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Four stars who can turn Super Bowl LIV into big paydays

Jesse Reed
Chiefs' Chris Jones against the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game
Jan 20, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones (95) reacts during the first half of the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s going to be this year’s 2012 Joe Flacco? Which contract-year player is going turn a sparkling Super Bowl LIV performance into a big bag of money?

We’re looking at four impending free agents who can play themselves into massive paydays by dominating the action during the biggest game of them all.

Chris Jones, defensive tackle, Kansas City Chiefs

Though he didn’t put up the same kind of jaw-dropping pass-rushing stats this year compared to his 2018 campaign, Chris Jones was dominant inside for the Chiefs once again this season. A consistent playmaker, he’s racked up 24.5 sacks the past two years.

His impact was felt almost immediately in the AFC Championship Game as he penetrated Tennessee’s pocket on both running and passing plays.

If Jones can get even healthier ahead of Super Bowl LIV, the 49ers’ interior linemen will have their hands full all game long.

Jones will be one of the highest-paid free agents in 2020, regardless of what he does on Super Bowl Sunday. He’s just that good, and everyone knows it. But if he comes through with a legendary performance that sparks a Chiefs win, his price tag will go into the Arron Donald zone.

Arik Armstead, defensive end, San Francisco 49ers

Talk about making it count in a contract year. Coming into the 2019 campaign, many wondered if the 49ers should trade Arik Armstead, who had not lived up to the first-round hype the first four years of his career.

Then, suddenly, the light went off for this young man. Armstead finished the regular season with a team-high 10 sacks and was a nightmare for opposing offensive lines all season long. And all too often, Armstead made big plays in big moments for the 49ers.

If he can do it again in Super Bowl LIV, Armstead is going to be in line for an absolutely massive contract. The 49ers have many mouths to feed. But if they intend on continuing to contend for championships in the coming years, he should be one of them.

Demarcus Robinson, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs

Overshadowed by the other stars on Kansas City’s rocket ship of an offense, Demarcus Robinson has a chance to test free agency this coming spring and could be a hot target for receiver-needy teams.

Robinson is lightning in a bottle. You may remember his breakout performance in Week 2 when he roasted the (then) Oakland Raiders with six catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns.

Robinson finished the regular season with 32 catches for 449 yards and four touchdowns. If he ends up getting a chance to be star on Super Bowl Sunday, it’ll be a boon to his bank account come March.

Emmanuel Sanders, wide receiver, San Francisco 49ers

An established veteran who is still very good in all phases of the game, Emmanuel Sanders will be a coveted free agent this March based solely on his resume. He’s a proven playmaker and reliable receiver, and he’s shown some serious toughness playing through a painful injury this year.

The Chiefs have a strong pass rush, but their secondary is questionable. Sanders, a savvy veteran, has earned Jimmy Garoppolo’s trust this season and has a chance to break out in a huge way.

Consistent playmakers who have championship poise are in short supply. If Sanders comes through with a monster game against the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, he’s going go rake in the cash.