- DK Metcalf is the worst-behaved player in the NFL, new data reveals, as the wide receiver has broken the most rules over the past three seasons
- The Seattle Seahawks #14 has seven infractions, prompting an average $22k annual fine – a higher forfeit than any of the 10 worst-behaved players
- However, these large fines for bad behavior aren’t actually that impactful, as DK Metcalf’s fines equate to less than 0.1% of his salary each year
- The most common infraction across the NFL is unsportsmanlike conduct – with DK Metcalf penalized for more instances of this than any other player
A new ranking has revealed which players in the NFL are the most poorly behaved, based on infractions and suspensions recorded over the last three seasons.
The findings, pulled together by JustGamblers, collated all the player and team violations on record from 2020 onwards – and their associated fines – to identify who causes the most disruption in the NFL – and which offenses are the most common.
And the results show that the Seattle Seahawks have selected the most problematic player, as wide receiver DK Metcalf has been given the most infractions over the period analyzed.
This makes him by far the most badly-behaved player in the league as – of all the players with an infraction – the average number of offenses per person works out at 1.3, which he has surpassed in less than 12 months, with seven infractions since the 2020 season began.
The average of 1.3 offenses reported by the league’s penalized players spans the 2020 season to now. This means DK has exceeded the NFL’s standard level of bad behavior in less than a quarter of the time, as his record works out at 1.75 rule violations a year.
These violations – which include taunting 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw and arguing with side judge Allen Baynes last season – have cost the Seahawker $88,591 so far.
This is more than any of the other top ten worst-offending players, with the Philadelphia Eagles’ AJ. Brown at the other end of the scale with $42,870 in fines – 52% less than DK.
While this seems like a significant sum, it pales when compared to the receiver’s salary of $24 million – as his violations are equivalent to 0.092% of his reported wage.
And it seems that despite being labeled ‘the most talented player on the Seahawks’ roster’ earlier this year, Metcalf’s disruptive behavior is not going wholly unnoticed, with former head coach Mike Holmgren saying that “his maturity level needs to change”.
Another player that could do with re-evaluating his behavior is Miami Dolphins’ J quarterback Jalen Ramsey, who has six infractions that have resulted in $77,748 in fines.
The top 10 worst-behaved players in the NFL, ranked
|1||DK Metcalf||Seattle Seahawks||7||$88,591|
|2||Jalen Ramsey||Miami Dolphins||6||$77,748|
|3||A.J. Brown||Philadelphia Eagles||6||$42,870|
|4||C.J. Gardner-Johnson||Detroit Lions||5||$44,495|
|5||CeeDee Lamb||Dallas Cowboys||5||$46,865|
|6||Cameron Jordan||New Orleans Saints||4||$85,500|
|7||Marcus Peters||Las Vegas Raiders||4||$48,718|
|8||Aaron Donald||Los Angeles Rams||4||$47,529|
|9||Marshon Lattimore||New Orleans Saints||4||$44,982|
|10||Frank Clark||Denver Broncos||4||$38,870|
This means the New Orleans Saints have a particularly volatile line-up heading into the 2023 season, as two of the ten worst-behaved players are on their roster. The Philadelphia Eagles had a similar problem before C.J. Gardner-Johnson was traded to the Detroit Lions.
Interestingly, the most common position held across the top ten worst-behaved players is a wide receiver (30%), marking it out as the most volatile spot on the pitch.
And despite Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Brown reporting the same number of infractions over a four-year period, the Miami Dolphins’ cornerback has been fined almost double the amount – but this hasn’t left him out of pocket, as it equates to just 0.1% of his salary.
Overall, these fines aren’t significant for any of the most disruptive players, as the highest level of impact is seen by Las Vegas Raiders’ Marcus Peters; and his fines still only equate to 0.4% of his $3 million salary.
In other words, this fine is equivalent to the average American earning $41,535 and being fined $166 (0.4%) for bad behavior – less than a week’s worth of groceries.
Of all the teams in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers have caused the most upset since 2020, amassing a huge 30 infractions over three years – totaling a huge $5.3 million. This is the highest volume of rule violations, with the league per-team average standing at 13.
The most common offense Pittsburgh Steelers’ players committed over this period was making obscene gestures – interestingly, all of which occurred during week 12 of the schedule each year – while unsportsmanlike conduct was also a frequent issue.
The most common infraction for individual players was unsportsmanlike conduct, including verbal abuse, taunting an official, or feigning an injury. DK Metcalf reported more instances of this than any other penalized player in the NFL.
Speaking on the ranking, a JustGamblers spokesperson said: “It’s really interesting to see not only which players and teams cause the most on-pitch problems in the NFL, but also what the repercussions for doing so equate to in real-life terms.
“While the majority of infractions go relatively unnoticed by fans, they can negatively impact how teams are perceived – particularly if the rule violations affect play or significantly affect the game’s end result.
“It’s an intense sport, so it’s understandable that players can slip up on the pitch. However, it’s important that they remain mindful of their actions – and that officials consider a more impactful way to deter them from offending again, rather than a diminutive fine.”
Data gathered from Sportrac and Sportico. Average salary as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.