The NFL's biggest names at the cornerback position are getting paid early in 2014, and it's a trend that doesn't seem to be slowing down.
The latest example comes with the news Tuesday that Cleveland Browns star Joe Haden received a $68 million contract extension that will keep him in Northern Ohio through the 2019 season. That includes a $14 million signing bonus and $45 million guaranteed, making him the highest-paid at the position.
With corners being all the rage in 2014, who's next in line for a major financial reward?
In the same division as Sherman, Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals will reportedly approach Haden's number with a deal expected to be worth more than $60 million. The fourth-year star is set to make $2 million in 2014 but see a nice pay bump in 2015 when his team option of $10 million comes to fruition.
Still, he's not making Sherman and Haden type money even though he feels he deserves it.
From ESPN via CBSSports.com:
"I'm making OK money right now, but I'm just not making [Sherman's] money right now," Peterson told ESPN on Monday.
In addition, he went on to say he's better than the Seahawks' mouthpiece, despite being abrasive about it. When Sherman responds, it'll be entertaining, but what matters most in Peterson's case is whether or not the Cardinals agree with him.
Photo credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Giants 28-year-old corner will make just under $3 million over the next two seasons, which would be a steal for a player with his kind of numbers. Gay finished No. 1 in adjusted yards per pass in 2013 via FootballOutsiders.com, with just 4.2 yards allowed on 72 charted targets.
If he's going to be the future in New York at that position, they'll need to make a commitment at some point. Given the buyer's market, it could be imminent.
The Pittsburgh Steelers corner is approaching age 30, but he's also playing with a contract that pays him an average salary of $1.5 million through 2015. If he manages to trend upward, he could force the Steelers' hand to give him a new deal that pays him what he's worth from a production standpoint.
In 2013, Gay finished with 5.8 adjusted yards per pass allowed on 82 charted targets, ranking second.
The problem was he found himself in and out of the starting lineup and didn't put it together for an entire campaign.
The biggest concern with Charles Tillman is that he's 33 years old and on the downside of career. The flip side of that is he's been as productive as ever in his advanced age. He's the heart and soul of the Chicago Bears' defense and as long as he can still play at a high level, he could be considered for an extension.
Another issue he could have are the reports that he's unwilling to move to safety. In addition, the Bears drafted Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller with the 14th overall pick of the 2014 draft. That makes it unlikely Tillman will receive any long-term commitment from Chicago.
But given his effectiveness, another team could be willing to give him a shot when he becomes a free agent after 2014.