Posted 1 day ago | By Seth Trachtman
Contracts are an oft-debated topic in sports, and finding great values while avoiding bad contracts is especially important in the NFL due to the salary cap. These players have the “honor” of being the most under- and overpaid players at their respective positions in the league going into 2021. Salaries are based on cap hits from Spotrac.com.
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Underpaid quarterback: Lamar Jackson, Ravens
Baltimore has picked up Jackson’s fifth-year option in 2022 when he will make over $23 million. However, he remains a bargain for now, with a cap hit of just over $3 million for Baltimore in 2021. The 2019 MVP has emerged as a superstar on one of the AFC’s best teams.
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Overpaid quarterback: Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
Kyle Terada / USA Today Sports Images
San Francisco gave Garoppolo a huge contract extension after acquiring him from New England in 2017. He led the team to a Super Bowl in 2019 but missed most of the 2018 and 2020 seasons due to injuries. His hold on the starting job this season is shaky after the 49ers selected Trey Lance third overall, yet Garoppolo’s cap hit is over $26 million, sixth-highest among quarterbacks.
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Underpaid running back: James Robinson, Jaguars
Robinson went from undrafted rookie to legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate last season, with over 1,400 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns in 14 games. His salary-cap hit is below $800,000, but Jacksonville still used a first-round pick on Clemson running back Travis Etienne this year.
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Overpaid running back: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
Elliott remained productive last season but clearly seemed to lose a step in his fifth season. He averaged a career-high 4.0 yards per career and failed to reach 1,000 yards rushing. The Cowboys could regret the big contract they handed Elliott two years ago, which includes a $13.7 million cap hit in 2021, the highest at the running back position.
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Underpaid wide receiver: D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks
Metcalf dropped to late in the second round of the 2019 draft due to injury concerns, but he’s become a true superstar in his two-year NFL career. Still on his rookie deal, Metcalf will count only $1.25 million against the cap this season despite recording over 1,300 receiving yards and 10 scores last season.
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