Tyler Higbee is making a little over $9 million with the Los Angeles Rams this season, but is he the “most overpaid” player on the roster? He’s got some competition for that title, but Adam Gretz of YardBarker didn’t mention anyone else as the most overpaid on the Rams:
Most overpaid: Tyler Higbee, tight end | This is a case of a good player having what might be a bad contract. There is nothing wrong with Higbee as a receiving option. He will haul in 50-60 passes for 600-700 yards and score a couple of touchdowns. Fine player. But he makes more than $9M per season and has the ninth-highest salary cap hit among tight ends in the league. Is he a top-10 tight end? Probably not.
It seems that Gretz is merely going by average annual salary in his analysis, which is not the best measurement to use for a title like “most overpaid” but let’s use it anyway.
Joe Noteboom signed a three-year, $40 million contract, meaning he makes about $13 million per year and he got $25 million guaranteed. That means he will get $25 million from the Rams even if he doesn’t win a starting job on the offensive line this year, which is possible. Noteboom played in six games in 2022 after signing his new deal and that came after only 17 career starts in four seasons.
Rob Havenstein is a much more reliable tackle, but even his $34.5 million extension over three years is at least a little questionable. Havenstein can’t be cut in any of the next three years without the team losing money against the cap, meaning that the right tackle veteran will basically be assured $9.7 million in 2023, $14.7 million, and $11.3 million in 2025. He will also count against the cap by $7 million in 2026 even though his contract will have already expired. You could argue that Havenstein, for a right tackle who isn’t Lane Johnson, is at least somewhat overpaid.
On the high end, Cooper Kupp signed a three-year, $80 million contract. Aaron Donald has a three-year, $95 million contract. And Matthew Stafford has a four-year, $160 million contract. This isn’t to disparage any of those players, but expectations are much higher for L.A.’s big three stars because they make almost as much as the rest of the entire roster combined.
On the “discount” end, Gretz cited Cam Akers as the Rams best value:
Most underpaid: Cam Akers, running back | It took Akers a couple of years to get a shot at being the starting running back. When he finally got it, he took advantage, finishing the 2022 season with three straight 100-plus-yard rushing performances that locked him into the starting role for this season.
Akers makes just $1.9M against the salary cap, and if he can build on what he did in the second half of last season, he could be a star.
But who is the most overpaid player on the Rams?
Tyler Higbee at least has a few good games now and again. Plus his actual annual salary is $7.25 million, which doesn’t even rank in the top-15. The most overpaid player is Joe Noteboom and it’s not even close.