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Where Do Russell Wilson and Kenny Golladay’s Deals Rank?



While NFL front offices know some extensions and free agent deals will inevitably fail, no decision-maker wants one of his team’s agreements to rank among the worst NFL contracts. But with the benefit of hindsight, it’s obvious some pacts have proven to be wastes of money, while others have become total impediments to a club’s salary cap.

The NFL’s Worst Contracts

To be clear, we support NFL players making every dollar they possibly can. Professional football careers are short — given the physical risks players take, they deserve all the cash. These contracts are the “worst” from the team’s perspective.

Let’s go around the league and identify the 10 worst contracts in the NFL. We’ll start in Los Angeles, where a veteran quarterback extension isn’t working out.

10) Matthew Stafford, QB, Los Angeles Rams

After going all-in and walking away with a Super Bowl trophy in February, the Rams began handing out extensions like candy. LA’s leadership group — head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead — received new contracts, as did future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald.

Of course, the Rams couldn’t leave out Matthew Stafford, who they’d acquired from the Lions in exchange for two first-round picks and more the year prior. Los Angeles gave Stafford a four-year, $160 million extension that contains $63 million guaranteed and runs through the 2026 campaign.

But instead of competing for another Lombardi, the Rams have disintegrated. After losing to the Saints in Week 11, LA sits at 3-7 and in fourth place in the NFC West. They’re out of the playoff picture, and it’s not even Thanksgiving.

Injuries have destroyed any chances the Rams had at competing, and Stafford hasn’t been immune. He missed Week 10 with a concussion and left Sunday’s game to be evaluated for another head injury in Week 11. When healthy, Stafford has posted his worst QBR since 2014.

It’s difficult to see how the Rams will get out of this mess any time soon. They’re projected to be $5 million over the salary cap in 2023. Los Angeles can’t exit Stafford’s contract until 2024 at the earliest (and potentially not until 2025). The Super Bowl hangover is real in SoCal.

9) Chandler Jones, EDGE, Las Vegas Raiders

Although the Raiders escaped with a win on Sunday, it’s safe to say not much has gone right in Josh McDaniels’ first season in Las Vegas. While offseason trade acquisition Davante Adams has been incredible thus far, Chandler Jones — the Raiders’ top free agent signing — has not lived up to his contract.

Expected to form a fearsome duo with Maxx Crosby, Jones has posted just a half-sack and six quarterback hits through 10 games. Among 79 edge defenders with at least 150 pass-rushing snaps, Jones ranks only 59th with an 11.3% pass-rush win rate, per PFF.

That’s lackluster production for Jones, who is the NFL’s 10th-highest-paid edge rusher at $17 million annually. His three-year deal included $32 million guaranteed, and the Raiders can’t save any money by cutting him until after the 2023 season, at which point he’ll be 34 years old.

8) Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott signed his six-year, $90 million extension more than three years ago. While plenty of running backs have signed new contracts since, only two — Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara — have topped Elliott’s $15 million average annual value.

That’s a sign of how out of touch the Cowboys were when they extended Elliott. It’s spilled over onto the field, where Dallas had continued to lean on Elliott despite backup Tony Pollard appearing far more explosive.

The Cowboys restructured Zeke’s contract in 2021, pushing money to the future and making it more difficult to eventually release him. However, Dallas didn’t touch his deal this offseason, indicating that he’ll be a cut candidate in the spring. Even then, the Cowboys will take on nearly $12 million in dead money by parting ways.

7) Jonnu Smith, TE, New England Patriots

The Patriots spent $291 million on free agents in 2021, nearly $100 million more than any other team. Some of those additions, such as pass rusher Matthew Judon, have worked out. But most haven’t.

Jonnu Smith falls into the latter category. While he was always a big-play threat for the Titans, the former third-round pick never topped 450 receiving yards in Tennessee. Despite that, New England gave him a four-year, $50 million deal with $31.25 million guaranteed.

Even if your expectations were low, you couldn’t have imagined Smith would be as unproductive as he’s been for the Patriots. Last season, he recorded only 28 receptions for 294 yards and a touchdown. He’s on a slightly better pace this year, but he still has just a 20-194-0 line through 11 weeks.

