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NFL Players Hitting 2023 Free Agency Who Are Earning Major Paydays | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

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NFL Players Hitting 2023 Free Agency Who Are Earning Major Paydays

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    Sarah Stier/Getty Images

    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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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 16: Cooper Rush #10 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 16, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    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
    future.

    Contract Prediction: Two years,
    $20 million

Saquon Barkley, RB, Latest York Giants

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 16: Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on October 16, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Elsa/Getty Images

    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
    nod.

    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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    CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 22: Cleveland Browns center Ethan Pocic (55) leaves the field following the National Football League game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns on September 22, 2022, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    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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    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 09: T.J. Edwards #57 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs off of the field against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on October 9, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    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
    pass defenses.

    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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    PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 02: Cameron Sutton #20 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball in the third quarter against the New York Jets at Acrisure Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    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.

    Sutton capitalized
    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.

    That showing
    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
    defensive snap.

    Although the
    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
    yr.

    This development
    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
    him soon.

    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.

    Contract
    Prediction: Three years, $30 million

    Current contract data courtesy of Spotrac.

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