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Fox Sports : NFL's Most Over Paid Players (LaVar #7)


Best way to keep the competitive balance in nfl while min. injury effect on teams  

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  1. 1. Best way to keep the competitive balance in nfl while min. injury effect on teams

    • Open up Practice Squad to be more like minor league team
    • Loosen up on Roster restrictions going into season
    • Make trades during the season much less of a cap burden
    • Make it easier to add/change roster going into playoffs

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The NFL's most overpaid players

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Ryan Wilson / Special to FOXSports.com

Posted: 1 day ago

This summer, Hines Ward missed 15 days of training camp to protest his contract.

He's a four-time Pro Bowl player who would have earned $1.7 million in 2005 if the Steelers hadn't given him a new four-year deal worth $25.8 million six days before the regular-season opener. Depending on which list you consult, the $1.7 million would have ranked him somewhere between 11th and 35th among all NFL receivers.

Most reasonable people can agree that Ward is worth more over the course of a season than what Sean "Diddy" Combs pays Farnsworth Bentley to carry his parasol.

At various points last off-season, Javon Walker, Reuben Droughns, Antonio Gates, the annual subset of rookie first-round picks, and of course, Terrell Owens, dipped their toes in the holdout waters. All of them felt they were worth more than what they were either earning on an existing contract or what they were offered in a new deal. Only Gates was able to talk his employer into giving him a sizable salary bump, which leaves us with a lot of guys who will tell you they're underpaid when compared to their peers. And some of them probably have a legitimate gripe.

But thanks to the T.O. saga, these stories are more ubiquitous than the Geico commercials featuring Tony Little ("You can do it!"), and we won't revisit them here. Instead of looking at which players are worth more than what they're currently earning (or at least they think they're worth more), we decided to take a look at the 10 most overpaid players in the NFL

Interestingly, for all the clamoring agents do to get their clients more money, you don't hear much about players offering to return some of that money after having a particularly poor season. That's where we come in. With the help of our Football Outsiders metrics, we can look at which players got Julia Roberts-type paydays only to give Eric Roberts-type performances.

For a quick introduction to our statistics, all you need to know is that DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) is a statistic that compares a player's performance to the average performance of players in similar situations, and DPAR (Defense-adjusted Points Above Replacement) is statistic that compares the performance of each player to a baseline, when adjusted for opponent defensive quality. You can find a more detailed description of our methods here.

10. RB Kevan Barlow, San Francisco 49ers

2004 salary: $455K base, $1.6M signing bonus, $2.1M total, $900K cap value

2005 base salary: $1.6M

In a part-time role two seasons ago, Barlow rushed for 1,024 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. That off-season the 49ers signed him to a five-year deal, including an $8 million signing bonus, and he promptly turned into Ki-Jana Carter. Maybe that's overstating it a bit. In 2004, San Francisco lost starters Terrell Owens (WR), Jeff Garcia (QB), Derrick Deese (LT), and Ron Stone (RG), and Barlow ended the season with 822 yards while his yards per carry dipped to 3.4.

According to DPAR, Barlow went from being the 15th best back in the NFL in 2003 to 48th last season. The fact that San Francisco's offensive line finished near the bottom of the league in every major statistical category didn't help his cause either. The only thing that could've made things worse for Barlow would've been playing for the Texans (see below).

9. QB Chad Pennington, New York Jets

2004 salary: $1.0M base, $18.0M signing bonus, $19.0M total, $5.0M cap value

2005 base salary: $1.0M

It's not Chad Pennington's fault that he's out for the season with a rotator cuff injury. The problem, however, is that he signed a seven-year, $67 million contract extension in September 2004, will count $15 million against the salary cap in 2006, and there are no guarantees he'll return to the form he displayed during the 2002 season when he finished first in DPAR among quarterbacks and led the Jets to the AFC East title.

Pennington's uncertain future, coupled with the fact that his 2006 cap charge is more than Matt Damon makes per movie, is enough to qualify him for this list.