Third-year guarantees are typically reserved for elite NFL players, but Smith has already secured $6.5 million of his $10 million 2023 salary. Unless the Patriots use a post-June 1 designation, it will cost them more to cut Smith this offseason than to keep him.

6) Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Given that he had just won back-to-back MVP awards, the Packers didn’t have much of a choice other than to extend Aaron Rodgers.

But at 39 years old and sans Davante Adams, Rodgers hasn’t looked like the same quarterback and ranks just 23rd in EPA per play.

MORE: Aaron Rodgers’ Contract Details

Moving forward, Green Bay doesn’t have many options with Rodgers. They can’t cut him, as doing so would result in nearly $100 million in dead money from 2023-24. And given his contract and current level of play, the Packers would struggle to find a trade partner.

Instead, the Packers have to hope Rodgers either improves his play down the stretch or simply decides to retire. Green Bay would still incur roughly $40 million in dead money if Rodgers hangs up his cleats.

5) Kenny Golladay, WR, New York Giants

Former Giants general manager Dave Gettleman signed Kenny Golladay as a free agent in 2021, so current New York decision-makers Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll don’t hold any responsibility for this deal.

Injuries limited Golladay to just five games in his final season with the Lions, but the Giants still opted to give him a four-year, $72 million pact with $28 million guaranteed. In 14 games a year ago, Golladay managed just 37 catches for 521 scoreless yards — not exactly what you’d expect from a receiver making $18 million/year.

Things have only gotten worse this year. New York is in desperate need of wideouts, but they’ve still kept Golladay off the field. He’s appeared in six games and caught four passes for 51 yards. Big Blue will almost assuredly cut Golladay in the spring, and a post-June 1 designation seems likely.

4) Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

When the Saints signed Michael Thomas to a five-year, $96.25 million extension in the summer of 2019, he was coming off a season in which he led the NFL in receptions. New Orleans had to feel positive about the deal after the 2019 campaign, too, as Thomas led the league in receptions and yards while winning the Offensive Player of the Year award.

Since then, recurring injury problems have overwhelmed Thomas’ career, as he’s appeared in only 10 games since the start of the 2020 campaign. The Saints placed him on injured reserve earlier this month, and there’s a chance he could retire this offseason due to nagging health issues.

However, New Orleans can’t afford to simply let Thomas retire or cut him. Either transaction would result in a $25+ million dead money charge, which the cap-strapped Saints can’t afford.

Instead, they’ll likely have to get creative. As Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap has detailed, the Saints can look at what the Eagles did with Alshon Jeffery and Malik Jackson in 2021. New Orleans will likely need to slash Thomas’ 2023 salary to the league minimum in order to make an eventual post-June 1 cut palatable.

NFL rules don’t allow teams to use a post-June 1 release on players whose contracts were reworked after the final regular-season game. Thus, the Saints will need to hammer out a solution with Thomas before the end of the 2022 campaign.

3) J.C. Jackson, CB, Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers were the fifth-highest-spending team in 2022 free agency, and most of that money went toward improving a woeful defensive unit. J.C. Jackson was the crown jewel, inking a five-year, $82.5 million deal with $40 million in guarantees.

Unfortunately, things couldn’t have gone much worse for Jackson in his first year with Los Angeles. After undergoing ankle surgery in August, Jackson missed two of the Chargers’ first three games.

When he did enter the lineup, Jackson struggled to adapt to Brandon Staley’s scheme and was repeatedly beaten for touchdowns or explosive plays. He allowed 13.9 yards per target and a 149.3 passer rating, both dismal figures which rank far worse than his numbers with the Patriots. Jackson was ultimately benched before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 7.

Given how fresh his contract is, Jackson will be back with the Chargers in 2023. Los Angeles could conceivably move on after 2023, but a release is more likely after 2024, at which point the Chargers will have paid Jackson more than $54 million over three years.

2) Russell Wilson, QB, Denver Broncos

Through 10 weeks, the Broncos’ trade for Russell Wilson already looks like one of the worst swaps in recent memory. Denver gave up a haul — two firsts, two seconds, and change — for the former Seattle quarterback. Yet, Geno Smith and the Seahawks are thriving, while the Broncos are near the bottom of the AFC standings at 3-7.

