This is not the first time such comments have been made. When Long was drafted in 2008, his record salary—the highest ever given to a rookie offensive lineman—was brought into question.
"There's something wrong about the system," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. "The money should go to people who perform." Long's salary was one of the inspirations for the tighter rookie salary cap that was later implemented.
Long is an interesting case because he was the last non-quarterback to be picked first overall in an NFL draft. After Long was picked in 2008, the following years were all quarterbacks—Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. The first pick the year before in 2007 was JaMarcus Russell, another quarterback.
Long's unique situation is the main reason he is paid so much more than other young offensive linemen. Long's cap hit of $13 million this year is more than a lot of quarterbacks make and is three times that of Duane Brown, the No. 1-rated offensive tackle in the NFL.
While Long is having a poor season so far—rated the No. 34 tackle—he has history on his side. He reached the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons and in 2010 was arguably the best left tackle in the league.
Now in his fifth year, he is earning the biggest salary of his career and is simultaneously off to his worst start. This combination is likely what pushed him onto the most overpaid list. Though it is still questionable whether or not he belongs at the top of that list.
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