8. QB Aaron Brooks, New Orleans Saints

2004 salary: $3.3M base, $0 signing bonus, $3.5M total, $5.4 M cap value

2005 base salary: $5.5M

Here's why Brooks, despite the occasional spectacular play, is overrated: In 2004, he led the league in "failed completes." These are passes that, despite being caught, do not achieve the number of yards needed to be considered a "successful play" according to our metrics (45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent on second down, 100 percent on third down). This is why Brooks' raw yardage totals are always better than his actual value when it comes to winning. PROTRADE.com writer Mark Kamal also reminds us that last season Brooks led QBs in 1-yard TD runs while only half of his TD passes came from outside the 10-yard line. Consider as well that he had more sacks and turnovers than all but two NFL quarterbacks.

Brooks will make $5.5 million this season in base salary — good for fourth-best in the league — but last season he ranked as 19th best, just ahead of Kyle Boller.

7. LB LaVar Arrington, Washington Redskins

2004 salary: $535K base, $11.3M signing bonus, $11.8M total, $5.6M cap value

2005 base salary: $540K

In no time at all, LaVar Arrington has gone from being a star to being a non-factor in Washington.

Arrington has had more success throwing lavish parties — and this includes the guy who was shot and wounded at a recent get-together — than finding his way on the football field since signing a new deal. A knee injury limited Arrington to just four games last season and he's still not at full strength.

Making matters worse are his accusations that the Redskins cheated him out of $6.5 million in bonus money when he signed his eight-year, $68 million contract extension in December 2003. It's probably a bad sign when you've got so much money you actually lose track of a couple million bucks only to realize later that your employer short-changed you. The two sides reached a settlement but there's still the question of whether Arrington will return to the form that made him one of the best outside linebackers in football a few seasons ago. (Having a coaching staff keep you on the bench certainly doesn't help your case.)

6. CB Eric Warfield, Kansas City Chiefs

2004 salary: $2.5M base, $0 signing bonus, $3.0M total, $3.7M cap value

2005 base salary: $3.3M

In 2002, the Chiefs signed Warfield to a seven-year contract worth $27 million, including a $5 million signing bonus. Since then, the Chiefs' secondary has annually been one of the league's worst teams when it comes to giving up yardage to opposing No. 1 receivers. The fact that defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham prefers to leave his cornerbacks in man coverage certainly doesn't play to Warfield's strengths. But that hasn't been a problem so far in 2005 because of Warfield's four-game suspension for a DUI conviction.

Warfield's base salary makes him the fifth-highest-paid cornerback in the league this season, which sounds a tad high for someone who could end up as the dime back. And just in case you need more proof that Warfield is overpaid, consider this: While under house arrest for a previous DUI conviction in 2001, his Martha Stewart-inspired tracking bracelet would occasionally go off when he strayed too far down one of the wings in his mansion.

5. DL Warren Sapp, Oakland Raiders

2004 salary: $660K base, $4.5M signing bonus, $5.2M total, $1.5M cap value

2005 base salary: $765K

Sapp and Ted Washington might be a formidable duo at a Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, but the Raiders defensive line only registered seven sacks last season. In a 3-4 defense, the linemen should occupy blocks so that linebackers can make big plays, but Raiders linebackers recorded just 2 1/2 sacks in 2004. Sapp will only make $765,000 this season, but his $4.5 million signing bonus in 2004 coupled with his base salary jumping to $4.5 million next season means that the Raiders are probably looking for something more than a player who can only be used in obvious rushing situations, and as an occasional lead blocker in short-yardage situations.

4. WR Charles Rogers, Detroit Lions

2004 salary: $305K base, $5.3M signing bonus, $5.6M total, $3.6M cap value

2005 base salary: $514K

Some might argue that Charles Rogers could more accurately be described as a draft bust, but when you consider that he was taken second overall in 2003, and received a $14 million signing bonus — more than No. 1 overall pick Carson Palmer — it's a little easier to conclude that he's a two-fer: a draft bust and grossly overpaid.

Rogers has had just as many touchdowns in his career (3) as he's had broken collarbones (2), and failed drug tests (1). And much like the Steelers are haunted by taking Gabe Rivera over Dan Marino, one of Matt Millen's many legacies could be passing on Andre Johnson in favor of Rogers (although Johnson might not consider playing with the other franchise quarterback from the 2002 draft an upgrade).

