The NFL's most overpaid players in 2021

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

September 15th, 2021

There are plenty of lists we make that you want players from your favorite NFL team to make. This, however, is not one of them. Today, we’ll dive in and rank the five most overpaid players in the league. Here’s what we’ve come up with!

5. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)

2021 cap hit: $26.9 million

We’ll start off with Matty Ice, who is in the midst of his 14th season under center for the falcons. Make no mistake, Matt Ryan is a good quarterback. However, since the start of the 2018 season, he’s just 18-30, and while most of his stats are fine, he hasn’t lived up to a price tag that makes him one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league.

4. Zach Ertz (Philadelphia Eagles)

2021 cap hit: $12.7 million

This is a case where a player has done tremendous work for his team, but is just on the downside of his career. Many expected Ertz to be traded before the 2021 season, but he returned to Philadelphia. Ertz is a veteran who brings plenty to a locker room, but is it enough to justify the lofty cap hit? I don’t think so.

3. Trey Flowers (Detroit Lions)

2021 cap hit: $19.9 million

Flowers broke into the league several years ago and emerged as a presence on some formidable New England defenses in the mid-2010s, and it wasn’t surprising to see him get paid when his initial contract expired. His 2019 season with Detroit was fine, as he recorded seven sacks, but he played just seven games in 2020. His cap hit of nearly $20 million makes him one of the highest-paid defensive players in the league, and he has some work ahead of him to justify what he’s being paid.

2. Trae Waynes (Cincinnati Bengals)

2021 cap hit: $15.8 million

This contract didn’t make much sense after the 2019 season and has only looked worse with time. Waynes spent five seasons with Minnesota and was a solid, unspectacular cornerback. Cincinnati inked him to a three-year contract, only to see him not play a single game in 2020. He hasn’t suited up yet in 2021, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cincinnati take advantage of a potential opt-out clause after this season.

1. Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans)

2021 cap hit: $15.9 million

Yeah, I couldn’t go anywhere else with the top spot. Due to multiple sexual assault allegations and the lengthy investigations they’ve spawned, it’s unlikely we’ll see Watson suit up for the Texans, or anyone else, this season. That makes the money he’s making a sunk cost.