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Lucrative Deals for Former Alabama Players May Just Be the Beginning: All Things CW

By Christopher Walsh,


While linemen Daron Payne, Dalvin Tomlinson and Bradley Bozeman all got big deals, their combined $165 million might soon get blown away.

The All Things CW notes column by Christopher Walsh appears in five parts each week, with the latest on the Alabama Crimson Tide . This is ...

Take 3 ...

On Monday, Nikki Bozeman posted a short video of her and her husband enjoying a cup of coffee on the beach, the same one they had visited a year ago after Bradley signed a free-agent deal with the the Carolina Panthers.

To refresh anyone's memory, she played for the Alabama women's basketball team (2014-2016), while he was carved out a starting job with the Crimson Tide's offensive line. Both were elected team captains, and he famously proposed on the field following the national championship game against Georgia.

Bradley Bozeman was a sixth-round selection by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2018 NFL Draft, which corresponded to a four-year, $2.6 million contract. But after the deal expired he gambled a bit.

Although other teams offered more, and there was nothing more than a chance to compete for a starting job in Carolina, the Bozemans accepted a one-year offer for $2.8 million from the Panthers in hopes of making the area their longterm home.

Midway through last season, when starting center Pat Eflin suffered a season-ending hip injury, he was plugged into the offensive line and the running game saw significant improvement even though the team had traded away Christian McCaffrey.

Bozeman was recently rewarded with a three-year contract for $18 million. The couple also recently celebrated the birth of their first child.

"Little did we know how awesome this year would be," Nikki Bozeman tweeted. "Today we are back at the beach celebrating a life changing deal that keeps us in the city we love so much. All I can say is #KeepPounding"

Feel-good free agency stories aren't always common in the NFL, but they do happen.

The big ones this year among former Alabama players are led by a pair of big bodies, defensive linemen Daron Payne and Dalvin Tomlinson .

Payne also gambled on himself.

Washington exercised the fifth-year option on his initial contract in 2022, but he turned down overtures of an extension prior to last season.

You may remember that Payne got especially hot when it mattered the most at Alabama, during the 2017 title run. It helped him become the 13th-overall selection in the subsequent draft.

He did something similar with the Commanders with 11.5 sacks (compared to a combined 14.5 during his first four years), 64 tackles including 18 for a loss, 20 quarterback hits and five pass deflections. Payne was promptly named to the Pro Bowl for the first time.

Washington, which also has Jonathan Allen (who in 2021 signed a four-year, $72 million contract extension) and Chase Young on the defensive line, signed him to a four-year, $90 million contract with a $28 million signing bonus. At least half of the contract is guaranteed.

"I’m super happy for him because he was one of my young guys at Bama," Tomlinson said when meeting reporters covering his new team, Cleveland. "So I’m super proud of him to see the kind of player he’s become today.”

Tomlinson's deal with the Browns, who desperately needed a run-stopper: Four years, $57 million.

Of course, most deals aren't like that. For example, defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs just landed a two-year deal reportedly worth up to $6 million with the Lions.

Meanwhile, running back Josh Jacobs , who led the league in rushing last season, was franchised by the Raiders and will make $10.1 million if he plays it out. While yes, that's a lot, Jacobs has a calculated market value of four years, $51.4 million or $12.8 million, according to Spotrac. The tricky thing is his position, as most running backs peak by around age 30 and a lot of teams don't want to invest too much into the position.

The deadline for players on the franchise tag to work out contract extensions is July 17. If they can't come to an agreement, Jacobs automatically becomes a free agent in a year when he's 26.

By then we might see some truly spectacular numbers that could far exceed what the three linemen (Bozeman, Payne and Tomlinson) landed for $165 million.

There are three former Alabama players who are starting quarterbacks in the league, including Jalen Hurts , who just helped lead the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl, and all three are still under their initial rookie contracts.

Although Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa were first-round draft picks, Hurts went in the second round in 2020, 53rd overall, and had the smallest contract: Four years, $6 million with a $1.9 million signing bonus, and of which $2.8 million was guaranteed.

In comparison, free-agent quarterback Derek Carr just landed a four-year deal with the Saints for $150 million. Jimmy Garoppolo got a three-year deal with Carr's former team, the Raiders, worth up to $72.75 million.

One of the reasons why the Eagles are making so many adjustments to their roster is to free up room under the salary cap to sign Hurts.

Right now he's probably the most underpaid player in the league.

... and Take 4

Remaining Unrestricted Free Agents

Only includes players who were on NFL rosters last season

Ravens: RB Kenyan Drake
Browns: S Ronnie Harrison, LB Reggie Ragland
Texans: S Kareem Jackson
Titans: DL De'Shawn Hand
Broncos: S Kareem Jackson
Raiders: CB Anthony Averett
Giants: S Landon Collins
Vikings: TE Irv Smith Jr.
Falcons: LB Rashaan Evans
Saints: Mark Ingram II
Buccaneers: Julio Jones
Rams: A'Shawn Robinson
Seahawks: LS Carson Tinker

See Also:

Take 1: The NCAA Tournament is Alabama's to Win or Lose

Take 2: Dont'a Hightower a Player That Dynasties Were Built Around

Bama in the NFL Database

Alabama Crimson Tide Players in the NFL
Tracking Active Alabama Crimson Players in the NFL
Alabama Crimson Tide Players in the NFL: Breakdown by Team
Active Alabama Crimson Tide Players in the NFL by Position
All-Time Alabama Crimson Tide Players in the NFL
All-Time Alabama Crimson Tide Players in the NFL By Team
Former Alabama Crimson Tide Players Selected in the NFL Draft
All-Time Alabama Crimson Tide Players Drafted by Round
NFL Draft: All-Time Alabama Crimson Tide Selections by NFL Teams
Alabama Crimson Tide Players Selected in the NFL Draft by Position

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