3. K Mike Vanderjagt, Indianapolis Colts

2004 salary: $535K base, $1.1M signing bonus, $1.6M total, $1.6M cap value

2005 base salary: $1.8M

It's hard to argue with the year Vanderjagt had in 2003. He was a perfect 39-for-39 on field-goal tries, including three game-winners. But 2003 was more of an anomaly than the norm when you consider he made 82 percent of his attempts the season before, and only 80 percent last season. And here's something else to keep in mind: Vanderjagt is listed on the depth chart as a "kicker," not just "field-goal specialist," which means that he should also be responsible for kickoffs. In 2003 he averaged 60.2 yards per kickoff, which ranked 23rd. In 2004, when he shared the duties, he was even worse, averaging 58.1 yards per kickoff, which dropped him to 43rd.

For the $1.8 million the Colts are paying Vanderjagt this season, they could sign a kickoff specialist and a field-goal kicker, have some money left over to get Edgerrin James some new gold fronts, and also not worry about the "idiot kicker" upsetting the star quarterback.

2. CB Charles Woodson, Oakland Raiders

2004 salary: $8.8M base, $0 signing bonus, $8.8M total, $8.8M cap value

2005 base salary: $10.6M

If NFL statistics were based on the Stableford scoring system, the Raiders would have been the best defense in football last year. Unfortunately, NFL stats aren't. And the Raiders weren't. The secondary was the weakest part of a decidedly mediocre unit, and Woodson had the dubious honor of piling up nine penalties all by himself.

He will make $10.5 million in base salary this season — the highest in the league — but Oakland's DVOA against opposing teams' No. 1 receivers only ranked 24th in the league. With the new chuck rule favoring the offense, shutdown corners are going the way of the dinosaur, which means that the Raiders might have been better off using the $10.5 million to address other needs. (Like maybe finding someone to spell the anti-Olsen twins: Washington and Sapp — see above.)

1. Houston Texans Offensive Line

First, a little perspective on this unit. In Superman: The Movie, a teenage Clark Kent punted a football out of his high school stadium. If he played behind this line, it wouldn't matter how far he could kick the ball because he would lead the league in punts blocked. That's how inept this bunch has been since 2002 — just ask quarterback David Carr.

In 2004, the Texans had the third-highest total payroll in the NFL ($97.5 million), and 19 percent of it was devoted to one of the worst offensive lines in football. Carr might have had more success stacking the $12 million between him and the defense and praying that the sight of free money would at least allow him to complete a five-step drop.

After not being able to lure Orlando Pace away from the Rams, the Texans settled on former Saints left tackle, Victor Riley. Left guard Chester Pitts is a penalty machine who led the league with 21 penalties in 2003 and then was tied for second with 14 penalties in 2004. Steve McKinney, Zach Wiegert, and Todd Wade round out a bunch that has given up 33 sacks through six games this season.

Domanick Davis, Vernand Morency, or even Clark Kent won't make much of a difference in the running game as long as there is no one to block for them.

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a few years ago, it wouldve been

3. jeff george

2. bruce smith

1. deion

and so on....

i think lavar isnt a fair pick though because hes just starting to get time... you cant say someone is overpaid cuz they got injured and are trying to work their way back into the system.

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a few years ago, it wouldve been

3. jeff george

2. bruce smith

1. deion

and so on....

i think lavar isnt a fair pick though because hes just starting to get time... you cant say someone is overpaid cuz they got injured and are trying to work their way back into the system.

Good point.... 5 games shouldnt wipe out 6 years of above average play.

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Whether you believe it's the fault of the front office, the current staff, staff turnover, Lavar himself, or my Aunt Kathy, it's pretty hard to argue that Lavar is not overpaid. His salary is up there with players who are or were #1 at their position and his production has never even approached those heights.

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If They Keep L.arrington On The Feild Im Sure He Will Earn Every Penny. The One Person Who Needs To Give Some Money Back Is Ramsey,tell Me He's Not Over Paid!!

He doesn't make that much money. Still on his rookie deal and didn't hit many of his escalators. Keeping him on the roster this year doesnt hurt us much at all.

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Practically every #1 pick is overpaid. Rarely does a #1 live up to the hype.

Thats whats wrong with the NFL. Salaries should be lowered and merit-based.

Most of the successful players in the NFL were 3rd round picks or below.

Hey, at least (right or wrong) he left Samuels' name off the list so we didnt't have two on the top 10.

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