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4 NFL Stars I Expect to Disappoint in 2020
It’s tough for fans to be okay with players who garner millions of dollars when their on-field performance simply doesn’t justify it. We wonder what the owners were thinking when hundreds of millions are negotiated away for a player who has not been consistently good, or consistently healthy, or both.
But it’s not our decision to make. All we can do is hope our favorite team makes good decisions and doesn’t fall for any hype, or league rumors that “another team is about to snap this player up, so we’d better act fast, and overpay dramatically.”
Every season, there is a big financial loss on some player who was meant to shine, some first-round pick that has no significant effect on the team. It’s probably just a fact of life that we’ll allow our dreams and wishes to prevail over good sense and overpay for things that we really should have considered more carefully.
You’ll see some names on this list that appear among the five most overpaid stars in the NFL, for obvious reasons. But let’s get into my list of the 4 NFL stars expected to disappoint during the 2020 season.
Drafted by Oakland and doing well enough to earn Pro Bowl invitations, wide receiver Amari Cooper was nonetheless moved to the Cowboys roster in 2018. His 2019 season was the first time in his NFL career that he started every game in the regular season, but he only scored eight touchdowns in the entire regular season, for an average of 0.5 TDs for every game played.
In early 2020, Cooper signed a five-year deal with Dallas for $100 million, $60 million of which is guaranteed. It’s a deal that has people scratching their heads. But the team is putting their mouth where their money is and gearing up fans as if Cooper is a much-lauded rookie coming in to save the day.
Cooper is not a bad player, but why spend this money on him when they could negotiate for a top-performing rookie or a free agent veteran receiver instead? He’s being paid as if he’s the backbone of a team slated to star in the postseason.
Other coaches in the NFL are feeling that Dallas got suckered in this deal. They say that Cooper is neither a natural leader nor a “difference maker” on the turf. We’ll have to see how he strides forward into the 2020 season and beyond, but right now, it looks like Dallas has overpaid—dramatically—for an okay player at a critical position.
Foles has been in the news quite a bit over the past few NFL seasons. He was a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles for several years (on and off) and took the team to the Super Bowl, where they claimed victory over the Patriots and Foles was named the MVP.
Foles was the most popular man in Philadelphia after the Super Bowl triumph. However, he moved to Jacksonville to play with the Jaguars when he was offered an $88 million contract.
Hope in Jacksonville was sky high that Foles would be the one to take the team to the Big Game, or least deep into the postseason. Things didn’t work out that way at all, to the frustration of Jaguar fans and to the detriment of the Jacksonville payroll.
Foles was injured early in the season and barely played at all. Recruiting him was considered a major bust for the Florida team. He was traded to the Chicago Bears early in 2020. He’ll make a reported $8 million with Chicago but will still receive the guaranteed monies he had negotiated for with Jacksonville.
It’s a massive payday for a man who played three games last season. The good news for Foles is that after the brutal harassment he took in Jacksonville, he can have a fresh start in Chicago.
Quarterback Jared Goff was the first overall pick in the 2016 draft (despite unimpressive combine numbers, including a 4.8s 40-yard dash), picked up by the Rams. The Rams traded up to acquire Goff and gave him an $18 million signing bonus.
Goff started seven times in his rookie season, losing each game. The 2017 season was better for him, with a 62% passing completion and 29 touchdowns, compared to six the previous year.
The 2018 season just got better, and the team made it to the Super Bowl but lost one of the lowest-scoring Super Bowls in history (13-3) to the ubiquitous New England Patriots.
In 2019, Goff’s numbers pulled back a bit; his interceptions rose, and his touchdowns fell. However, the Rams owners and staff all got together, took out their wallets, looked under the sofa for change, and re-signed Goff for $134 million, with $110 million of it guaranteed, creating a new “guaranteed money” NFL record.
His performance that season didn’t really justify it. The team did not make it to playoffs.
He’ll be entering the 2020 season under a lot of pressure to perform, since he’s taken so much of the team’s budget. Like Foles, he took a team to the Super Bowl before experiencing dropping performance stats.
Let’s see if that 2018 Rams Super Bowl run was a one-off or if Goff can help the team back into and through a solid playoff season. It won’t be easy with Seattle and San Francisco looking to have strong seasons in 2020.
The Colts quarterback was a round three draft pick in 2016, back when Jared Goff was chosen at the number one slot. Brissett has struggled to achieve a decent passing completion percentage, hovering around 60%…when he’s lucky.
Brissett did have a decent number of rushing touchdowns (4) in the 2019 season, and 18 passing touchdowns. The team finished the season with a 7-9 record. Four players from the team were selected for the Pro Bowl, but Brissett was not granted that honor.
Andrew Luck was mean to be Indianapolis’ starting QB, but he was out with injury so often that sightings of him were less frequent than seeing Bigfoot. He retired in 2019, citing discontent with the seemingly endless cycle of injury and healing.
Thus, Brissett was granted a pot o’ gold, despite a performance history that is less than exciting. He scored a two-year, $30 million deal with a guaranteed $20 million.
Time will tell if Brissett will step up and take the Colts into the postseason, which they haven’t been to in a long time, excluding one wild card loss in 2018. There have been a number of day two draft picks that excelled at the sport, became superstars, overturned the hegemony of the draft. Brissett hasn’t been one of them.
To Sum It Up
Not even a fortune-teller knows which players are going to be worth their signing bonuses, much less multi-year guaranteed payouts in the millions. One small crack in a metatarsal can end a career in less than one second.
All a team can go on is hope. Hope and a decent, recent record. The guys listed above got lucky, in that hope prevailed over their stats when they were negotiating deals with their teams.
All we can do is hope the player steps up and rewards the team’s hope with some breakout seasons.