Division avoids being on worst-contract list

The AFC North didn't make a list on ESPN.com, and that's a good thing when you look at the topic. John Clayton put together his top 10-worst NFL contracts, which leads off with Titans running back Chris Johnson.

One reason why this division escaped recognition is half of this list is made up of quarterbacks (Michael Vick, Mark Sanchez, etc.). The only quarterback in the AFC North not working under a rookie deal is the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger. No one is going to consider the eight-year, $102 million deal given to Roethlisberger in March 2008 a "bad contract."

The AFC North, though, is linked to one of the worst contracts on the list: Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer. The Bengals traded Palmer last season in one of the best deals the franchise has ever made.

Here's what Clayton had to say about that deal:

The problem isn’t necessarily the salary. Starting quarterbacks make $10 million-plus. The problem is trading away first- and second-round picks to get him. Palmer has been average at best. He has 20 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions for the Raiders. Former coach Hue Jackson thought Palmer would put the Raiders over the top after some 8-8 seasons. He's been 6-10 as Oakland's starter.

The Bengals used the first-round pick in this deal, the No. 17 overall one in 2012, on cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. If the Raiders don’t turn around their season, next year's second-round pick for the Bengals could end up being a top-35 pick.