NFL Players Hitting 2023 Free Agency Who Are Earning Major Paydays
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It’s never too early to start out
fascinated by the upcoming free-agency class. General managers across the
league have already got short lists of players they’re hoping to sign, but some
may not fit the budget after breakout years.
Several players have gone from
relatively unknown entities to stars this season, while others have elevated
their play to a level that can earn them a much larger contract than they
would have inked in the course of the 2022 offseason.
With that in mind, let’s look
at a handful of talents who’re set to money in during free agency and project
just how much they are going to make of their next contract.
Cooper Rush, QB, Dallas Cowboys
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Dallas Cowboys quarterback
Cooper Rush is making a shade over $1 million for the 2022 campaign, however the
backup-turned-starting-savior for the club could possibly be in line for one among the
biggest pay raises of any player this coming offseason.
Rush adeptly kept the Cowboys
afloat after it was revealed that the thumb injury Dak Prescott suffered within the
opener would keep him out for over a month. Over Rush’s first 4 starts, the 28-year-old racked up 775 passing yards and 4 touchdowns
and not using a single interception while his team went an ideal 4-0.
Although Rush had a nasty outing
in Week 6—he threw three interceptions in a losing endeavor against a tricky
Philadelphia Eagles defense—he should still be some of the intriguing
quarterbacks to hit the open market this spring.
Rush had spent the last half-decade
largely working as Dallas’ backup signal-caller. He was only lively for 10
games prior to the 2022 season, nevertheless, and threw just three passes between
entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan in 2017
and 2020, a yr he spent out of football after failing to make the Latest York
Giants practice squad.
Since rejoining the team within the wake of Prescott’s season-ending injury, Rush has had a meteoric rise following his time with the practice squad. After
seeing sporadic motion in 2021—including a lone start through which he went off for
325 yards and two scores while leading a fourth-quarter comeback against Minnesota—the quarterback
is now poised to potentially change into a full-time starter in 2023.
Even when Rush doesn’t find yourself
starting, he’ll make a case for being the highest backup option for franchises
needing depth on the position. He’s shown he can carry an NFL offense and
manage a game, traits that can help him stick across the league for the foreseeable
Contract Prediction: Two years,
Saquon Barkley, RB, Latest York Giants
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Saquon Barkley had an incredible begin to his profession before enduring one among the harder falls in recent memory. That’s all within the rearview now, because the running back is well on his way back
to the highest during a resurgent 2022 campaign.
Barkley entered the league as
a prized No. 2 overall draft pick of the Latest York Giants in 2018. He began
living as much as his promise immediately, ending his rookie yr by amassing over
2,000 all-purpose yards and 15 total touchdowns while earning a laundry list of
accolades that included an Offensive Rookie of the Yr award and a Pro Bowl
While his sophomore campaign
wasn’t as successful, Barkley still tallied nearly 1,500 yards and eight
scores while appearing in 13 games. Unfortunately, a pair of injury-plagued
years followed that campaign, notably a 2020 season that saw Barkley suffer a
torn ACL just two games in.
After slogging through a rough 2021 season—the running
back could only muster 593 rushing yards on 162 totes, well below the 4.8 yards
per attempt he averaged in 2018-19—Barkley finally appears healthy for the
first time in years.
Barkley has been simpler than ever in 2022
despite getting little help from a clumsy Giants passing attack. He’s posting
a median of 5.2 yards per carry and is the second-leading receiver on the roster,
notching 155 yards on a team-high 21 receptions over the primary six games.
The back has led Big Blue during their surprise
run from the league’s basement to a playoff contender. He’s been the focal
point of an offense that ranks No. 4 within the league in rushing yards with an
average of 163.0 per game. The Giants have leaned heavily on Barkley to pound
the rock while jumping out to a shocking 5-1 record.
Barkley has once more proved he could be a
versatile bell cow, and it couldn’t have come at a greater time. He’s well on his
technique to getting paid like a top featured back this offseason and will probably be
considered one among the crown jewels of the 2023 free-agent class barring injury.
Contract Prediction: Three
years, $45 million
Ethan Pocic, C, Cleveland Browns
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Ethan Pocic went into the 2022 campaign with the tall task
of replacing ironman center JC Tretter, who was released by the team and
subsequently retired within the offseason.
