NFL teams were spending money like drunken sailors on shore leave when the free-agent signing period opened on March 14. Wide receivers have been the biggest beneficiaries of a spending spree where salaries have exploded in an unimaginable fashion. Safeties are at the opposite end of the spectrum with an extremely soft market.

Notwithstanding All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh just signing a one-year deal worth $14 million to join the Rams, free agency has come to a grinding halt with this week's annual NFL owners meeting. Although there may continue to be sporadic signings, after the meeting ends teams will be focusing most of their attention on the upcoming NFL Draft, to be held April 26-28.

Here's a look at 20 of the most lucrative deals from free agency. Average salary and total compensation are the most common contract metrics but also the most insignificant because of the lack of security with NFL contracts. 

Contract value: $84 million/3 years ($28 million per year average)
Fully guaranteed at signing:
$84 million
Earliest realistic exit point:
None

Cousins is breaking new ground with the NFL's first lucrative fully guaranteed veteran contract. He is the NFL's highest-paid player at $28 million per year, but reportedly turned down a $30 million-per-year offer from the Jets. The deal is worth a maximum of $90 million through incentives. The contract also contains a no-trade clause and language preventing Minnesota from designating Cousins as a franchise or transition player in 2021.

Cousins' landmark contract sets the stage for other high profile players, like Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, to push for fully-guaranteed contracts. New deals for both are expected before the 2018 regular season begins. At the very least, Cousins has given the duo ammunition to become charter members of the $30 million-per-year club.

Cousins opted for a shorter contract than most quarterbacks sign. Most lucrative quarterback contracts are at least four years in length. The 29-year-old Cousins is in excellent position to take advantage of changing market conditions sooner than with the typical quarterback deal. He could be in line for an extension at age 31 in 2020 if he is living up to his contract. Cousins is set to hit the open market at age 32 in 2021, when a new collective bargaining agreement will need to be negotiated, which could be more favorable to players than the current labor agreement.

Drew Brees
QB •

Contract value: $50 million/2 years ($25 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $27 million (no signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $27 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2019

Brees gave the Saints a financial break for the first time in numerous contract dealings with the franchise. There's a good chance the 39 year old could have become the NFL's first $30 million player on a short-term deal with a willingness to exploit his leverage. Brees' 2018 salary is $27 million. His $13.5 million first-day-of-the-2018-league-year roster bonus, which was due on March 14, is being treated as signing bonus for salary cap purposes because it was fully guaranteed when the deal was signed. This roster bonus is prorated at $4.5 million on the salary cap through 2020. There's a 2020 contract year that automatically voids on the last day of the 2019 league year (early to mid-March 2020). Brees has a league-high $33.5 million cap number in 2019. Just like in the one-year, $24.25 million extension Brees signed in 2016, clauses prohibiting the Saints from designating Brees as a franchise or transition player, or trading him without his consent, were included.

Contract value: $48 million/3 years ($16 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $30 million ($21 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $30 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($34 million earned)

The 2014 fourth-overall pick is being paid like an elite receiver without matching production. He's the NFL's fourth-highest paid wide receiver by average salary. Watkins caught a rather pedestrian 39 passes for 593 yards and eight touchdowns with the Rams last season after being traded from the Bills during training camp. His only 1,000 receiving-yard season came in 2015. Prior to the trade, the Bills passed on a fifth-year option in 2018 for Watkins at $13.258 million due to persistent problems with his broken left foot. Watkins should be consistently threatening to break every Kansas City major single-season receiving record with the contract he signed. Jeremy Maclin owns the Chiefs' reception mark for a wide receiver with 87 in 2015. Derrick Alexander's 1,391 receiving yards in 2000 is the franchise record. The 15 touchdown catches Dwayne Bowe had in 2010 are a Chiefs high.

Contract value: $62 million/4 years ($15.5 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $34.8 million ($16 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $34.8 million
3-year cash flow: $48 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($35 million earned)

A clause prohibiting the Patriots from designating Solder as a franchise or transition player after his contract expired set the stage for Solder to reap the benefits of free agency. The Giants won a bidding war over the Texans to land him. Solder has taken the tackle market to unprecedented heights. The deal makes him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.

