Seven NFL free agents who will get paid more than you think in 2021

    Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston’s Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

With 18 NFL teams already on to the offseason, the shadow of 2021 free agency is growing. Expect a different free agency this year for one reason in particular: While the NFL has seen steady growth of its salary cap for the past seven years, the league has been planning for a potential reduction from last year’s salary cap of $198.2 million, setting a floor of $175 million as part of the financial issues from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ll see where the final number winds up at, but despite the likely reduction, one truth that has always prevailed about free agency is likely too again: Elite players get paid.

As we have also learned about free agency, the players who cash in aren’t always the household names. Let’s get into an exercise we’ve enjoyed in the past, as these are the seven free agents who could make more money than you might realize in March:


Joe Thuney, G, New England Patriots

2020 salary: $14.8 million | Age: 28

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