Wilson has been dreadful in his new uniform. His adjusted net yards per attempt (7.1) and QBR (32.2) are the worst marks of his career, and the Broncos have scored the fewest points in the league (147). Denver’s offensive performance has been so poor that head coach Nathaniel Hackett could be fired after just one season.

The Broncos opted to extend Wilson sight unseen, giving him a five-year, $245 million deal in early September. After sacrificing a significant package to acquire Wilson, it wasn’t surprising that Denver decided to give him an extension — but that pact may have put the franchise underwater for years.

MORE: Full Details on Russell Wilson’s Blockbuster Contract Extension

Wilson is locked in through at least the 2024 season. If the Broncos released him heading into 2025, they’d take a $49.6 million dead money hit, more than the NFL-record $40.53 million the Falcons absorbed when they traded Matt Ryan. Denver could use a post-June 1 cut, but that would spread the money out over two seasons.

The Broncos can release Wilson after the 2025 campaign and clear more than $27 million, but that would come with a $31.2 million dead money charge. There just aren’t a lot of good options here! Throw in that Wilson is already 34 years old and on a steady decline — Denver is in a horrible position.

1) Deshaun Watson, QB, Cleveland Browns

The Browns’ decision to trade for Deshaun Watson while he was facing 24 allegations of sexual assault is an extremely sensitive subject. Cleveland’s decision-makers — including owner Jimmy Haslam and general manager Andrew Berry — haven’t offered any satisfactory answers as to why they felt comfortable acquiring Watson despite the two-dozen accusations, and it’s a choice they’ll have to live with.

Not only did the Browns give up three first-round picks and change for Watson, but they also signed him to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract upon acquiring him. Watson, who will soon return from an 11-game suspension, had a no-trade clause with the Texans and thus was essentially able to choose his next destination.

Watson had four years and $136 million remaining on his deal with Houston, so the Browns basically gave him an extra $96 million to convince him to come to Cleveland. Remember, the Browns were originally told they were out of the Watson sweepstakes. That probably changed when Cleveland upped the financial stakes.

That no other team was willing to match Watson’s contract offer from the Browns is telling. Clearly, other clubs like the Panthers, Falcons, and Saints were willing to overlook any moral questions about acquiring Watson — but they weren’t open to handing him a fully guaranteed deal.

There may be some contract language that would allow the Browns to escape in the event of further allegations or lawsuits, but they’re otherwise locked in. It’s an astounding contract for any player, let alone one with Watson’s off-field history.

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Players To Target Include Jaylen Warren, Najee Harris, Ja’Marr Chase, and Others




The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ fantasy preview evaluates the value of their committee backfield, while the fantasy football outlook for the Cincinnati Bengals revolves around Ja’Marr Chase’s value after Joe Burrow’s injury.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

  • Spread: Steelers -1
  • Total: 34
  • Steelers implied points: 17.5
  • Bengals implied points: 16.5


An AFC North game featuring the Steelers facing a backup QB. Sound familiar? It should, we saw it last week. And by “saw,” I mean “we have a box score to prove it happened” because the game hardly popped up on “NFL RedZone” and generated very few noteworthy plays.

In that game, there were 71 passes thrown and 271 passing yards accumulated. You read that right. It feels almost impossible in this era of football, but it’s true, and while this week should be slightly better, I’m going out of my way to not be invested in either passing game.

Running Backs

Najee Harris: For reasons unknown, Harris led Jaylen Warren in snaps (33-26) and routes (12-11) last week against the Browns. He ran for just 35 yards (half of which came on a single run) on 12 carries and averaged 1.5 feet per target.

A suspect Bengals run defense as a part of a unit that allows the second-most red-zone trips per game could lead to Harris returning value this week, but he hasn’t been efficient enough to consistently continue to earn work.

I’m skeptical of his value for the stretch run, though one more usable week out of him is certainly possible.

Jaylen Warren: Can we get this man some volume? If you extend Warren’s November numbers in a clear misuse of mathematical skills … 2,086 scrimmage yards.

I’m not suggesting that he’d be an RB1 if given the lion’s share of the work in Pittsburgh, but I’d love to find out what that looks like. Even with the limited usage, he has a 20+ yard carry in three straight games and multiple receptions in nine of 10 games.

