Over the years, the National Football League (NFL) hasn’t just gained popularity throughout America but has also spread its wings to include other countries. Their introduction of multiple programs has allowed for inclusivity and led to some of the biggest NFL contracts of the decade.
The greater the popularity of the NFL, the more the players’ salaries have increased over the years. This has encouraged more talent to join the teams and take American football to new heights. The NFL gets stronger as they sign bigger and more influential contracts each year and form more powerful teams.
The following sections will explore some of the most lucrative NFL contracts signed in the last decade and their impact over the years. Keep a lookout for one of your favorite players in the list below!
The Evolution of NFL Contracts Over the Years
NFL recruitment has evolved considerably over the years. Several different reasons might have given rise to this evolution, and these factors aren’t just limited to changing mindsets over the years. Here are some factors that have affected NFL recruitment and have made it more lucrative in the past decade;
- Scouting: With the introduction of technology to the sport, the scouting and analysis of players have changed drastically. Today, NFL drafts rely on software much more than the human eye. This software assesses how well players perform on the field and predicts their potential in the coming years. Moreover, better technology allows the NFL to record player performance and measure player stats to recruit top talent.
- Analytics: NFL analytics play a great role in the final recruitment. In fact, artificially intelligent tools can help the NFL determine trends that lead to better player recruitment. These can judge a player’s performance and often determine whether a player will get drafted. In some instances, they can also reveal key insights about whether a player is a good match for a team.
- Inclusivity: Today, many factors can impact and alter NFL player recruitment. This has contributed to better results. NFL teams look for players who aren’t just suited to one role but can handle multiple positions. Moreover, these players usually come from different international and ethnic backgrounds. Over the years, the NFL has introduced multiple programs to support this effort and provide opportunities to athletes who may not have otherwise been able to climb the ladder.
This attention to detail, reduction in bias, and data-based approach have led to some of the biggest NFL contracts of the decade. A versatility in selection has also led to a much better sport and strategy over the years.
Exploring the Biggest NFL Contracts of the Decade
Let’s list down some of the top talents the NFL has recruited over the years;
Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs
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When we speak of the biggest NFL contracts of the decade, we must include Patrick Mahomes in the list. A dedicated quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes is one of the only four black quarterbacks to have won the AP MVP award in the 2018 football season.
He followed this up in 2019 by taking the Kanas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl in 50 years, leading them to defeat the San Francisco 49ers and receiving the Super Bowl MVP title. In 2020, the Kansas City Chiefs offered him a 10-year contract extension worth up to $503 million. It made him the highest-paid man in sports history!
Over the years, Patrick Mahomes has won many more awards and titles. Yet, the start of his career will always be one of the most important turning points in NFL history.
Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
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Dak Prescott is often seen supporting various charitable organizations or gaining support for the Black Lives Matter movement. His sport alone makes him a force to be reckoned with.
Despite facing an injury in 2020, Dak Prescott has proved himself to the Cowboys and encouraged them to invest in a $160 million contract extension for him in 2021. This has led him to the Hall of Fame for the biggest NFL contracts this decade.
Prescott was first pushed into the limelight as a backup in his rookie season. He took this opportunity and led the Cowboys to the National Football Conference, set various rookie quarterback records, and earned the Offensive Rookie of the Year title.
He has also secured two additional division titles for his team, along with the auspicious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. Over the years, Prescott has made headlines in sports news as he surpasses all expectations!
Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
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Russel Wilson began his journey as a football player during the third round in the 2012 NFL draft. This was the same year he received the NFL Rookie of the Year award.
Russel Wilson is well known for his efforts in leading the Seahawks to two Super Bowls, one after the other, along with nine Pro Bowls in total. During the nine seasons, Wilson has held a record for the most wins achieved by an NFL quarterback.
The year 2019 witnessed Wilson signing a four-year contract extension worth $140 million, making him the highest-paid NFL player then.
The past few decades have witnessed the NFL investing in mega contracts, especially for those quarterbacks who have proved themselves over the years. The contract has become bigger and better because of the evolution in NFL drafting, pushed by analytics and the elimination of bias over the years.
These players provide their teams with benefits that far outweigh the financial compensation. We hope to see even bigger contracts as the sport evolves throughout the coming decade. Stay connected to this space for regular updates!