The 2022 NFL offseason was one of the most memorable offseasons in recent memory. The quarterback carousel was spinning at a high rate of speed before Deshaun Watson halted it with his guaranteed $230 million deal, we witnessed a total reset of the wide receiver market -- something that players like Tyreek Hill, A.J. Brown and Christian Kirk among others benefitted from -- and of course Tom Brady retired and unretired and now has retired again. What's in store for us this time around?
As happens every offseason, there are multiple players at different positions who are in line to reset the market with record-breaking extensions. Below, we will break down 10 of the NFL players who have earned big paydays this offseason.
1. QB Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
Joey Franchise didn't get back to the Super Bowl this year, but he's going to feel like he won it all when he puts pen to paper on a new deal at some point. That could come this offseason.
According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones, Burrow and the Bengals are preparing for a monster contract extension. The former No. 1 overall pick is in line to become the highest-paid quarterback in the league in terms of AAV. According to Over The Cap, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers is the highest-paid quarterback in terms of AAV with $50.27M. Jones reports this extension likely won't be a fully guaranteed deal like Watson received from the Cleveland Browns. He says to look for a more traditional deal.
Burrow ranked second in the NFL this year in completion percentage (68.3%), fifth in passing yards (4,475) and second in passing touchdowns (35). He has established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and is worth the money.
2. QB Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Herbert is another young quarterback who has proven he's a star, but many want to see him take a Burrow-esque jump in 2023. Maybe that comes with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Herbert finished second in passing yards this past season (4,739) and third in completion percentage (68.2%) while going a career-best 10-7 and making his first playoff appearance. He is a legitimate starting quarterback, and the Chargers want to lock him up for years to come.
Herbert has the most passing yards through three seasons all time (14,089) and the second-most passing touchdowns through three seasons all time with 94, behind Dan Marino's 98.
3. QB Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles went 14-1 with Hurts under center this season, and 0-2 without him. There were conversations last offseason if Hurts was really a franchise quarterback. Philly made the right decision by not being too hasty and ditching him for someone like Watson.
Hurts threw for 3,701 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions in 15 games played, and also rushed for 760 yards and a whopping 13 touchdowns. Those 13 rushing scores are the second-most by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history behind Cam Newton. Hurts is a big reason why the Eagles have found themselves in Super Bowl LVII, and he's going to get a big-time extension. He may be the favorite to win MVP next year.
4. QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Jackson is going to get paid this offseason, one way or another. Our best guess is that the Ravens end up franchise-tagging Jackson. Per CBS Sports cap guru Joel Corry, the exclusive franchise designation will be most likely. Four of the last five times quarterbacks have been designated as franchise players, the exclusive tag has been used. This means that other teams cannot negotiate with the player. The 2019 MVP is someone the Ravens want to keep in Baltimore for years to come. We'll see if that happens. If they don't want to commit to Jackson long-term, another team will.
5. WR Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
The wide receiver market completely exploded last offseason, and now, another player can blow the lid off of it again. Jefferson is a finalist for Offensive Player of the Year. He led the NFL in catches (128), receiving yards (1,809) and was tied for 11th in receiving touchdowns (8). Those 1,809 receiving yards are the sixth-most recorded by a receiver in a single season. The 4,825 receiving yards Jefferson has recorded are the most receiving yards recorded in a player's first three seasons in NFL history. Not only that, but he has the most receiving yards since entering the NFL in 2020!
6. DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
Bosa has been an absolute monster over the past two seasons. After recording 15.5 sacks in 2021, he led the NFL with 18.5 quarterback takedowns this past season. In four total seasons, the former No. 2 overall pick has won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, been named an All-Pro and earned three Pro Bowl bids. Bosa ranked first in QB hits this past season with 48, and tied for second in tackles for loss with 19. He's going to get paid.
7. DE Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers
How much do the Panthers like Burns? Well, they reportedly turned down a trade offer from the Los Angeles Rams that included at least two first-round picks! The former No. 16 overall pick has emerged into a legitimate star, and notched a career-high 12.5 sacks in 2022 after recording nine sacks in both 2020 and 2021. He's been named to two straight Pro Bowls now, and is viewed by Carolina's front office as a cornerstone whose best football is ahead of him. As CBS Sports cap expert Joel Corry pointed out on Twitter back in October, if two first-round picks aren't enough for Burns, then he has to argue he's valuable enough to become the highest-paid pass rusher in the NFL.
8. DT Jeffery Simmons, Tennessee Titans
Simmons is at least a top-three defensive tackle in the NFL behind Aaron Donald and Chris Jones. In 2021, he recorded 54 combined tackles, 8.5 sacks, 16 QB hits, 12 tackles for loss and six passes defended. Simmons was rewarded with Second Team All-Pro honors, and his first Pro Bowl selection. There were points where he found ways to completely take over games. The former No. 19 overall pick recorded three sacks in Tennessee's playoff loss to Cincinnati, and three first-half sacks against the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams. Simmons also made the game-saving, goal-line tackle against the Buffalo Bills on "Monday Night Football" in Week 6.
Simmons battled through an ankle injury in 2022, but still tied a career-high with 54 combined tackles, 7.5 sacks and seven passes defended in 15 games. Simmons is going to get paid soon, but it remains to be seen which team will shell out the dollars.
9. LT Orlando Brown Jr., Kansas City Chiefs
Brown was franchise-tagged after failing to sign an extension with the Chiefs last offseason. It was previously reported that the final offer extended was a six-year deal that contained $139 million in total salary and a $30.25 million signing bonus. However, the structure of the deal reportedly made it more like a five-year, $95 million contract -- which would have made Brown the sixth-highest paid tackle in the NFL.
Brown was named to his fourth-straight Pro Bowl this year. A 26-year-old playing a premier position, he can demand a nice chunk of change.
10. DT Quinnen Williams, New York Jets
Williams said last month that he wants to sign a contract extension before the offseason program. The former No. 3 overall pick is under contract next year thanks to the fifth-year option, but the Jets likely want to lock down Williams for the future -- especially considering all he accomplished in 2022. In 16 games played, Williams recorded a career-high 12 sacks, tied a career-high with 55 combined tackles, recorded 12 tackles for loss and 28 QB hits. He was a force on the interior, and earned All-Pro honors as well as his first Pro Bowl bid.