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Sports Opinion: NFL's most overpaid players: Jimmy Garoppolo, Kirk Cousins highlight list

13:52  13 april  2018
13:52  13 april  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

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Writer | NFL .com. + Follow On Twitter. I'd rather bet on Garoppolo ' s future than Cousins ' past. No, Kirk Cousins is not more valuable. And the fact is, in this day and age, if your quarterback is successful, you didn't overpay for him.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Pro athletes are overpaid. 

In the context of what they contribute to society compared to teachers, police officers, firemen and the like, who's going to argue? Yet who should complain given the perspective of professional sports market forces that easily support nine-figure, multi-year contracts?

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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is second on the list with a salary of million per season. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is now the third highest -paid QB in the league at .5 million MORE : Check out the NFL ' s highest paid players - regardless of position.

Still, it's amazing to learn that an NFL receiver who doesn't even average a first down per reception can pull down $47 million in guarantees and more than $15 million annually — but that's exactly what the Cleveland Browns decided Jarvis Landry was worth Thursday.

Good for Landry. Get paid while you can, especially in a league that chews up players with brutal efficiency. Still, when trying to align production with value, he sticks out among a group of the NFL's most, well — for lack of a better term — overpaid.

Our top five:

1. 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo: Wow. Five years, $137.5 million ... for a player with just seven NFL starts. Granted, "Jimmy GQ" filled the seats and the stat sheet while leading the once-woebegone Niners to a 5-0 surge to end the 2017 season. But GM John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan better pray that past performance (67.3% career completion rate, 99.7 QB rating) is at least indicative of future returns. Meanwhile, paupers like Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan can gleefully ponder their own future returns after Garoppolo help reset the quarterback pay scale.

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Garoppolo might be the highest -paid player in the NFL today, but that reign won’t last long. Kirk Cousins is likely to become a free agent this winter. If the 49ers overpaid Garoppolo , it was by .5 million — one percent of the available money they have this offseason.

2. Jaguars DT Marcell Dareus: He's in the middle of a six-year, $96.6 million pact. Nice player ... when he's giving requisite effort on the field and staying out of trouble off of it. But you can't blame Buffalo for unloading him last season, and it's worth wondering how long the Jags will pay this kind of freight for a guy who only cracked the starting lineup of their talented defensive front once after his Oct. 27 trade.

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3. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins: He'll make $84 million guaranteed over the next three seasons and, by averaging $28M, he's become the league's new top earner on an annual basis. Like Garoppolo and Landry, he cashed in when his value was peaking and the salary cap expanding. And it always helps to play the most prominent position in the American sporting landscape — fellow QBs Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford and Garoppolo have all taken turns as the NFL's most-minted passers in the last year. Yet like Cousins, none of those guys has won a playoff game. Cousins himself has some nice numbers — 81 TD passes over the last three years and at least 4,000 yards in all of them — but his record is only 24-23-1 in that period. But apparently being average in the win-loss column still allows you to be an all-pro in the funds available column.

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NFL ' s most overpaid players : Jimmy Garoppolo , Kirk Cousins highlight list . Jarvis Landry cashed in on an eye-popping deal, but there are other even more highly paid players who can't match his production - including Jimmy Garoppolo .

James Richard Garoppolo (born November 2, 1991) is an American football quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League ( NFL ).

4. Browns WR Jarvis Landry: Excluding quarterbacks, only five offensive players are earning more on a yearly basis than Landry ($15.1M average), who's played in one playoff game and averaged 8.8 yards per catch last season — meaning he didn't surpass 1,000 overall despite a league-high 112 receptions. Yes, he's a nice player with magnificent hands who can be deployed in a variety of ways. But he's not a gamebreaker who costs defensive coordinators sleep ... unlike, say, Le'Veon Bell, Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Keenan Allen et al. And if a Landry is among the league's top 10 receivers ... he's no better than 10th. Sorry.

5. Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict: This will be a fascinating case study. Despite a litany of suspensions, injuries and dumb penalties — who will ever forget that 2015 wild-card loss to the Steelers which Burfict had such a big hand in? — Cincinnati brass somehow decided it was a good idea to reward him with a three-year, $32.5 million contract. However, after Burfict's latest four-game suspension was upheld Thursday (he'll begin serving to start the 2018 season), his $11.3 million in guarantees will void. The question now becomes whether the Bengals will have the good sense to walk away from a bad deal.

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Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis

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