1. Mark Sanchez, 14.75 million
Yes the Jets are paying Sanchez for his potential as a high draft pick, and he may yet deliver. But after ranking 28th and 27th respectively in passer rating in the past two years, his salary has to be considered excessive at this point.
2. Dunta Robinson, 5.5 million
Six interceptions in his rookie year of 2004; another eight since. ESPN recently ranked Robinson the NFL’s 19th best corner, yet he’s paid in the top ten after inking a six-year, $57 million deal in 2010.
3. Alex Smith, 5.5 million
Smith has famously flopped since being the top overall draft pick in 2005, with just 50 starts and a mediocre 72 passer rating in six seasons. He showed improvement in 2010, though he has a ways to go to catch up to the money.
4. Paul Soliai, 12.4 million
Has started just 20 games in four seasons since being drafted out of Utah. The Dolphins slapped the franchise tag on Soliai after he showed improvement in 2010, guaranteeing him the average of the top five salaries at his position for one season. A long term deal at big money will depend on whether he continues to progress.
5. Owen Daniels, 6.5 million
A solid tight end, just not one you’d expect to be the second highest paid in the league. Daniels has had trouble staying on the field consistently since his 70-catch season in 2008, when he earned his only Pro Bowl berth.
6. Chris Hope, 6.5 million
With one Pro Bowl appearance on his resume in nine seasons, Hope will make more money than any other NFL safety this year.
7. Stanford Routt, 10 million
ESPN noted that Routt had a good year in 2010 considering how often opposing offenses picked on him to avoid All Pro Nnamdi Asomugha on the other corner. But the 15th highest salary in the league? Routt has never been an All Pro, and he’s been a regular starter in just two of six seasons.
8. Kellen Winslow, 8.3 million
Generally considered one of league's 10 best tight ends, but not to the point of being the highest paid one in the league. Winslow has won All Pro honors once in seven years.
9. Matt Cassell, 12.25 million
Tom Brady’s former backup is coming off nice a 2010 - 8th in passer rating and a Pro Bowl appearance. But the second highest QB salary in the league seems excessive.
10. Will Smith, 6 million
A steady performer since breaking in seven years ago, but few would place Smith among NFL's top 10 at his position, which is how he's paid.