MORE: Fantasy News Tracker

I have him ranked ahead of Harris this week, but in a near-even split, neither should be viewed as anything more than a Flex option, even against the second-worst per-carry run defense in the league.

Joe Mixon: The Steelers get out-gained every week and rank 30th in time of possession. The Bengals are in damage-control mode with a backup quarterback. This looks, on paper, like a high-usage game for Mixon.

The veteran matched a season-high with five catches last week and has cleared 20 receiving yards in four of his past five games, giving him multiple paths to fantasy goodness this week.

The matchup with Pittsburgh isn’t great, but we did see Green Bay Packers RBs run for 105 yards on 22 carries two weeks ago in this spot. Mixon is the clear featured back in this offense and grades out as a viable RB2 for me this week.

Wide Receivers

Diontae Johnson: The past two weeks have been an abject disaster for Johnson managers (three catches on 12 targets for 33 yards), and while the firing of Matt Canada can only help this stagnant offense, we are in wait-and-see mode when it comes to playing any member of this passing game.

We might see an increase in route variation with the switch at OC, but with no teams on a bye this week, why jump the gun on an unknown? The Bengals held Zay Flowers to a 17.4% target share, even with Mark Andrews leaving early, a nod to their ability to lock down the short passing game.

I remain hopeful that Johnson can regain form in time for the fantasy playoffs, but at WR37, he’s not in my Week 12 lineup.

George Pickens: On our Tuesday podcast, Jacob Gibbs laid out a strong case for Pickens to be the primary beneficiary with the change in play-caller, and I tend to buy what he was selling.

Adding branches to his route tree could serve as a floor elevator, and that’s ultra-appealing in a spot where Pickens could access some of his ceilings, given that the Bengals own the highest opponent aDOT by 13.5% this season.

There’s no denying that investing in a Kenny Pickett-led offense is scary, but if I’m flexing one of their receivers, it’s Pickens as I chase his ceiling (three top-20 finishes, two of which were top 10).

Ja’Marr Chase: If you thought deciding whether or not to Flex a receiver under Pickett required mental gymnastics, just wait until you try to project Chase in this Jake Browning-led unit.

MORE: PFN’s FREE NFL Playoff Predictor

Now, Chase has scored in three of his past four games and is facing a defense with the fourth-highest opponent aDOT this season, so don’t count him out. The floor is low, and while the ceiling isn’t what it was with Burrow healthy, the talent at play here has the potential to be QB-proof.

Chase is my WR26 this week, a tick behind his average positional finish since the bye (WR23).

Tee Higgins: We’ll see if the mini-bye allows Higgins to return from this nagging hamstring injury. But even if he’s all systems go, I’m going to have a hard time getting Higgins into my top-35 wide receivers.

How much different is he from Diontae Johnson? In theory, Higgins offers more per-catch upside. But with one catch this season over 21 yards and a 12.9% dip in yards per catch, does he?

Playing with a backup QB is less than ideal. Being injured and thus not able to get on the same page is even worse.

Tyler Boyd: I wouldn’t cut Boyd until we have a feel for Browning’s target preferences, but there’s no way you’re plugging him in this week.

If Browning prefers the short passing game and Higgins’ hamstring continues to plague him, there’s a world in which Boyd holds a palatable PPR floor. That’s not a likely outcome, but it’s non-zero, which has me holding onto him through this week unless pressed to make a move for my Week 12 lineup.

Tight Ends

Pat Freiermuth: After missing more than a month, Freiermuth returned last week and turned in his fourth single-digit receiving-yardage game of the season.

He ran a route on just 42.4% of Pickett’s dropbacks, but part of that low rate was due to Pittsburgh fearing Myles Garrett’s ability to wreck the game.

Freiermuth is going to need a touchdown to pay off playing him most weeks, so I’ll fade him in this low-scoring game (TE16). I’m keeping an eye on his usage because I do think there’s a role available for Freiermuth that allows him to push the top 12 at the position for the stretch run, but I’m not plugging him into any lineups this weekend.

Should You Start Ja’Marr Chase or Drake London?

