Predicting the Next NFL Stars to Sign Big-Money Contracts After Aaron Donald | Bleacher Report


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    Aaron Donald agreed to a reworked contract on Monday, becoming the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history. With the Los Angeles Rams superstar finally getting his well-deserved deal done, it’s a perfect time to highlight some other stars poised to earn big-money extensions.

    There are several players who are likely to ink their names to massive contracts soon.

    Some of these players have been franchised as a precautionary measure and are likely to hammer out a longer-term deal this offseason. Others are near the end of their current agreement, and a few are set to become eligible for their first extension as they head into their fourth NFL season.

    With that in mind, here are five players who are likely to secure a big payday in wake of Donald’s deal. Players are listed in alphabetical order.

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    The Cincinnati Bengals may have placed the franchise tag on Jessie Bates III this offseason, but it’s unlikely he’ll play the 2022 campaign on it.

    Cincinnati’s brass deployed the tag as a strategy to get a few more months of negotiating time with their star safety, as teams have until July 15 before they are locked into the terms of the tag.

    While Bates could ultimately play out the campaign for $ 12.9 million, it’s much more probable that the 25-year-old avoids signing the franchise tender and instead inks a long-term extension.

    According to’s Adam Maya, Bates said he wished to avoid a one-year deal after watching several players get hurt during a franchise-tagged season. He had previously admitted he was not happy to play out the 2021 season — the final of his rookie deal — without a new contract and should finally get his wish of long-term security this offseason.

    Bates has racked up an impressive 408 tackles, 35 pass defenses and 10 interceptions since being drafted 54th in 2018.’s Nick Shook reported that Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor called safety a “big part of what we do” after helping lead the Bengals to their first Super Bowl in over three decades.

    The Wake Forest product is now in line to earn a significant raise. Anthony Holzman-Escareno projects Bates will earn approximately $ 16 million per year on his next contract, one senior researcher believes will ring up for a total of $ 80 million over the next half-decade.

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    After hiring an agent to help with negotiations, Orlando Brown Jr. is on the right track to sign a massive contract.

    The star offensive tackle joined the Kansas City Chiefs in a blockbuster trade last offseason. The Chiefs gave up a slew of draft capital to shore up their blind side and will now want to ensure they get plenty of mileage out of that hefty investment.

    While Brown was hit with a non-exclusive franchise tag in early March — giving the Chiefs the right to match any offers the left tackle receives and compensation in the form of two first-round picks if he signs elsewhere — it appears both parties prefer to hammer out a long-term deal this summer.

    Chiefs general manager Brett Weach said there was a “no rush” to get an extension worked out back in April, but NFL insider Jordan Schultz reported a few weeks ago that Kansas City was standing by ready to negotiate as soon as Brown hired an agent.

    With that piece of the puzzle is in place, it appears it will only be a matter of time before Brown’s big contract is signed and announced.

    And the 26-year-old’s deal is going to be big. His former Ravens teammate Ronnie Stanley came to terms on a five-year, $ 99 million extension during the 2020 season, and Terron Armstead inked a five-year, $ 75 million contract this offseason, setting the market for a tackle of Brown’s caliber.

    Factor in Brown’s desire to become the highest-paid left tackle, and it’s likely the Chiefs will offer something in the neighborhood of $ 105 million over five years to lock him in.

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    Lamar Jackson has watched several of his quarterback contemporaries come to terms on gargantuan contract extensions over the past few months. Now, the Baltimore Ravens signal-caller is poised for a new, bank-breaking deal of its own.


    While Jackson is set to earn a respectable $ 23 million for the 2022 campaign after Baltimore picked up his fifth-year option, that figure pales in comparison to the extensions fellow star QBs like Aaron Rodgers (three years, $ 151 million), Matthew Stafford (four years, $ 160 million) and Deshaun Watson (five years, $ 230 million) received this offseason.

    The 25-year-old has notably been absent from OTAs at the start of training camp — workouts he never skipped during his first four seasons — as negotiations with Ravens brass have stalled.

    The club offered Jackson an extension earlier in the offseason, one the QB did not accept. He also reportedly claimed in April that he wants to wait until after the 2022 season to discuss an extension.

    While it remains to be seen if Jackson will escalate his absence from voluntary team activities into a full-blown training camp holdout, it would be in the best interest of both parties to quickly work out a long-term deal.

    If the two sides get back to the negotiating table, expect the Ravens to have to float something in the neighborhood of Watson’s new contract to get Jackson’s signature.

    A four-year, $ 187 million deal would make Jackson the second-highest paid QB in football and get him back on the open market before he turns 30, a deal that should make both sides happy.

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    Lamar Jackson isn’t the only quarterback on the cusp of a big payday. Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals is eligible for an extension and seeking a massive raise.

    While the Cardinals have already picked up the most expensive fifth-year option in NFL history, the 24-year-old could soon get an extension to match.

    There have been some bumps in the road during negotiations. On February 13, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Arizona’s brass isn’t sold on the QB as a franchise player, describing the former No. 1 pick as “self-centered and immature” following the team’s embarrassing playoff loss to rival Los Angeles Rams. About two weeks later, Murray’s agent released
    a statement calling for his client to be paid.

    According to, Murray has not been participating in voluntary OTAs, but he is expected to be in attendance for mandatory sessions starting next week.’s Aaron Decker noted that head coach Kliff Kingsbury was not surprised by Murray’s absence.

    Arizona has invested heavily in Murray’s supporting cast this offseason. The team flipped the Baltimore Ravens a first-round draft pick to acquire wideout Marquise “Hollywood” Brown — Murray’s collegiate teammate at Oklahoma — and used its first selection at No. 85 overall to bring aboard tight end Trey McBride.

    All the pieces are in place for Murray to have a successful 2022 season, one that could be devoid of drama if the two sides can work out an extension.

    While it may take some time, it would ultimately benefit both the Cardinals and their quarterback to come to terms on a long-term deal. If Arizona is willing to shell out something like $ 280 million over the next six years, Murray should be locked in and ready to be the franchise’s cornerstone.

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    Deebo Samuel’s public trade request has been a major talking point around the league this offseason. However, it’s likely he not only sticks with the San Francisco 49ers, but also signs a new contract with his current club.

    The 49ers stood pat through the draft and have consistently maintained they want Samuel to be a part of their future. San Francisco general manager John Lynch said he would be a “fool“to deal the wideout and recently reiterated Samuel will be part of the team during the 2022 season.

    Although the Niners don’t have to work out a contract extension for Samuel — he is going into the final year of his rookie deal after being drafted 36th overall in 2019 — it is in their best interests to keep one of the league’s most uniquely productive players happy and around for the long haul.

    Samuel was an integral part of San Francisco’s offense during its run to the 2022 NFC Championship Game. He played numerous positions while racking up 1,770 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns during an All-Pro regular season, and he added an additional 291 yards and two scores during the 49ers’ postseason run.

    With Trey Lance poised to take over as the team’s starting QB in 2022, San Francisco can’t afford to lose its most dangerous weapon. Fortunately, Samuel is expected to attend the team’s mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, and it appears an ugly holdout will be avoided, at least for now.

    The chances of a holdout can be erased entirely if the 49ers and Samuel can agree on a new contract. While he probably won’t command a deal valued at the same level as more proven options like Davante Adams (five years, $ 150 million), Tyreek Hill (four years, $ 120 million) or DeAndre Hopkins (two years, $ 54.5 million), he should net an offer worth close to $ 100 million over the next four years.




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