Looking at the NFL’s highest-paid cornerbacks
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens took care of one of their own Thursday, signing star cornerback Marlon Humphrey to a lucrative five-year, $98.75 million contract. The deal calls for $66 million in total guarantees. It makes Humphrey one of the highest-paid corners in NFL history.

This was a well-earned extension for the former Alabama standout. He’s been one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL since Baltimore made him a first-round pick back in 2017. According to Pro Football Focus, Humphrey has graded out as the top cover cornerback in the league since the start of the 2018 NFL season.

Last season alone, Humphrey recorded 14 passes defended, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and two touchdowns in a resounding overall performance.

Marlon Humphrey contract

As noted above, Humphrey’s deal calls for nearly $99 million over five seasons. That ranks second in total value among NFL cornerbacks, behind the $100 million contract Jalen Ramsey received from the Los Angeles Rams late in the offseason. The $66 million in total guarantees also ranks second behind Ramsey.

Baltimore had previously exercised the $10.44 million option on the final year of Humphrey’s rookie deal for the 2021 season. That figure will now be completely thrown out the window.

What does this extension mean for cornerback contracts around the NFL? Well, there’s a lot to look at. The market continues to reset itself, as we will show below.

NFL cornerback contracts

This extension is the latest in a long line of lucrative long-term contracts cornerbacks have received around the NFL. It’s not necessarily a surprise to see this market continue to reset itself considering that the league is now pass-heavy. Here’s a look at the top cornerback contracts around the league today.

  • Jalen Ramsey (five years, $100 million): Ramsey inked this deal with the Los Angeles Rams back on Sept. 9. It called for $71.2 million in total guarantees and $43.7 million at signing, both high-water marks for a cornerback in NFL history.
  • Byron Jones (five years, $82.5 million): A former Pro Bowler with the Cowboys, Jones inked what was then a record-breaking deal in Miami this past March. It included $46 million at signing and a whopping $54.38 million in total guarantees. Both were records at the time.
  • Xavien Howard (five-year, $72.25 million): Miami sure loves to pay its cornerbacks. Following a 2018 season in which he led the NFL with seven interceptions, Howard inked this deal. It included $39.26 million in total guarantees. At that point, this represented a record-breaking contract for a cornerback.
  • Patrick Peterson (five-years, $70.05 million): A future Hall of Famer, Peterson’s extension with the Cardinals all the way back in 2014 has withstood the test of time. That’s a rarity in today’s NFL. The contract called for a whopping $47.37 million in total guarantees.
  • Tre’Davious White (four-years, $69 million): Unlike the other players on this list, White opted for a shorter-term deal when he was locked up ahead of Week 1. At just 25 years old, he’ll hit free agency while the former LSU standout is still in his prime. White’s average annual salary of $17.25 million ranks third among NFL cornerbacks, behind Ramsey and Humphrey.

Next NFL cornerbacks in line for huge contracts

  • Shaquill Griffin, Seattle Seahawks: A free agent after the 2020 season, Griffin will be in line for a lucrative new contract once March comes calling. Whether it’s the Seahawks placing the franchise tag on him, the cornerback agreeing to a long-term deal or hitting free agency, it’s bound to happen. Despite some struggles in 2020, this former mid-round pick is coming off a Pro Bowl season in Seattle and was among the top-10 cover guys in the NFL last season.
  • Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns: A top-five pick of the Browns back in 2018, Ward will be eligible for an extension following the season. He’s certainly earned that Brinks truck. The Ohio State product recorded 22 passes defended and five interceptions over the course of his first two years in the NFL. Last season saw Ward yield a 44.9% completion mark when targeted. A contract similar to the one Humphrey inked with the division-rival Baltimore Ravens makes the most sense.
  • Richard Sherman, San Francisco 49ers: Currently sidelined due to injury, this 32-year-old future Hall of Fame cornerback is looking at a short-term contract to finish his career. With that said, he’s also looking at an annual average salary that would rank among the highest in the NFL. Sherman has yielded a 54.1 quarterback rating when targeted since 2010. Last season alone, he gave up a sub 60 rating while recording a pick-six.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.

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