The risk of Chase makes this a conversation, but I’m still betting on this offense scheming him into the game, a benefit of the doubt I can’t give the Atlanta Falcons. Chase has scored in three of his past four games and has six scores on his ledger over his past six games.

Drake London has cleared 55 receiving yards three times this season, and I’m not overly optimistic that changes this week.

Should You Start Rhamondre Stevenson or Jaylen Warren?

For the rest of the season, I prefer Warren, but this is a Week 12 discussion, and in this matchup, Rhamondre Stevenson’s advantage in the starting role is too much to ignore.

In this spot, a repeat of his 23 touches against the Indianapolis Colts is well within reach and would put him in a position to hold a better ceiling/floor combination than even the most optimistic Warren fan can project.

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

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Jaelan Phillips Is Out for the Year




Further testing confirmed that Jaelan Phillips did indeed tear his Achilles tendon Friday night, Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel told reporters Saturday, meaning Phillips is out for the season and will have a long recovery after reconstructive surgery.

But Achilles ruptures are no longer a career death sentence for pro athletes, and Phillips will have the best possible support and resources at his attention.

Among those apparently willing to help Phillips in his recovery? Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who suffered the same injury on the same notorious MetLife Stadium playing surface just two months ago.

Will Aaron Rodgers Help Miami Dolphins LB Jaelan Phillips’ Achilles Recovery?

Rodgers has made a speedy recovery from the injury and has left open the possibility of playing again this season — which would be a previously unthinkable fast return to play.

And evidently, he’s willing to share what he’s learned with Phillips.

“I don’t know him personally, but I’ve heard great things about Aaron Rodgers and the type of human being he is,” McDaniel said. “I think he was working some channels to get in touch with Jaelan as of last night through a couple of people that have some relationships with him.

“[Rodgers] is a smart guy that’s not afraid to chase the most exotic science. Jaelan Phillips, he’s not one of those old-school, always-done-it-this-way type of guys. He would be open to whatever.”

Phillips has no chance to return this year, but an accelerated recovery process could up the odds that he’s ready for the start of the 2024 season, which is a little under 10 months off. Achilles recoveries often last a year.

MORE: Miami Dolphins Depth Chart

McDaniel’s more immediate concern? Replacing Phillips’ production.

The third-year linebacker leads the team in sacks (6.5) and hurries (5), is second in tackles for loss (8) and pressures (15), and ranks fourth in quarterback hits (11).

McDaniel confirmed Saturday what most assumed: Phillips’ playing time will go to Andrew Van Ginkel (who already has logged 61.9% of the team’s defensive snaps) and Emmanuel Ogbah (21.3%). Both Van Ginkel and Ogbah have four sacks on the season.

“The players shape what that is exactly to a T, but without a shadow of doubt, it’s gonna be those two individuals that will have to step up,” McDaniel said, adding that off-ball linebacker David Long will also see his role increase. “… You don’t necessarily replace it, but it just gives different people opportunities, and you can spread that out to do your best to compensate for that production loss.”

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more! 

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Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and His Girlfriend Announce Pregnancy




Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and his girlfriend Sarah Jane Ramos are expecting a baby girl.

Prescott’s Girl Dad Era Incoming

The news broke when Ramos posted maternity pictures on her Instagram with the caption, “A little bit of heaven sent down to earth. Our immeasurable blessing. I cannot wait to raise a strong, confident, beautiful baby girl with you, Dak.”

Prescott commented on the post, “How thankful I am to do this with you can’t be explained! God makes no mistakes and nothing is coincidental and for that, I thank Him daily! I love you, and y’all can always count on me. Let’s do this Mama!”

The quarterback then reposted Ramos’ announcement on his Instagram story with the caption, “Girl dad incoming.”

There is no word yet on when the baby is due, but this will be Prescott and Ramos’ first child together.

Prescott and Ramos launched their relationship on Instagram last week when she posted a carousel of pictures from her 30th birthday, and there was a picture of both of them.

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Ramos has also posted pictures of her attending a Cowboys game in the same post with the caption, “Entering a new decade with so much gratitude. Blessed and thankful for my family and friends that celebrated with me in my new home. I truly have everything I could wish for and have a feeling this next chapter will be the best one yet. #30.”

The next chapter will be a big one for the two as they enter their first-time parent era together.

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