Young Stars In Line For Payday

The NFL published its “All-Under-25” team, highlighting the league’s best players under the age of 25. From a contractual standpoint, five stand out as free agents to be at the conclusion of the 2014 season:

  • Rams defensive end Robert Quinn – Everyone knew Quinn was dripping with upside when the Rams picked him the first round of the 2011 draft, and the pass rusher extraordinaire’s third season was something to behold. Quinn was an unblockable one-man wrecking crew, garnering NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors and putting himself in position to break the bank on his second deal.
  • Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith – Knocking on the door of elite status at a critical position, Smith is expected to get a mega contract extension to ensure the safety of Tony Romo‘s blind side.
  • Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson – Did not have as many impact plays in 2013, but is a three-time Pro Bowler and legitimate No. 1 coverman at a time when big cornerbacks are in high demand.
  • Bengals middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict – Pre-draft character concerns which knocked him off draft boards and seem like a distant memory now. Burfict played at an elite level, leading the league with 171 tackles. If he behaves himself for another year, he’ll receive an exponential bump from his six-figure 2014 salary.
  • Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey – A stout run defender, Casey’s sack production jumped from 5.5 2011-2012 to 10.5 in 2013 when he was one of the most balanced interior defenders in the league.
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