As any sports fan knows, the free-agency period in the NFL is unlike those of the other major sports. While the MLB, NBA, and to a slightly lesser extent, the NHL, often see marquee players move in huge money grabs, it’s far more rare to see a franchise future-shifting signing in the NFL than the others. However, one phenomenon does have similarities across each of the leagues – contract year performance bumps. There are players who routinely miss time for two to three consecutive years, then, in the last year of their deal, don’t miss a snap, or an inning, or a game of action, and produce 20-30 percent more than they did, on average, the year or years prior. Money’s on the line, along with a lifetime of security, and they find it in themselves to overcome injuries and challenges? Weird!
This isn’t about speculating who goes where, or how much they re-sign for. This is simply trying to figure out which players are in the best position to overachieve based on their teammates, offensive systems, and even to some extent their team’s schedules this year.