Now that the NFL lockout is almost over, football geeks across the nation can start speculating about which of the 2011 free agents will get the biggest bucks.
Each season, an NFL free agent gets a huge deal rare enough to cause massive surprise from the football nation. This is either a result from the player already having gained superstar status or from coming off of a good season overall that shows the potential upside of such a player.
In the 2011 class of free agents, various players fit this bill.
Here are predictions for the 5 players who will make bank in 2011.
Last season, breakout wide receiver Vincent Jackson managed to tick off quite a few San Diego Chargers fans.
Vincent Jackson made a lot of noise holding out for most of last season when the Chargers wouldn't re-negotiate his contract. He didn't come back until October 29, one day before the deadline to take a tender and become a free agent in the offseason.
However, though Vincent Jackson didn't play a ton last season, in the games he did play, he was brilliant, just as he was in 2009.
He has the physical credentials too: He's a fast, 6'6'' wide-out who uses his size and speed remarkably well.
Though all indications are that the Chargers will franchise tag him again, he'll most likely want a multi-year deal from the Chargers. If the Chargers' manager A.J. Smith is smart (he's never proven to be, since he's terrible at managing his players), he'll make a deal to keep Vincent Jackson off the market, where tons of teams will pay Vincent Jackson max dollars.
Cullen Jenkins of the Green Bay Packers managed to wreak havoc for opposing offensive lines, and though he only played in 11 games last season, he still accumulated seven sacks, an awesome number for a defensive tackle.
Jenkins has a ton of teams pining for his services, because if he doesn't go all Albert Haynesworth, he'll turn around a defensive line almost immediately.
Nnamdi Asomugha is a perennial All-Pro.
Thanks to some silly clauses in his contract, he couldn't be retained by the Oakland Raiders under his current contract.
Of course, numerous teams will get a shot at bringing a shutdown corner into their secondary.
Asomugha doesn't put up amazing stats, but neither did the receivers he has covered his entire career. Numbers don't justify the blanket Asomugha is on the opposing wide-outs.
If teams are smart, they'll give Asomugha big money this summer.
Ahmad Bradshaw proved to be a heck of a running back in 2010 by gathering over 1500 yards from scrimmage and scoring eight times.
All this while nearly splitting the carries with fellow half-back Brandon Jacobs.
Bradshaw is only 25, which is a great age considering the shelf life of a running back—from the ages of 25 through 27 is when running backs tend to play the best ball of their career.
Bradshaw has proven to be a solid rusher in New York, and his career could be headed on its way up if he stays healthy.
If the Giants don't sign Bradshaw to a big multi-year deal, a team like the Miami Dolphins just might do so.
The San Diego Chargers' little "Lightning Bug" Darren Sproles didn't do too terribly last season as the team's primary ball-carrier.
However, he'll be making some big money regardless of his production last season.
Darren Sproles will be one of the free agents who will get a solid amount of dough, but won't produce as much as the team who picked him up thought he would.
That's because Sproles is not a primary run option, because his size is far too damning.
Oh, and he's also on the wrong side of 28.
Unfortunately, a team in desperate need of a running back would be far more than willing to sign Darren Sproles to a big contract.