Of course, what Cousins' contract put into context was the amount of filler that comes with most NFL deals. The five-year, $40 million contract Nigel Bradham signed to stay with the Philadelphia Eagles looked like top-tier money for a linebacker who doesn't rush the quarterback very frequently, but a closer look revealed that it was really a one-year deal for $6 million or a two-year deal for $14 million at most.
You might have an idea of what a good number is for a quarterback like Cousins on a guaranteed deal, but what actually represents a significant outlay at guard or inside linebacker? And what happens when you strip out the team options tacked onto the end of most free-agent deals and extensions? Who actually has the biggest contract?
Let's go position by position and compare financial apples to apples to get a sense of what the top of the market is at each spot on the field. For each specific position or archetype, I've included the largest annual salary on paper among active deals. I've also included the largest three-year value for a player at those same positions, which is [url=http://www.officiallightningsshop.com/authentic-9-tyler-johnson-jersey.html
[/url] a measure teams use to calculate the amount of money a player is likely to take home from a given deal. It considers the [url=http://www.officialhornetsproshop.com/authentic-32-julius-erving-jersey.html
]Julius Erving Jersey[/url] cash a player will actually take home over the first three years after he signs his extension as opposed to his cap hit or the amount of new money he received in the deal.
I'll also name a player who I think is most likely to disrupt the salary structure at each [url=http://www.officialoriolestore.com/Brooks_Robinson_Jersey
[/url] position in the near future, either with a larger average annual salary, a larger three-year value on his contract or both. It's crazy to think that Cousins just made it to the top of the quarterback leaderboard, but by the end of the offseason, he might not even be No. 1.
I fully expected Cousins to come away with a minimum of $90 million on his new contract, even if it had been fully guaranteed, but Cousins ended up settling for the largest annual salary of any quarterback in NFL history. Oh well. Annual average salary figures can be inflated by non-guaranteed base salaries late in contracts that don't ever have a prayer of being exercised, but with a fully guaranteed deal, Cousins is a significant exception to that rule.
Stafford has now been able to extract three enormous contracts from the Lions, with each of the new deals being used to ease the cap pressure [url=http://www.bearsofficialauthenticstore.com/Mitchell_Trubisky_Jersey_Cheap
]Mitchell Trubisky Jersey[/url] from the previous ones. His most recent extension lowered Stafford's cap hit in 2017 from $22 million to $16 million, but it came at an enormous cost. The former first overall pick has a contract that both guarantees him $60.5 million at signing and has roster bonuses in 2019 and 2020 that become fully guaranteed 12 months in advance. As a result, Stafford realistically has a four-year, $108.5 million deal before the Lions could give any thought to moving on from their longtime quarterback.
The former Georgia star pushed the quarterback market way forward. Eli Manning set the bar for three-year money at $68.5 million in 2015, only for Andrew Luck to leap to $75 million the next year. Fourteen months later, Stafford pushed the bar significantly higher to that $87 million mark. The two quarterback contracts about to come down the pike are the extensions for Rodgers and Matt Ryan. It wouldn't be shocking if Ryan got the larger deal, if only because he's 2 years younger than Rodgers, but I do think Rodgers' status as a future Hall of Famer makes it more likely he'll end up with the larger annual average, though likely on a shorter contract.
Those negotiations will be the first real sign of the Cousins effect and whether quarterbacks -- if not players at other positions -- will be able to sign fully guaranteed contracts. It wouldn't be shocking to see Rodgers sign a fully guaranteed, three-year, $90 million deal that would top both of the numbers above and make him the first $30 million-per-year player in league history.
The running back market is unique in that so many of the largest contracts are in the past. Of the 20 largest three-year values for halfback deals since the current collective bargaining agreement was signed, 13 are no longer active contracts. Two are for draft picks, and when Saquon Barkley joins Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette in the league, he'll make it a third. There are just five veterans on non-rookie contracts in the top 20: McCoy, Jerick McKinnon (a staggering $22.8 million), Devonta Freeman ($22.1 million), Lamar Miller ($19.8 million) and Giovani Bernard ($15.5 million).
Bell will make $26.7 million between 2016 and 2017 by virtue of the franchise tag, which contextualizes just how difficult it is for the Pittsburgh Steelers and their star back to find fair value on a long-term deal. If Bell were to sign a deal guaranteeing him $15 million per year, he would make $45 million over three years, nearly $18 million more than what McCoy racked up over the first three years of his extension. [url=http://www.authenticcheapjerseysfromchina.us.com
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Every year, NFL free agency rewrites the financial record books of the NFL. The big news in 2018 was obviously the fully guaranteed, three-year deal Kirk Cousins signed with the Minnesota Vikings, but it was only one of a number of contracts that reset the salary structure at given positions over the past month. In fact, when you compare the deals to the previous highs at each spot in the lineup, Cousins' deal wasn't even the most dramatic contract of the offseason.