Wide receivers often make the big plays in the NFL.
They get exposure whether they caught a ball against two defenders or adjusted their body in mid-air to complete the touchdown throw.
If they do those highlights and constantly gain yards, teams will offer them big contracts once their original deal expires.
It’s not impossible to hear nine-figure salaries for wide receivers, especially now in the league’s pass-happy era.
Build the perfect NFL wide receiver
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 12, 2021
Having reliable wideouts helps the quarterback facilitate an efficient offense which often leads to victories.
However, some wide receivers do not play to expectations based on their contract.
Here are the worst NFL wide receiver contracts at present.
Their teams fumbled the negotiations with these players, causing them to get overpaid.
3. Adam Thielen
The undrafted wide receiver from Minnesota State became a household name for his hometown Minnesota Vikings when he finished the 2016 season with 1,276 yards and four touchdowns.
However, he was getting started because he had 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns a season later.
Adam Thielen became a Pro Bowl selection in both years and was part of the Second-Team All-Pro in 2017.
As a result, the Vikings signed him to a four-year, $64 million extension before the 2019 season.
Adam Thielen always scores touchdowns pic.twitter.com/AR83xty61s
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 28, 2021
Unfortunately, a hamstring injury sidelined him for six games, causing him to finish that year with only 418 yards and six touchdowns.
He bounced back in 2020 with 14 touchdowns and 924 yards.
In the first year of the new deal, Thielen looks to be back on track with 686 yards and ten touchdowns after Week 12.
It remains to be seen if he can sustain this production level until 2024, when he’s 34 years old.
2. Kenny Golladay
It’s quite surprising that the Detroit Lions did not offer Kenny Golladay a second contract after his rookie deal ended.
After all, he went over 1,000 receiving yards in two of his four seasons in the Motor City.
That’s why the New York Giants took advantage of the 2019 Pro Bowler to a four-year, $72 million contract before the 2021 season.
It’s looking to be a bad investment for the Giants after the Chicago native missed three games this year.
— Kim Jones (@KimJonesSports) November 28, 2021
Worst, he only has a single 100-yard game this season and hasn’t scored a touchdown.
Golladay was also a non-factor against division rival Dallas Cowboys after finishing with zero catches on three targets.
He has 372 yards with five games left in the regular season.
Therefore, it would take a Herculean effort from him to reach the vicinity of his 2019 numbers.
1. Michael Thomas
The New Orleans Saints had no complaints when Michael Thomas was still on his four-year, $5.11 million rookie contract.
In all those years, the former Ohio State Buckeye was a Pro Bowler and was First-Team All-Pro in 2018 and 2019.
Thomas was also the 2019 NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
That’s why it was justifiable to lock him in with a five-year, $96.25 million extension.
When you worry about the Taysom Hill signing, just remember this is the team that handled Michael Thomas perfectly.
— Andy Holloway (@andyholloway) November 26, 2021
However, that deal hasn’t paid off because he missed most of the 2020 season due to an ankle injury.
The California native delayed surgery on that injured body part, expecting that it would heal naturally.
The mishandling will cause him to miss the entire 2021 season as well.
Two of the five years of Thomas’ new contract went to waste.
Dreamed some big things on my grandmama’s couch
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) November 23, 2021
With a timetable for his return still uncertain, it’s not even sure if he will return to his All-Pro form.
His contract has a potential out after this season, opening the possibility that he might play elsewhere.
If he stays in New Orleans, the Saints will absorb his cap hits of $24.7 million, $25.3 million, and $24.6 million.