Pocic beat out several
contenders for the role after projected starter Nick Harris suffered a
season-ending injury during training camp. Since then, the 27-year-old has
risen from an unheralded free-agent addition to one among the NFL’s higher centers.
Over the primary six weeks of the season, Pocic has logged all
429 of Cleveland’s offensive snaps. He’s allowed just one sack while avoiding
being flagged for any penalties, earning a commendable 74.6 grade for his
efforts, per Pro Football Focus.
The hulking 6’6”, 320-pounder has also done an
admirable job clearing rushing lanes for Cleveland’s stable of running backs.
The Browns lead the league in rushing yards per game with 172.0,
a formidable mark that has been made possible by Pocic’s quality play.
While Pocic is now in his sixth season since entering the
league as a second-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, he’s still young, has logged fewer than 3,000 profession snaps and will have loads of tread left on his tires.
Pocic is barely clearing $1 million in salary on his current
one-year deal, but he’ll be handsomely rewarded in the course of the upcoming free-agency
period if he can proceed his current trajectory.
Contract Prediction: Three
years, $25 million
T.J. Edwards, LB, Philadelphia Eagles
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Linebacker is probably not probably the most lucrative job within the NFL,
but it surely’s a vital one and the most effective ones are likely to earn a pleasant payday compared
to their peers. Philadelphia Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards could soon be
joining that club because of a improbable begin to his 2022 season.
The fourth-year man out of Wisconsin got here to the City of
Brotherly Love after going undrafted in 2019. He immediately earned a rotational
role within the Eagles linebacking corps as a rookie and has since shown immense
growth every season.
Edwards put himself on the map within the latter half of the
2021 campaign. He played roughly 95
percent of Philadelphia’s defensive snaps over his final eight games, helping
guide the squad to a 6-2 record and a wild-card berth during a playoff push that turned their season around.
The linebacker finished last season with a commendable
76.3 PFF grade, amassing 130 tackles and five pass defenses along with an
interception, fumble recovery and a sack.
Heading into the season, linebackers coach Nick Rallis predicted great things from Edwards.
“He’s going to play that much faster,” Rallis said, per Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “He’s already a particularly
fast processor, extremely smart, he’s moving very well, he’s playing
physical. You guys know T.J. We’re just taking it to the subsequent level. We would like to
take every aspect of his game up one other notch.”
Edwards has delivered in the course of the first month-and-a-half of
2022. The 26-year-old is leading the team by a large margin with 55 tackles in
six games and already matched his profession high with two sacks to go along with three
Because of drastically improved coverage ability since he
entered the NFL, Edwards is now an elite three-down linebacker. Come spring, he’ll receives a commission like one on the open market.
Contract Prediction: Five
years, $70 million
Cameron Sutton, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers
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Up until two years ago, Cameron Sutton was a little-known and
little-utilized cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 2017 third-round
pick only drew two starts over the primary three seasons of his profession but
finally earned a bigger role in Pittsburgh’s defense in 2020.
on the long-awaited opportunity, ending that season with 30 tackles, eight
pass defenses, three forced fumbles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a
sack while playing 53 percent of the defensive
snaps and earning a 68.6 PFF grade.
earned him a two-year contract and a full-time starting role last yr. While
Sutton barely regressed—he had 52 tackles, six pass defenses, a pair of
interceptions and a forced fumble (61.9 PFF grade)—he was on the sector for nearly every
27-year-old’s coverage skills aren’t perfect—he allowed
48 receptions and five scores on 72 targets last yr—they’re improving in
2022. Sutton is conceding a career-low 53.6 percent completion rate when targeted
and only giving up a median of 6.1 yards per goal, down from 8.6 last
is reflected in his PFF
mark, which is a solid 70.3 after five games. He did miss half
of Week 5 after aggravating a hamstring injury—a difficulty that kept him off the
field this past week—however the corner should return to a lineup that sorely needs
If he can come
back healthy and fare in addition to he did early within the season, Sutton will secure
a lucrative contract in free agency.
Prediction: Three years, $30 million
Current contract data courtesy of Spotrac.