The Kansas City Chiefs made one of the easiest football decisions of all-time this week when they agreed to a record-setting 10-year extension with Patrick Mahomes. Although the Chiefs will be paying their starting quarterback roughly $500 million over the next decade, no one who's seen Mahomes play football actually thinks that Kansas City is overpaying him. However, there are plenty of teams who will be overpaying for a player in 2020, and since everyone loves a good list, we've put together a list of the 10 most overpaid players for the upcoming season.
Being overpaid is a pretty simple concept in the NFL: It means you're making a lot of money, but you aren't really producing enough to justify your pay check.
With that in mind, we're going to rank the top 10 most overpaid players in 2020 based on their salary cap hit for the season. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of running backs on this list. If we've learned one thing over the past five years, it's that it doesn't make much sense to be handing out gigantic deals to players at that position or to be trading for players who have gigantic deals at that position, like, say, David Johnson (And yes, I'm looking directly at you when I say that, Bill O'Brien).
This list also features two receivers and two quarterbacks. If your favorite team doesn't have a player on this list, that's a good thing and it means that they have a competent front office.
Alright, I'm going to stop stalling. Let's get to the list (All cap numbers via spotrac)
Top 10 most overpaid players for 2020
10. Olivier Vernon, DE (Browns)
2020 cap hit: $11 million
When I started putting this list together, Vernon was slightly higher up in the rankings, but the Browns apparently also realized he was overpaid, because they made him take a pay cut from $15.5 million to $11 million this week. The upside to the restructured deal for Vernon is that he will be getting $11 million in guaranteed money for 2020. Before the new deal, the defensive end didn't have any money guaranteed for the upcoming season. Vernon can actually be pretty productive when he's healthy, but the problem for the Browns is that he hasn't been able to stay healthy. Over the past three seasons, Vernon has missed a total of 15 games due to injury, including last year, when he missed five games during his first season in Cleveland. The Browns had been flirting with Jadeveon Clowney, but since Vernon was willing to restructure his deal, that chase is likely over.
9. Leonard Fournette, RB (Jaguars)
2020 cap hit: $8.6 million
When the Jaguars selected Leonard Fournette with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, they probably thought he was going to be in Jacksonville for awhile, but instead, he's now the poster child for why you should almost never take a running back in the top-five. The Jaguars have been so frustrated with Fournette that they didn't even pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal. Instead, he'll almost certainly be leaving the team after 2020, but not before the Jags get hit with one more giant cap hit. Fournette's $8.6 million hit in 2020 is the fifth-highest among all running backs for the upcoming season.
8. A.J. Green, WR (Bengals)
2020 cap hit: $17.9 million
The first thing I should mention here is that A.J. Green's salary cap hit could actually change between now and the start of the season. Green was hit with the franchise tag back in March and once he signs it, his cap hit for the year will be $17.9 million, which would be the third highest in the NFL among all receivers (Only Julio Jones and Mike Evans are higher). The problem with paying Green that kind of money is that he hasn't proven he can stay healthy. Over the past four years, the Bengals receiver has missed a total of 29 games, which includes missing all of 2019. Basically, $17.9 million is a lot to pay to someone when you don't even know if they'll be able to stay on the field. Of course, if the Bengals can reach a long-term deal with Green before the franchise tag deadline of July 15, his cap hit could end up being reduced to a much more manageable number. Right now, it's not too manageable though.
7 . Alshon Jeffery, WR (Eagles)
2020 cap hit: $15.5 million
There's been plenty of speculation this offseason about whether or not Alshon Jeffery would be returning to Philadelphia in 2020, and although Eagles general manager Howie Roseman gave him a vote of confidence back in March, you have to think that Roseman isn't too thrilled to still be stuck with the wide receiver's contract. Jeffery's cap hit for this season is going to be $15.5 million, which is the seventh-highest of all receivers in the NFL. That's a huge hit to take for a receiver who hasn't been productive, can't stay healthy and doesn't seem to be too popular in the locker room. Roseman has been trying to trade Jeffery since at least October, and although he'd love to get a deal done, it's starting to look like the Eagles are going to be stuck with the receiver for another year, which might actually end up being a good thing for the tam, since DeSean Jackson doesn't seem to be too popular with the front office right now.
