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Johnathan Joseph, Vernon Davis not 'most overpaid'

Forbes released its list of the most overpaid players in football. While the magazine didn't botch the list as badly as its highest-paid coaching list -- at least we know what the players make -- the exercise leaves a lot to be desired.

The list only counts players making at least $5 million. That discounts players like deposed former Buffalo Bills defensive end Shawne Merriman, whom the team had to pay millions not to pay. It uses All-Pro nods as a defining trait of quality, when that honor can be somewhat random. The list also ignores the larger structure of deals.

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New York Jets linebacker David Harris was named the most overpaid player on the list at $12 million. It's not a crazy pick, but the average annual salary in Harris' four-year deal is just $9 million. This just happens to be a year he gets more.

For the most part, the list is full of very good players who are paid like great players. Harris, Miami Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby and Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis qualify there. (It's worth pointing out teams could easily cut these guys if they really thought the players were overpaid.)

We're essentially writing this post only because Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph is listed third. He's making $9.75 million. By any subjective or objective measure last year, Joseph was one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Scouts and advanced metrics agreed on him; Joseph might have been the second-best cornerback in the league. He finished second-team All-Pro.

The Texans would gladly pay Joseph that money again and again. They'd probably pay him more if he kept up this level of performance.

San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis also is somehow ridiculously on the list, which can be seen here. He'd make any list of the top-five tight ends in football. We guess no one wants to pay for blocking.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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