Contract value: $66.5 million/5 years ($13.2 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $34.8 million ($15 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $30 million
3-year cash flow: $41.5 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($30 million earned)

Norwell became the third-straight free agent to set the offensive-guard market, following in the footsteps of Kelechi Osemele with the Raiders in 2016 and Kevin Zeitler with the Browns last year. Norwell's contract is expected to be the salary floor for any contract extension Zack Martin, who has been a Pro Bowler in each of his four NFL seasons, signs with Cowboys.

Contract value: $27.15 million/3 years ($9.05 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $19 million ($3 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $3 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2019 ($9.05 million earned)

Sherman, who is recovering from tearing his right Achilles during the middle of the 2017 season, quickly landed with the 49ers after the Seahawks released him. Operating without an agent, Sherman negotiated an overly-team-friendly deal for himself. There are $2 million of annual game day active-roster bonuses ($125,000 per game) which are considered a part of the $27.15 million. The contract is worth a maximum of $39.15 million, through $4 million annually in not-so-easily-achievable incentives. There's $1 million for 90 percent or more defensive playing time, $1 million with a Pro Bowl selection and an additional $2 million is for All-Pro honors each year.

The most complicated part of Sherman's contract relates to his potential salary guarantees. Making the Pro Bowl in 2018 will increase Sherman's 2019 base salary by $1 million to $8 million and trigger an injury guarantee for the amount the day after Super Bowl LIII (Feb. 3, 2019). The $8 million becomes fully guaranteed less than two months later, at the beginning of April. The $2 million in per-game roster bonuses reduces to $1 million ($62,500 per game) with the increase in Sherman's base salary.

A similar mechanism applies in 2020. Sherman being selected to the Pro Bowl in 2019 increases his 2020 base salary by $1 million to $8 million. An injury guarantee is once again triggered the day after the Super Bowl (Feb. 2, 2020). April 1 is when the $8 million is fully guaranteed. The $2 million in per-game roster bonuses reduces to $250,000 ($15,625 per game) where Sherman's 2020 base salary is $8.75 million with Pro Bowl selections in both 2018 and 2019. The escalation of Sherman's 2020 base salary to $8.75 million also voids the $1 million playtime incentive for the 2020 season. A Pro Bowl selection only in 2019 lowers the per-game roster bonuses for 2020 to $1 million, just like in 2019, with the other $8 million as base salary.

Contract value: $36 million/2 years ($18 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $36 million ($6 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $25 million
Earliest realistic exit point: None

Keenum changed the trajectory of his career in 2017 by helping the Vikings win the NFC North with a 13-3 record, which tied for best in the NFL, en route to an NFC Championship game appearance after starting quarterback Sam Bradford's early-season knee injury. The undrafted free agent was viewed as strictly a quality backup prior to the 2017 season. The short nature of Keenum's contract won't preclude the Broncos from taking a potential franchise quarterback with the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 draft. The maximum value of Keenan's deal is $38 million because of a $1 million incentive each year for 50 percent offensive playtime in a Denver playoff win.

Trumaine Johnson
DB •

Contract value: $72.5 million/5 years ($14.5 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $45 million ($20 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $34 million
3-year cash flow: $45 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($34 million earned)

Johnson played the franchise-tag game to perfection. He made just under $30.7 million the last two seasons playing for the Rams. Thanks to using the franchise tag to his advantage, Johnson is making a little less than $56.7 million from 2016 through 2018, which includes the first year of his Jets contract. The almost $56.7 million is NFL record compensation for a cornerback over a three-year period.

Contract value: $42 million/3 years ($14 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $25.2 million ($6 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $18 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($29 million earned)

The Bears are confident Robinson can completely recover after tearing his left ACL in the 2017 season opener. A one year "prove-it" deal similar to what Alshon Jeffery got from the Eagles in free agency last year ($9.5 million worth up to $14 million with incentives) was anticipated because of the knee injury. Robinson returning to peak form would be a tremendous boost to the NFL's worst passing attack in 2017. In 2015, Robinson became the first Jaguars player to top 1,000 receiving yards (1,400) since Jimmy Smith in 2005. He also led the NFL with 31 catches of 20 or more yards and was the league co-leader with 14 touchdown receptions.