6. David Johnson, RB (Texans)
2020 cap hit: $11.2 million
Since signing his new three-year contract extension in 2018, David Johnson hasn't exactly been a good bang for the buck. The Cardinals probably thought they were never going to be able to unload his monstrous contract, but then a funny thing happened, Bill O'Brien called them, and we call know what happened next. Not only were the Cardinals able to dump Johnson's deal, but they also got DeAndre Hopkins in the process. As for the Texans, not only did they lose their best receiver, but they're now stuck with Johnson's $11.2 million cap hit this year, which is the second-highest among all running backs in the NFL.
5. Jared Goff, QB (Rams)
2020 cap hit: $28.8 million (Third highest among QBs)
If the Rams had a time machine, the first thing they'd probably do with it is go back and undo Jared Goff's contract. Goff isn't necessarily a bad quarterback, he just hasn't shown that he's worth the money that the Rams gave him. Thanks to his four-year, $134 million extension that he signed in September 2019, which has already been restructured once, Goff will have a cap hit of $28.8 million in 2020, which is the third-highest of any quarterback in the NFL for 2020. That's a huge number for a quarterback who tied for the fourth most interceptions in the NFL in 2019 while looking mostly below average all season. The biggest problem for the Rams is that there's not really any easy way to move on if he struggles again in 2020. The team will take a monstrous dead cap hit if they release him at any point over the next three years, which means he's basically tied to the Rams through the 2022 season.
4. Le'Veon Bell, RB (Jets)
2020 cap hit: $15.5 million (First among running backs)
When the Jets gave Le'Veon Bell a four-year, $52.5 million deal last season, they were probably hoping that they'd get more than 3.2 yards per carry out of him, but unfortunately, that's what they got from their star running back in 2019. For the 2020 season, there's no guarantee that Bell is going to be any better and there's a good chance that his contract is likely only going to look worse (Bell's cap hit in 2020 is the highest among all running backs). A big reason Bell struggled last year is because the Jets had a bad offensive line, and although they've made some key upgrades (like Mekhi Becton), the fact of that matter is that the unit was so bad that there's just no way it was going to be fixed in one offseason. Bell could also end up losing some carries to Frank Gore, who had a decent year in 2018 with the Dolphins when he was playing for the same coach he'll be playing for in New York: Adam Gase.
3. Malcolm Butler, CB (Titans)
2020 cap hit: $13.4 million
Malcolm Butler has been with the Titans since March 2018, when he signed a five-year, $61 million deal that Tennessee is probably now regretting. Going into the 2020 season, Butler will have with the seventh-highest cap hit among all cornerbacks, which would be fine, if he played like a top-seven corner, but that just simply hasn't been the case. Not only did Butler struggle for most of his first season with the Titans, but he followed that up with a 2019 season where he couldn't stay healthy. Butler's inability to stay healthy was arguably a good thing for Tennessee, because he struggled during the nine games he did play. The good news for Butler is that no matter how bad he plays going forward, almost everyone is going to remember him as the guy who picked off Russell Wilson at the one-yard line in Super Bowl XLIX.
2. Jacoby Brissett, QB (Colts)
2020 cap hit: $21.4 million (12th highest among QBs)
Not only does Jacoby Brissett have the highest cap hit of any backup quarterback in the NFL this year, but he also has the 12th-highest cap hit of ALL quarterbacks. Although Brissett had a decent 2019 season, the fact of the matter is that he's likely going to be spending the entire season on the bench, which isn't what you want to see from a guy with this kind of cap hit. Could Brissett end up playing this year? Sure, but the odds are definitely against it, and that's because he's playing behind a quarterback (Philip Rivers) who has started 224 consecutive regular season games dating back to 2006.
1. Nate Solder, LT (Giants)
2020 cap hit: $19.5 million
When the Giants made Nate Solder the highest-paid left tackle in NFL history back in 2018, they were probably hoping that his play would justify his pay, but that simply hasn't been the case. Solder has been so bad that he might actually go down as one of the free agent busts in NFL history. If you watched any highlights of the Giants from 2019, you may have noticed that Daniel Jones was almost always running for his life. A big reason for that is because of Solder's struggles: The left tackle surrendered 11 sacks last year, according to Pro Football Focus. If you're wondering what the Giants currently think of Solder, all you have to do is look at they did in the 2020 draft: After only two seasons of watching Solder play, the Giants decided they needed to upgrade at tackle, which is why they selected Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick. Two years after being signed, Solder still has the biggest cap hit of any left tackle in the NFL and the second-biggest cap hit of any offensive linemen heading into 2020.