With the new NFL collective bargaining agreement now in place until 2020, NFL players and owners know there is stability and structure for years to come. The rookie salary cap has made negotiating rookie contracts very simple, yet provides proven players a chance to sign multimillion dollar deals.
Take, for example, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Heading into the 2012 season, the former Purdue star signed a five-year, $100 million which paid him $40 million this year. Contracts like those will continue to exist and grow with the popularity of the NFL and the new television contracts on the horizon.
One caveat for the players is the existence of the franchise tag. The tag allows the NFL team to hold onto the rights of a player who would become a free agent after the season. While getting paid the average of the top-five highest-paid players at their position sounds great, most players want a long-term deal for more security.
Barring getting hit with the franchise tag, which can handcuff negotiations, here is a list of 18 players, by position, who have set themselves up for huge paydays come March 2013.