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July 08, 2023

The 10 worst contracts in Philadelphia right now

Which athletes in Philly are the biggest financial liabilities?

It's not nearly as bad as it's been in the recent past, thanks to new management teams (plus Howie Roseman) in respective Philly front offices, but there is always some dead weight on the salary cap sheet.

Which players for the Eagles, Sixers, Phillies and Flyers are currently dragging with them the worst contracts in the city?

After a week of ranking things — from the best jerseys to buy to the top young budding stars in Philly — we'll wrap things up by looking at the 10 worst contracts currently in the city. 

10. Derek Barnett, Eagles DE

CONTRACT: 3/$15,210,000 | EXPIRES IN: 2024

The former first round pick had just 2.5 sacks in 2021, and missed all of 2022 with a torn Achilles. He's better known in recent years for personal fouls than getting to the QB.

It's clear their $15 million investment in giving the pass rusher a second contract may have been a misstep, but perhaps he'll return to his 2019-2020 form when he combined for 12 sacks over those two seasons. He'll come off the books next spring.

9. Trea Turner, Phillies SS

CONTRACT: 11 yr, $300,000,000 | EXPIRES IN: 2034

Currently, paying more than $27 million a year for a .250 hitter who can't lead off and doesn't hit home runs seems... like a bad investment. For whatever reason, Turner is in the midst of his worst statistical season ever during his first year in Philadelphia. The numbers suggest he'll be better — even later this season — but if the Phils don't get a .300 hitter who is a perennial All-Star from the 30-year-old, this contract could become a major problem very soon.

8. Fletcher Cox, Eagles DT

CONTRACT: 1 yr $10,000,000 | EXPIRES IN: 2024

This one is a one-year deal, and the Eagles can afford it, but it's also very strange. The Birds and Cox played quite the interesting game of contracts, cuts, re-signing and more over the last few years and Cox is 32 and showing decline. Still, he had seven sacks last year. With rookie Jalen Carter, second year first round pick Jordan Davis and breakout tackle Milton Williams already on the roster, Cox might find himself a rotational player, not a starter in 2023. 

7. Ryan Ellis, Flyers D

CONTRACT: 8 yr $50,000,000 | EXPIRES IN: 2027

Ellis played in exactly four games last season, and for a team rebuilding and looking to get young, paying a 32-year-old veteran defenseman $6.25 million per season seems like a lot. The interesting part of this extremely long deal is that in theory, Ellis should still be under contract with the Flyers when Philly is competitive again, perhaps in 2025 or 2026. But at that point he'll be in his late 30s.

6. Sean Couturier, Flyers C

CONTRACT: 8 yr $62,000,000 | EXPIRES IN: 2030

Couts is one of the best defensive centers in hockey but he — along with Ellis — has had awful injury luck and it has cost the Flyers dearly, accelerating their demise into one of the most mediocre teams in the sport. After winning the Selke Trophy in 2020, Couturier has played just 74 of a possible 184 games. He also carries a no movement clause in his deal, making any potential trade of his massive salary even more complicated.

5. Tobias Harris, Sixers PF

CONTRACT: 5 yr $180,000,000 | EXPIRES IN: 2024

In years prior, Harris' contract would probably be way higher on this list. But he's finally in his final season, and the Sixers are in a little better shape now than many expected when it comes to their salary ledger. Harris and James Harden are each slated to become free agents after the 2023-24 season, giving them a ton of cap space next summer. The issue is that there aren't really any desirable free agents coming onto the market then. Harris has been a good player in Philly but he's not worth the $39 million he'll be paid this coming season.

4. Travis Sanheim, Flyers D

CONTRACT: 8 yr $50,000,000 | EXPIRES IN: 2031

Here's another massive deal the Flyers signed when things were more optimistic. Will Sanheim be in the picture when the team is contending again? He was minus-5 last season with 23 points over 81 games. He's a decent player but the Flyers can likely better allocate this money as they try and collect younger players and assets.

3. Darius Slay, Eagles CB

CONTRACT: 3 yr $42,000,000 | EXPIRES IN: 2026

There is nothing wrong with Darius Slay. He's an elite cornerback and was a key piece of the Eagles NFC-winning defense last season. However, he is 32, and he will be 34 when his deal is over. Cornerbacks get old and slow fast in the NFL and it was somewhat surprising that the Eagles decided to go the veteran route, bringing back James Bradberry as well — knowing full well about the potential decline of each. 

2. Rasmus Ristolainen, Flyers D

CONTRACT: 5 yr $25,500,000 | EXPIRES IN: 2027

The worst thing about this contract is the Flyers signed Risty to it just two seasons ago. That's right, Chuck Fletcher and his regime thought this signing would save their jobs somehow. He's created just 36 points over his two years with the Flyers and has not been a winning member of the defense. And he's going to make more than $5 million for the next three seasons. This will wind up being one of those contracts the Flyers are stuck eating to get a late round pick for.

1. P.J. Tucker, Sixers F

CONTRACT: 3 yr $33,043,500 | EXPIRES IN: 2025

Was giving a 38-year-old undersized forward a three year deal ever a good idea? The Sixers will pay Tucker $11 million for the next two seasons and while he did provide some stellar defense in 2022-23, he's a liability on offense and will likely decline even more as the Sixers look to make good on their closing window for contention. 

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