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Certain NFL athletes have gained reputations that are far grander than what the reality of their current statistics might suggest, and for that reason they are lopped into the “overrated” category.
To label any pro athlete as “overrated” is tricky, because on the surface it sounds like they are being accused of being a has-been or of not being talented enough to play in the NFL, but neither of those interpretations is accurate, especially for the players included on this particular list.
These ten NFL athletes are known as franchise playmakers and superstars, but one look at their latest numbers and it is easy to wonder if they are a bit overrated by the fans and their front office or if they do still deserve their reputation as being total difference makers on their team.
Known as one of the best and toughest slot receivers in the league, Julian Edelman snags the tenth spot on this overrated list because his output in the past has depended primarily on GOAT quarterback Tom Brady being on his team, but that is no longer true.
Edelman is no doubt excellent at his position, but the 34-year old will prove to be overrated in 2020 once he is being targeted by Brady’s young replacement, Jarrett Stidham, who may not have the same timing and success with the quick release that Brady and Edelman did.
Now if Edelman proves his worth in 2020 with Stidham under center, it will make his inclusion on this list seem uncalled for, but chances are at this point the only way he will stay relevant in the league is if he pulls a Gronk and finds his way onto the Tampa Bay roster.
Cornerback Kendall Fuller is one of those athletes who is no doubt talented but perhaps overrated given the output he had last season for the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, with zero interceptions and less than 50 total tackles.
The question becomes whether Fuller is worth the $40 million contract he just signed this offseason with the Washington Redskins, including $23.5 million guaranteed, and when you look at his total output last year it gives him the number nine slot on this overrated list.
Now that is not to say that Fuller didn’t have his moments in 2019 – he did make some crucial fourth-quarter plays in Super Bowl LIV including an interception – so his flashes of brilliance could be why he scored such a big contract, but he will have to prove his worth in Washington or remain suspiciously overrated.
Last August, the Jacksonville Jaguars and outside linebacker Myles Jack signed a four-year, $57 million contract extension with $33 million guaranteed, and soon thereafter Jack had a disappointing 2019 season.
It started with being disqualified in Week 1 after throwing a punch at Kansas City Chief Demarcus Robinson and ended with him being placed on injured reserve at the beginning of December after hurting his knee during a game.
As one of the top-paid linebackers in the league now, Jack instantly becomes overrated until he stays healthy for an entire season and manages some statistical output that measures up to all those millions of guaranteed dollars he is being paid.
From his rookie season in 2011 up until the 2015 season, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green was not only his team’s best playmaker, he was one of the top receivers in the NFL, a reputation that was based on 5 straight seasons of 1,000+ passing yards and three double-digit touchdown years.
But for three of the last four seasons, Green has been plagued by the injury bug and even missed the entire 2019 season, seven games in 2018 and six games in 2016 all due to various injuries sustained during play.
The Bengals placed the franchise tag on Green this offseason, so it will be a prove-it year for this now overrated, once dependably excellent receiver, a season that may or may not be improved by the addition of superstar quarterback Joe Burrow, a rookie expected to make an immediate impact under center for the Bengals.
The Indianapolis Colts seem to be placing a whole lot of faith in veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, whom they acquire through free agency during the offseason to fill a need under center that never truly got filled after superstar Andrew Luck retired just before the 2019 season began.
Sure, Rivers the 8x Pro Bowler could magically find new life with the struggling Colts at the end of his career and reach the Big Game for the first time in his career, but the odds of that happening seem slim and Rivers’ ability to save the day seems to be overrated.
The question becomes whether Rivers can help improve the team better than Jacoby Brissett could last season and give rookie QB Jacob Eason a chance to learn and settle into the league from the sidelines before he is forced to get into the mix in Indianapolis.
For the last two years, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald failed to crack 1,000 total passing yards and he has not caught for double digit touchdowns since the 2013 season, though his reputation as one of the best at his position remains.
What solidifies him on the overrated list is his lack of production versus his cost, which right now stands at $11 million for the 2019 season on a one-year re-sign that seems more costly than it could be worth.
Especially when you factor in newly acquired star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who could make it even more difficult for Fitz to snag enough targets to break 1,000 total passing yards, something that you would expect an $11 million receiver to easily do.
First off, there is no doubt that Jadeveon Clowney is an excellent football player who adds production to whatever defense he lines up for, and so far, that’s been the Houston Texans (they selected him first overall in 2014) and the Seattle Seahawks.
In his six NFL seasons, Clowney has posted 32 sacks, 9 forced fumbles, 8 fumble recoveries, 14 passes defended and 236 total tackles, numbers that have earned him spots in 3 Pro Bowls and a Second-team All-Pro selection.
Where the talented Clowney becomes instantly overrated is in the self-assessment of his overall value as a player, his asking price in free agency starting at $20 million per season and now being dropped to around $17 million, with no team at this point willing to pay him even that much for his services.
For the last three seasons, Odell Beckham Jr. has underperformed for both the New York Giants and the Cleveland Browns, so his reputation as one of the league’s best wide receivers has him third on this overrated list.
His talent isn’t an issue, but OBJ’s ability to stay healthy has definitely come into question, his latest injury a core muscle issue that required surgery and rehab in the offseason, and as a result, Beckham has become a huge question mark, though with plenty of potential remaining.
Beckham’s first three seasons in the league solidified him as one of the NFL’s best at his position, but lately, OBJ has not been delivering the goods – with single-digit scores and well under 80 receptions per season for the last three years – so at this point he has become totally overrated until further notice.
For the money that the Los Angeles Rams are now paying quarterback Jared Goff – a four-year extension worth $134 million with $110 million guaranteed – you would have expected him to have a far better season than he did in 2019.
Though he was the third most productive QB in terms of total passing yards last year, he was also tied for the fourth-most interceptions thrown with 16 and only the 19th best completion percentage at 62.9.
Until those numbers of Goff’s increase and the Rams find their way back to the postseason, the highly paid 5-year veteran becomes overrated and third on the list, another example of a star athlete getting highly paid and then coming up short right after.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ star Juju Smith Schuster got his big chance to shine as the number one wide receiver on the roster last season but came up short, with well under half his production from the previous season posted.
The main problem Smith-Schuster had in 2019 was the lack of a solid quarterback under center – starter Ben Roethlisberger’s season ended quickly in Week 2 with an elbow injury and his two backups, Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, never seemed to be able to find their rhythm.
Smith-Schuster was a talented number two receiver in 2018 when all the double teams and defensive attention was being paid to superstar Antonio Brown, but as the main man in Pittsburgh, Juju has proven to be totally overrated.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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