Identifying the biggest contract busts in the NFL is a more difficult task than in other sports. For one, there’s no single, consistent statistical measure that can be compared across positions. NFL contracts are also notoriously impermanent, with a bad deal often resulting in a player getting unceremoniously cut. So, unlike in, say, baseball, where a bad contract still gets paid out, what a player signs for and what he actually ends up getting paid can vary widely.

How then do you identify the bad contracts? A new study from GOBankingRates compared contracts across positions, taking into account a few key metrics. These metrics include the number of games played and started within the terms of the contract, the estimated amount of money the player earned per game (adjusted for inflation) based on the value of their contract and the annual salary at signing.

Looking at all of the metrics collectively, GOBankingRates was able to get a sense of which players ultimately fell shortest of team expectations. Take a look at how things turned out for these highly paid players.

Last updated: April 21, 2021