Contract value: $30 million/3 years ($10 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $11 million (all signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $11 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2019 ($13 million earned)

Graham got similar money at 31 years old after a major knee injury in 2015 as he did at 27, when the Saints made him the NFL's first $10 million-per-year tight end. He did it despite a sizable statistical regression last season. He excelled as a red-zone threat in 2017, catching 10 touchdown passes. Graham remains the NFL's only $10 million-per=year tight end; $13 million is in the first contract year. The deal is worth up to $33.75 million because of $250,000 in annual incentives.

Contract value: $56 million/4 years ($14 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $18 million (all signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $18 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($29 million earned)

The Bears declined to pick up a fifth-year option on Fuller worth $8.526 million for the 2018 season last May. At the time, passing on the option seemed like a good move because Fuller missed the 2016 season after undergoing preseason surgery on his right knee. There was talk about moving Fuller to safety because of his struggles early in the 2015 season. The Bears placed the seldom-used transition tag on Fuller for $12.971 million after he rebounded in 2017. The offer sheet Fuller signed with the Packers became a binding contract for the Bears after exercising their right to match.

Contract value: $42 million/4 years ($10.5 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $22 million (no signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $22 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($22 million earned)

Jensen capitalized on a strong performance in his first season as full-time starter during his four years with the Ravens to become the NFL's highest-paid center at $10.5 million per year. The Buccaneers used the "pay as you as go" contract model, which was introduced during Mark Dominik's tenure as general manager (2009-2013). Jensen's cash and salary-cap numbers are the same in each contract year because he is receiving salary guarantees instead of a signing bonus. Since there isn't signing-bonus proration, Tampa Bay won't have any dead money, which is a salary-cap charge for a player no longer on the roster, if Jensen is released during the latter part of the deal when there are no longer salary guarantees.  

Contract value: $61.25 million/5 years ($12.25 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $30 million ($10 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $24 million
3-year cash flow: $36.7 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($25.1 million earned)

Butler's self-described bad 2017 season and a mysterious benching in Super Bowl LII didn't deter Titans general manager Jon Robinson from tapping his Patriots roots to sign him. Butler earned a Pro-Bowl berth in 2015 and second team All-Pro honors in 2016. He joins Logan Ryan, a Titans free-agent signee last year, to reunite New England's starting cornerback tandem from the 2016 season in Nashville.

Contract value: $40 million/2 years ($20 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $15 million ($10 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $15 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2019

Bradford played a total of only six quarters of football in 2017 due to issues with his left knee, which previously suffered two ACL tears. He received a "clean bill of health" before free agency started. His magnificence against the Saints in the season opener may have been his saving grace financially. Bradford earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after completing 84.4 percent of passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns in the season-opening victory.

The Cardinals were smart to insist on big annual game day active-roster bonuses in Bradford's contract, given his injury history. The $5 million of per-game roster bonuses ($312,500 each game) in 2018 is the largest ever in an NFL contract. The per-game amount is payable only if Bradford is on the 46-man active roster for that particular game. The base value of Bradford's 2018 compensation is considered to be $20 million, although the per-game roster bonuses are treated as incentives under the salary cap. Since Bradford was active for only two games during the 2017 season, there isn't an initial cap charge for $4.375 million of the roster bonuses. Bradford's 2018 cap number is $10.625 million. Beginning with the third game Bradford is active, the Cardinals will lose $312,500 of cap space on a weekly basis for each successive contest he is available to play.

2019 is an option year that must be picked up no later than the third day before the 2018 league year ends in early March next year. Bradford's $7.5 million 2019 base salary and his $10 million third-day-of-the-2019-league-year roster bonus are fully guaranteed if the Cardinals exercise their option. Additionally, the 2019 contract year has $2.5 million in game day active roster bonuses ($156,250 per game). There's also a no-trade clause and $1 million in annual incentives for 45 percent offensive playtime in a Super Bowl win.

