with 11 interceptions, while the Broncos finished with a 5-12 record. This was a major letdown, especially considering they were expected to be Super Bowl contenders this year.
#1 - Aaron Rodgers, NFL - $50 million
Aaron Rodgers set a record during the 2022 offseason, becoming the highest paid player in league history by AAV. He also became the first athlete in American sports history to sign a contract worth at least $50 million in AAV. He earned it by being named the MVP in each of the last two seasons, moving his total to four, the second-most of all time.
The 2022 season didn't go the way Aaron Rodgers or the Green Bay Packers had hoped it would. They got off to a slow start to the year, but gained momentum near the end. They entered Week 18 needing a victory against the Detroit Lions to punch their ticket to the playoffs, but were defeated, ending their season early.