Top Ten Largest NFL Free Agency Contracts of 2014
Learn About the Most Expensive NFL Free Agents of 2014
2014 NFL Off-Season
Sticking with our free agency theme from yesterday, today we’ll break down the ten biggest contracts of this year’s off-season. Some of the names on this list (Talib, Byrd, Jackson, anyone?) won’t surprise you at all, while others are a little bit befuddling. Everything is laid out below.
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1. The Denver Broncos’ brass clearly believe that Aqib Talib (alongside big guns DeMarcus Ware and TJ Ward) is a critical piece of the defensive puzzle in 2014. The club signed the former Pats’ CB to a 6-year, $57,000,000 contact. Talib’s guaranteed to see $26,000,000.
2. S Jairus Byrd was hands-down the most sought after free agent of 2014. When Byrd and the Bills were unable to work out a deal, there were approximately 31 other clubs that wouldn’t have been upset to have him on their rosters. New Orleans won out (though how they came up with the cap space is still an unanswered question), inking Byrd to a 6-year, $54,000,000 contract, with $26,300,000 guaranteed.
3. Miami has had their eye on former Chiefs’ LT Branden Albert since before last year’s draft. They were finally able to make him a Dolphin in 2014. Albert’s contract is worth $47,000,000 over 5 years. Albert will see $26,000,000 no questions asked.
4. DE Michael Johnson became part of of Lovie Smith’s complete overhaul in Tampa Bay. The former Cincinnati Bengal was signed to a 5-year, $43,750,000 contract, of which $16,000,000 is guaranteed. Smith’s excitement about being at the helm of the Buccaneers is contagious and Johnson should be able to pump some life to a defensive squad that has struggled of late.
5. Oh, DeSean. Former Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson has seen his fair share of controversy this off-season. There was immense drama surrounding a possible gang affiliation, which Jackson and his crew, of course, denied vehemently. Nonetheless, the Eagles decided to cut him loose, leaving teams around the league clambering to sign him whether or not the Crip rumors hold water. The Eagles NFC rival Washington Redskins eventually secured Jackson, offering him a 4-year, $32,000,000 contract. Jackson’ll get a guaranteed $16,000,000. I can’t be the only one excited to watch those two games…
6. The Atlanta Falcons secured DT Paul Soliai with a 5-year, $32,000,000 contract. Soliai’s guaranteed to take home $11,000,000. This is a fairly large contract for a former fourth-rounder, but Soliai is a true 3-4 guy, which means he ought to be able to help Atlanta’s D move away from it’s current 4-3 scheme. They’ve been running something of a 3-4/4-3 hybrid, but it looks like they’re finally committed to making the change completely.
7. Former Broncos G Zane Beadles was snapped up by the Jacksonville Jaguars fairly early in free agency. While Beadles has looked good the past couple of seasons in Denver, it should be noted that his numbers dramatically improved when a certain No. 18 took over under center. The 5-year, $30,000,000 contract that the Jags gave Beadles might be a little large, but he should improve their dismal situation and the club has enough cap space that overpaying for one player isn’t a major issue.
8. As per usual, the Oakland Raiders have made some truly confusing moves recently. On the first day of free agency, for instance, they signed G Austin Howard to a 5-year, $30,000,000 contract. This prompted Raiders fans everywhere to react, rightfully so, with utter incredulousness or mild scorn. Howard is a relatively unknown player whose numbers are not overly impressive. One would think that with more cap space than any other team in the league, Oakland could bolster the roster with some bigger names. Here’s hoping the Raiders’ front office knows something about Howard that the rest of us don’t…
9. The Cleveland Browns let LB D'Qwell Jackson go (thanks from Indy fans, guys) and promptly brought in LB Karlos Dansby to replace him. Dansby is certainly talented, but he is older than Jackson and his 4-year, $24,000,000 is more expensive than what the Colts secured Jackson for. This is slightly strange, but it seems likely that Pettine and Co. are taking an “out with the old, in with the new” approach, in which case this isn’t the world’s worst move.
10. The Tennessee Titans jumped at the chance to sign RT Michael Oher when the Ravens released him to free agency. Oher signed a 4-year, $20,000,000 contract, with over $9,000,000 guaranteed. Despite the Titans apparent excitement to have Oher on-bard, he was the fifth worst RT in the league in 2013. Throughout Oher’s career, he’s allowed no fewer than 5 sacks per season. I’m not entirely sure where Whisenhunt and Co. are going with this, but we’ll wait until the season starts to pass judgement.