Add Andy Dalton to the list of NFL players who are recently cashing in with huge paydays. Gone are the days of Larry Csonka and Earl Campbell bruising through the line, risking their bodies week in and week out for a measly five-figure salary.

Now, thanks to owners with deep pockets and a new collective bargaining agreement, players are signing outrageous extensions and becoming filthy rich. But does their level of play equate to the kind of money that is being thrown at them?

Dalton’s Deal

The Cincinnati Bengals agreed to a six-year, $96 million extension with Andy Dalton. Dalton enters his fourth year in the NFL out of TCU and has helped the Bengals reach the playoffs every year that he’s been in the league. He threw a career high 33 TDs last season, but coupled that with 20 interceptions, also a career high.

The knock on Dalton is his inability to win a playoff game. He has a huge target in receiver A.J. Green but remains wildly inconsistent and lacks the decision-making skills to be an elite quarterback, even though he is now paid like one.

Money’s on Tyron

Dallas Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith signed an eight-year extension through 2023 which could total up to $109 million, making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL. Jerry Jones has made plenty of questionable decisions throughout the years, but this isn’t one of them. Smith, who was the ninth overall pick in the 2011 draft is still a spry 23 years old and, assuming he can stay healthy, has his whole career ahead of him.

In order for the Cowboys to get over the 8-8 hump they’ve faced the last three seasons, they need to protect Tony Romo. And it all starts with Smith. He’s durable, starting all but one game since joining the Cowboys and possesses the pure athleticism needed from a starting left tackle.

Peterson Gets Paid

The debate over who is the best cornerback in the NFL could go on forever. There is no longer a question, however, about who is the highest paid. The Arizona Cardinals agreed with Patrick Peterson on a five-year contract extension worth $70 million.

The deal surpasses the recent extensions signed by Cleveland Browns’ Joe Haden and Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman. Peterson, who was drafted fifth overall in 2011 is a three-time Pro Bowler and widely considered one of the best shutdown corners in the league (Just don’t ask Richard Sherman's opinion.)

Peterson has also made an impact on special teams, returning four punts for touchdowns in his rookie season. At just 24 years old, Peterson’s best seasons could still be yet to come.

Topics:
Cincinnati Bengals
NFL
Arizona Cardinals
Dallas Cowboys