Five Players from the 2020 NFL Draft Class Who Might Get Paid this Offseason

With the regular season in the books, players drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft are now eligible for contract extensions. This means that it might be a lucrative offseason for guys like Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Justin Jefferson, and more.

While we’re still more likely to see players from the 2019 draft class be extended, some of these players have played well enough to earn their way into the contract extension discussions.

So, who might be up for an extension?

The obvious names are Joe Burrow and Justin Jefferson. They seem like slam dunks to get early extensions from their teams. Remember, these would be early extensions. Plenty more players from this 2020 draft class will be in line for extensions after the 2023 season.

There are also players taken outside of the first round who might be in line for an early extension, like Jonathan Taylor. However, as disastrous as things are in Indianapolis, extending Taylor might not be a top priority for them this year.

Today we’re going to look at five players that I think are serious contenders to land contract extensions this offseason. Remember, that doesn’t mean that other players won’t have their fifth-year options picked up otherwise get a deal next offseason. This is simply five players who I would bet on getting paid this offseason.

Joe Burrow, QB (CIN) – Round 1, Pick 1

The 1-1 of the 2020 NFL Draft has lived up to all the hype that followed him out of Baton Rouge. Even with half of his rookie season being lost to a torn ACL. Before the ACL injury cut his rookie campaign short, Burrow had already thrown for 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions while completing 65.3 percent of his passes in 10 starts for the Bengals.

Year two saw Burrow throw for 4,611 yards, 34 touchdowns, and a 108.3 passer rating as he led the Bengals to the Super Bowl. Year three for Burrow has been more of the same, throwing for 4,475 yards and 35 touchdowns en route to an NFC North title for Cincinnati.

Burrow is a slam-dunk top-five quarterback in the NFL, and he will get paid like one. Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray set the current quarterback market value with their extensions ahead of the 2022 season. Those deals will pay them $46.1 million AAV and $46.0 million AAV, respectively. Cleveland and Arizona look silly for those deals just a season later (although Cleveland looked like clowns the day they handed Watson that deal), and Murray’s extension might have cost Arizona’s GM and head coach their jobs last week.

While I think NFL front offices want to reset the quarterback market after seeing some disastrously bad mega deals handed out to signal-callers in recent years, Burrow deserves to be paid like the upper-echelon quarterback that he is, and I think that he will.

Market Value Projection (Spotrac) and Prediction: $44M AAV – 7 years, $325 million

Justin Herbert, QB (LAC) – Round 1, Pick 6

Aside from Joe Burrow, no quarterback taken in the 2020 draft has had as much success as Justin Herbert. Herbert has posted three straight 4,000-yard seasons and threw for 5,014 yards last season and 4,739 this season.

The former Oregon Duck has thrown for 94 touchdowns to 35 interceptions and over 14,000 yards in his first three years.

Herbert has proven that he’s the quarterback of the future in Los Angeles. So, why wouldn’t the Chargers make the “social media quarterback” the “very rich social media quarterback” and get that out of the way.

Like Burrow, Herbert is due for a top of the market raise. Although I think he comes in at a lesser number than Burrow.

Market Value Projection (Spotrac) and Prediction: $43.1 million, 7 years, $302 million

CeeDee Lamb, WR (DAL) – Round 1, Pick 17

CeeDee Lamb has been solid since arriving in Dallas. Lamb has caught 107 passes (4th) for 1,359 yards (6th) and nine touchdowns (4th) for the Cowboys this season. CeeDee has 260 catches for 3,396 yards and 20 touchdowns in 49 games with the Cowboys.

Lamb has proven to be a true WR1 for the Cowboys. Like in the case of Justin Jefferson, the wide receiver market is booming, so why not get a long-term deal done now?

Market Value Projection (Spotrac) and Prediction: $22.5 million – 5 years, $115 million

Justin Jefferson, WR (MIN) – Round 1, Pick 22

Crazy to think that the Eagles went with Reagor at 21, one pick before Justin Jefferson went to Minnesota. While Reagor has struggled to find any consistency through three seasons, Jefferson has established himself as one of — if not the — the NFL’s premier receivers. Jefferson caught 128 passes for 1,809 yards and 8 touchdowns this season and has 324 catches for 4,825 yards and 25 touchdowns in three seasons with the Vikings.

The Vikings should back the Brinks truck up to Jefferson’s house the minute they can and lock him up long-term. Wide receiver deals are going up, and no one will get a bigger bag than Jefferson when it comes to that position.

Market Value Projection (Spotrac) and Prediction: $26.7 million – 5 years, $135 million

Jalen Hurts, QB (PHI) – Round 2, Pick 53

Jalen Hurts went after former Alabama teammate Tua Tagovailoa in the NFL Draft. Still, I think he’ll get his first significant NFL pay day before Tua after a sensational season for the Eagles in which he threw for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns to six interceptions and a 101.5 passer rating as the Eagles won 14 games and clinched the top seed in the NFC playoffs and an NFC East title.

Hurts has back-to-back 3,000-yard seasons through the air and back-to-back 700-yard seasons on the ground, giving Hurts 6,845 passing yards and 1,544 rushing yards, and 61 total touchdowns. Pay the man, Philly.

Market Value Projection (Spotrac) and Prediction: $45.6 million – 7 years, $314 million

written by

Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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