Originally written on The Hazean  |  Last updated 6/9/12

If only politicians took their jobs as seriously as contract-year NFL players.

Just use recent Seattle Seahawks’ running backs as an example. Shaun Alexander posted one of the best rushing seasons by a running back ever the season before he became a free agent. Last year, Marshawn Lynch had his best season as a professional with a ridiculously prolonged touchdown streak.

Alexander got paid, and flamed out quickly afterward. Lynch? To be determined.

The point is that contract-year players, for reasons that are pretty obvious, do tend to be a little more motivated. There are several heading into the 2013 offseason (you can see the full list here) who will be looking to cash in on a big 2012 season.

Quarterbacks

Joe Flacco, Ravens: Franchise QBs are hard to find, so I doubt we’ll see much of a spike in Flacco’s numbers. He doesn’t need to do anything too special to get paid.

Running Backs

Reggie Bush, Dolphins: Bush wants to lead the league in rushing this year, and now you know why. He’s looking to cash in after a two-year stint in Miami, but will need to stay healthy again this year to make that happen.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars: MJD had a great season in 2011 and will be the focal point of the Jaguars’ offense again in 2012. Only an prolonged bout with an injury will keep him from inflating his numbers this season. Draft with confidence.

Isaac Redman, Steelers: Redman figures to benefit the most out of all the backup RBs seeking a new contract in 2013. With Rashard Mendenhall rehabbing an injured knee, Redman likely will get the nod as the team’s starting running back Week 1.

Michael Turner, Falcons: At his age, you know Turner sees the writing on the wall. Surely he wants to ink another nice contract before the suns sets on his career. But with the Falcons going to a more pass-happy offense, there is some concern that his numbers will fall off this season.

Wide Receivers

Victor Cruz, Giants: Cruz wanted to ink a long-term deal with the Giants after his breakthrough 2011 campaign, but it never happened. He’ll need to replicate that effort this season to prove that he (A) was not a fluke and (B) deserves to be paid like a No. 1 receiver.

Malcom Floyd, Chargers: With Vincent Jackson gone in San Diego, Floyd has a big opportunity in front of him to become a No. 1 receiver. Competition from the newly-acquired Robert Meachem could hinder his efforts, or provide the right motivation.

Greg Jennings, Packers: Expect a big season from Jennings. Donald Driver isn’t getting any younger. Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley will help keep coverage off Jennings.

Randy Moss, 49ers: If Moss wants another contract, he’ll need to perform like the old Randy Moss this year. Or at least close to that type of effort. There’s been a fair amount of buzz about Moss this spring, but it’s going to be challenging with Alex Smith at the helm.

Wes Welker, Patriots: Signed his franchise tender, but you know he wants a long-term deal with the Patriots. Even with the addition of Brandon Lloyd, Welker will remain Tom Brady‘s go-to wide receiver.

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