Complicated is one word that accurately describes NFL contracts.
Many provisions within those pages allow players to earn more through incentives and bonuses.
Unlike MLB or NBA contracts, football players might not get the total amount that news outlets report.
But regardless of the terms, quarterbacks earn the most money because they play the most crucial position in the sport.
Reminder that NFL coaching contracts are fully guaranteed but players still are not. https://t.co/VL6fnK3mLx
— Blake Allen Murphy (@blakemurphy7) November 29, 2021
Great quarterbacks can lead teams to playoff appearances and even Super Bowl victories, even if they have flaws in other parts of their roster.
They also help elevate the numbers of their running backs and wide receivers.
Therefore, their performance has a massive impact on a game’s outcome, and the best play-callers deserve the big bucks they receive.
However, not all contracts are created equal, and three of them are head-scratching because of the amount and the quarterback’s production.
That said, here are the worst contracts among the men under center.
3. Matt Ryan
To his credit, Matt Ryan was a former league MVP and led the Atlanta Falcons to their second Super Bowl stint.
While the outcome of that game was depressing, the team signed him to a five-year, $150 million contract in 2018.
However, this deal is more of a reward for all the achievements he brought to the franchise.
He was 33 years old when he signed, and the Falcons regressed since that Super Bowl loss.
Matt Ryan talked today about the #Falcons "clawing back into" the division race. I asked him, after back-to-back tough losses then winning Sunday to stay in the hunt, if that mentality is their identity: "Through 11 games, I'd certainly say that's our identity. We've found ways." pic.twitter.com/0gt5NCj1Ij
— Kelly Price (@thekellyprice) December 1, 2021
Lucky for the Falcons, the contract has a potential out after the 2021 season wherein Ryan will earn around $13 million.
But it’s more likely they retain him because they have no other viable options at the position.
Therefore, Ryan may stick around until the contract expires in 2023.
Matt Ryan has faith in this team. pic.twitter.com/yiScZWVcAm
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 29, 2021
If that happens, the Falcons will be held hostage by the $48 million cap hit for him in 2022 and $43 million in 2023.
Those are big cap hits for a rebuilding roster that needs to fill up several positions.
2. Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers in 2018.
Perhaps head coach Kyle Shanahan saw enough of Tom Brady’s former backup in New England to convince him that he’s their franchise quarterback.
But other than leading the 49ers to a stint in Super Bowl LIV, Garoppolo’s stay in San Francisco has been rather disappointing.
He played a combined nine games during the 2018 and 2020 seasons, causing the team to miss the playoffs.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 29, 2021
His cap hit in 2018 was a whopping $37 million, $28.8 million of which was his roster bonus.
Worst, he remains on their books for two more seasons unless they find a trading partner for him.
Otherwise, they might be paying an expensive NFL backup quarterback if they name Trey Lance as their starter next season.
1. Jared Goff
11 games into the 2021 NFL season, and Goff hasn’t led the team to victory.
As a consolation, Goff has a budget-friendly cap hit of $10.6 million this season.
However, he will be a $31.1 million cap hit next season, and the Lions will pay that money because it’s impossible to find a trading partner for him.
Jared Goff looks downfield and pic.twitter.com/EuK6UXrQo0
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) November 25, 2021
He looks tentative every time he takes the field, and he prefers short passes over the big throws.
Likewise, their roster is a mess, and any free cap space will help them build a more competitive team.
Unfortunately, Goff’s contract will take up a massive portion of their cap, and they’d instead absorb it for one year than defer payment for later seasons.
If Goff continues to play as he does, perhaps the Lions can charge him with robbery because he stole a ton of money.