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The Worst Tri-State Area Football Contracts In History

The worst contracts in New York Jets and New York Giants history.

Al Bello/Getty Images

Al Bello/Getty Images


Over the last few weeks, we here at Double G Sports have examined some of the worst contracts in tri-state sports history. First up was hockey with Rick DiPetro taking the crown, followed by former New York Knick Stephon Marbury winning the title of basketball’s worst contract in area hoops. Today, we will examine America’s new pastime of the NFL and in particular the worst contracts in New York Jets and New York Giants history.

In the NFL (no, I will not call it the National Football League like everyone else), most teams are extremely careful when it comes to contracts. Since the creation of the salary cap, general managers are very cautious to not spend their money foolishly, with the exception of the Washington Redskins. The Redskins have may it perfectly clear that they have no idea what they are doing.

Locally, both the Jets and the Giants have had their share of contract…um, screw-ups. For the Giants, theirs have come far and few in between has they have always been a franchise known for building through the draft for the most part. The Jets have had more issues with free agency signings but that came from the front office trying to constantly hit home runs instead of playing small ball with their roster. Enough of me talking, here are the worst contracts in tri-state football history.

Dwayne Harris- 5 yrs. / $17.5 million w/ $7.1 million guaranteed in 2015

This is one move that caught my attention by the Giants just last week. Harris, formerly a sixth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2011, was mainly used as a kick returner and special teams player. He does have four career return touchdowns in his career but none since the 2013 season. He also played a little wide receiver for the Cowboys but was relegated to the fourth receiver position this past season.

Kick returns has been such a point of concern for the Giants for years and Harris seemed like a good match. However the Giants saw Harris as too much of a commodity and gave a player with limited receiver skill and average at best return skills $7 million guaranteed and a five-year deal. Now NFL contracts are not guaranteed but the fact that the Giants spent their money on Harris shows a desperation that the Giants did not need to show this off-season on a kick returner.

LaVar Arrington- 7 yrs. / $49 million in 2006

As a lifelong Penn State fan, I was pumped when the Giants signed Arrington. At $49 million over seven years, it seemed like a good deal as Arrington was heading into the prime of his career at 27 years old. As a member of the Washington Redskins, Arrington had 22.5 sacks and over 400 tackles in his previous six seasons before joining the G-Men. Along with Carlos Eammons, the Giants believed that they had a linebacker group that could lead them to the top of the NFC East.

Of course it did not end up that way. Arrington was ineffective during his first season of his new contract, only getting one sack in six games. His season ended in game seven of the 2006 season after rupturing his Achilles tendon. There was hope that Arrington could return to the Giants in the 2007 season but then new-GM Jerry Reese proceeded cleaning house and Arrington was released in February 2007. That was the end of the Giants spending major money on free agents…until they signed previously discussed Dwayne Harris.

Neil O’Donnell- 5 yrs. / $25 million in 1996

O’Donnell was a Pittsburgh Steeler hero leading the team to Super Bowl XXX against the Dallas Cowboys. He parlayed that success into a major free agent contract of 5 yrs./ $25 million with Jets in 1996. Up to that point in his career, O’Donnell threw for over 12,000 yards and 68 TD’s in five seasons. The Jets assumed that they were getting a legitimate NFL quarterback and someone that could lead their team.

Unfortunately for O’Donnell, he showed up at Giants Stadium during the Rich Kotite era and the 1996 Jets finished 1-15 with O’Donnell going 0-6 in six starts until a shoulder injury put him out for the remainder of the year. He did go 8-6 for Gang Green in 1997 under new coach Bill Parcells, throwing for over 2,700 yards and 17 TD’s. However that performance was not good enough for the Jets as O’Donnell was eventually released by the Jets soon after the 1997 season ended. He did finish his career with the lowest interception percentage in NFL history if that means anything to anybody.

Mark Sanchez- 3 yrs./ $40.4 million in 2012

This is the one contract that takes the cake. Before we go into the new deal, let’s look at Sanchez prior to it. He led the Jets to two consecutive AFC Championship games and legitimately progressed from year one to year two. In 2011 however, Sanchez’s game saw a massive drop-off as it seemed like he could not complete a pass to a wide receiver. Even though he threw for 26 TD’s and 3,400 yards, his receivers complained about Sanchez and his work ethic and terrible play.

The Jets in the off-season traded for Tim Tebow, a move that many believed would spell the end of the Sanch-ise in New York. But in the infinite wisdom of former general manager Mike Tannebaum, Sanchez was instead given a three-year extension worth $40 million dollars with $20 million guaranteed. In 2012, Sanchez hit rock bottom—13 TD’s, 18 Int’s and one Butt Fumble as the Jets finished 6-10 and everyone began to call for Sanchez’s head.

In 2013, new Jets general manager John Idzik drafted Geno Smith in the NFL Draft and people once again thought that Sanchez’s career as a Jet was over. Sanchez was set to compete with Smith for the starting job but a shoulder injury in the preseason ended Sanchez’s season and his Jet career. He ended up signing with the Philadelphia Eagles and actually showed some flashes of brilliance in the 2014 season after Nick Foles went down. But for Jet fans and others, Sanchez had one defining moment in New York in the last three years…the Butt Fumble.

This article, like the other two, is subjective. This is one person’s view on the worst contracts but what is your view? Let us know in our comment section and tell us what you think.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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