Contract value: $30 million/4 years ($7.5 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $18 million ($2 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $11.7 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($16 million earned)

The Jets' reported interest in McKinnon forced the 49ers to up the ante in order to land him. Devonta Freeman (Falcons) and LeSean McCoy (Bills) are the only NFL running backs on long-term deals with a higher average yearly salary despite McKinnon starting just 14 games during his four years with the Vikings. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan envisions using McKinnon's dual-threat capabilities in a similar manner as he did Freeman's while he was Atlanta's offensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016.

McKinnon's contract triggers an obscure salary-cap provision, the 50 Percent Down Rule, because his second-year salary ($4 million in 2019) is less than half of his first-year salary, excluding signing bonus ($10 million in 2018). The $6 million difference between the two salaries is being treated as signing bonus and prorated over his four-year deal ($1.5 million annually). This cap treatment makes it more difficult for the 49ers to part ways with McKinnon in 2019 if he disappoints this season.

Contract value: $50 million/5 years ($10 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $25 million ($13 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $18.5 million
3-year cash flow: $33.5 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($26 million earned)

Bills head coach Sean McDermott got a firsthand look at Lotulelei, who was the 14th overall pick in the 2013 draft, as Panthers defensive coordinator during his first four NFL seasons. General manager Brandon Beane, a Carolina front-office executive from 2008 through 2016, signed Lotulelei to help fill the void in the middle of defense created with Marcell Dareus' midseason trade to the Jaguars last year.

Contract value: $47.5 million/5 years ($9.5 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $28.5 million ($9.3 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $16.5 million
3-year cash flow: $30 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($23 million earned)

A concussion limiting Richburg to four games with the Giants last season didn't prevent him from becoming one of the game's highest-paid centers. His deal is consistent with the respective extensions Justin Britt ($9 million per year) and Brandon Linder ($10.34 million per year) received from the Seahawks and Jaguars last year.

Contract value: $45 million/5 years ($9 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $25.09 million ($14 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $21.29 million
3-year cash flow: $30 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($21.5 million earned)

The Cowboys were interested in re-signing Hitchens but he priced himself out of Dallas. Hitchens has big shoes to fill in replacing Derrick Johnson, who was fixture at inside linebacker for 13 seasons and Kansas City's all-time leading tackler. The deal is worth as much as $49.25 million with incentives.

Contract value: $45.025 million/5 years ($9.005 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $18.75 million ($10 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $13 million
3-year cash flow: $25.75 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2020 ($17.25 million earned)

Pugh may have been in a position to set the guard market instead of Andrew Norwell had he not missed 13 games over the last two seasons with the Giants because back and knee injuries. His deal has a more team-friendly structure than most of the other lucrative free-agent contracts due to the injuries. Pugh's contract is slightly back loaded with just under 43 percent of the total compensation in the last two years. By contrast, his former Giants linemate Richburg has slightly less than 37 percent of his money in the final two years. Pugh also has $4.25 million of per-game roster bonuses throughout his contract.

Contract value: $32 million/4 years ($8 million per year average)
Contract guarantees: $22 million ($7.5 million as signing bonus)
Fully guaranteed at signing: $18 million
Earliest realistic exit point: 2021 ($24.9 million earned)

Best known for completing a touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles in a fourth-and-goal situation during the Eagles' Super Bowl LII victory over the Patriots, Burton becomes the NFL's sixth-highest-paid tight end by average yearly salary. Burton made the most of limited opportunities he received over the last four years playing behind Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz and 11-year veteran Brent Celek. The deal has a player-friendly structure where $4 million of Burton's $6.7 million 2020 base salary becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2019 league year (early March 2019). The $4 million is guaranteed for injury at signing. Burton's deal is worth up to $34.8 million because of $2.8 million in annual incentives primarily based on individual statistical achievement.