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Contract disputes have been an underlying story surrounding the 2021 NFL offseason. Fans and reporters alike have questioned the contractual futures of league stars such as Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams but three NFL stars signed huge extensions this week.
The Buffalo Bills drafted Josh Allen with the seventh pick of the 2018 draft. The Wyoming alum had a difficult first year. He started eleven games during his debut season and threw for ten touchdowns but 12 interceptions. He showed improvements during his sophomore season leading the Bills to a 10-6 record before being defeated by the Houston Texans in the postseason. Yet, it would be 2021 where Allen would prove he is the Buffalo Bills’ franchise quarterback.
Allen led the Bills to an improved 13-3 during 2021. Throwing for 4544 yards and 37 touchdowns, Allen has shown vast improvements from his first two years. He was selected for the pro bowl and became mentioned in the MVP conversation. Buffalo would sign Allen to a contract extension this week to ensure his future lies in Buffalo. The 25-year-old penned a six-year, $258 million extension worth a maximum of $288 million through incentives with the Bills.
Another product of the 2018 NFL draft was linebacker Darius Leonard. The Indianapolis Colts selected Leonard in the second round and number 36 overall. And the former South Carolina State Bulldogs standout hasn’t looked back since. During his inaugural year in the NFL, Leonard tallied an unbelievable 111 solo tackles and four forced fumbles which earned him a First-Team All-Pro selection in his first year.
The following year, Leonard only played 13 games for the Colts but still made his presence felt with a career-high five interceptions and became a Pro-Bowler for the first time. But he wouldn’t slow down in 2020. He was selected for both the Pro-Bowl and achieved his second First-Team All-Pro selection in 2020.
Due to his high standard of play since entering the league, the 26-year old received a 5-year, $99.25-million contract extension that will keep him in Indianapolis through the 2026 NFL season.
As previously mentioned, contract disputes have made headlines all offseason. One of the most notable disputes was between cornerback Xavien Howard and the Miami Dolphins. With reports staying the star cornerback had requested a trade if the contract wasn’t resolved.
The former second-round pick signed a five-year, $75.25 million contract extension in May 2019 after an impressive 2018 in which Howard had an opponent passer rating of 62.6. However, since the extension, Howard continued to be an elite corner in the NFL.
At 28, Howard has two First-Team All-Pro selections and has twice led the league in interceptions (tied in 2018 with seven and in 2020 with ten). Overall he has 22 interceptions in 56 career games and has proven to be one of the best ball-hawks in the NFL.
Therefore Miami agreed to restructure Howard’s current deal. It is reported that Howard’s restructure meant his base salary of $12.785 million was fully guaranteed and a maximum of $3.5 million in incentives were added.