Five NFL stars next in line for massive payday

By Jesse Reed

News broke Wednesday that Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders are close to finalizing a new deal that will pay him around $25 million per year.

While Schefter is hearing the deal is close to being done, Carr made it clear nothing’s done quite yet. But it’s only a matter of time.

It’s a deal that’s been in the works all offseason, and Carr absolutely deserves that type of payday based on his potential, and based on what he’s already accomplished early in his career. And while he might end up becoming the NFL’s highest-paid player on this new deal, that distinction won’t last for long.

So who’s next in line for a huge payday? Which quarterback will soon make Carr’s potential record-breaking deal a thing of the past? Which defensive tackle could soon be the highest-paid defender in football? Which receiver is going to break the bank?

These players will soon be raking in the cash.

Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Los Angeles Rams

The Rams know they have to pay this man. General manager Les Snead has already made that crystal clear, and there’s been some talk that Donald might just become the highest-paid defender in the NFL on a new deal.

There really is no way to argue against Donald demanding that type of haul. He was the No. 1-ranked player by Pro Football Focus heading into 2017, and you don’t need to be an expert at watching game film to understand he’s a dominant player.

Since entering the NFL as a first-round rookie out of Pitt in 2014, all Donald has done is rack up 163 total tackles, 28 sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. It’s not just the raw numbers that are so impressive, either. Donald is constantly in the backfield on both running and passing plays and rarely takes a breather.

While it’s hard to compare any defensive lineman to J.J. Watt, Donald is a guy we can confidently put next to the Houston Texans star as a true peer.