Introducing the NFL’s Financial Landscape – the 10th year of CBSSports.com’s awards from an economic perspective. This year, the awards focus on veteran acquisitions through trades or free agency, and the impact they have on a team’s fortunes.
The Most Valuable Acquisition award goes to A.J. Brown, who was traded from the Titans to the Eagles during the 2022 NFL Draft. Brown was rewarded with a four-year, $100 million contract extension containing slightly more than $57 million of guarantees. Brown was the top-flight receiving threat the Eagles had been lacking, and his 17.0 yards per catch ranked third in the NFL.
The Least Valuable Acquisition award goes to J.C. Jackson, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with $40 million in guarantees to the Chargers. Jackson didn’t resemble the player who earned Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors in 2021, and he gave up four touchdowns in five games.
The Offensive Signing of the Year award goes to Tyreek Hill, who was traded from the Chiefs to the Dolphins for five draft picks. Hill was given a four-year, $120 million extension, which has $72.2 million in guarantees, by Miami. Hill had a career year during his first season in Miami with 119 catches, 1,719 receiving yards and seven touchdown receptions.
The Defensive Signing of the Year award goes to Haason Reddick, who signed a three-year, $45 million contract with $30 million fully guaranteed to the Eagles in free agency. Reddick set a career high with 16 sacks, which tied for the second most in the NFL. He also tied for the league lead with five forced fumbles and tied for third among defensive players with three fumble recoveries.
The Biggest Steal award goes to Geno Smith, who returned to the Seahawks on a one-year $3.5 million contract worth up to $7 million though incentives. Smith threw for a franchise record 4,282 yards with 30 touchdowns and connected on a league leading 69.8% of his passes. Smith was selected to the Pro Bowl, and the Seahawks secured a playoff berth with a 9-8 record.
The Best Use of a Contract Year award goes to Daniel Jones, who drastically cut down on the turnovers that plagued him during the first part of his four-year NFL career. Jones posted career highs in passing yards (3,205), completion percentage (67.2%) and passer rating (92.5). He also established himself as one of the NFL’s best dual-threat quarterbacks.
The Worst Use of a Contract Year award goes to Baker Mayfield, who took a slight pay cut from his fully guaranteed $18.858 million fifth-year option to $15.358 million with $3.5 million of incentives being added to facilitate a trade to the Panthers. Mayfield’s subpar play was an impetus for the Panthers firing head coach Matt Rhule and general manager Marty Hurney.
This year’s NFL awards from an economic perspective provide an interesting insight into the financial landscape of the league. From the Most Valuable Acquisition to the Biggest Steal, these awards demonstrate the impact veteran acquisitions have on a team’s fortunes and the importance of making the most of a contract year.