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The NFL continues to undervalue slot cornerbacks

Per Over the Cap, the current highest-paid slot cornerback in the NFL on a per-year basis is 2019 Detroit Lions signee Justin Coleman. He inked a four-year, $36 million deal that pays him $9 million on average, edging out Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tavon Young ($8.6 million per year) and the recently signed Chris Harris Jr. ($8.5 million per year). Yet, all those players hover around 20th overall in average salary at the cornerback position. The contracts handed out this offseason only reinforced that the NFL does not value slot cornerbacks in the same way that they do their counterparts on the outside.

Player Signing Team PFF FA Ranking Average Salary
Chris Harris Jr. Chargers 11 $8.5 million
Nickell Robey-Coleman Eagles 39 $1 million
Brian Poole Jets 53 $5 million
Mackensie Alexander Bengals 77 $4 million
Anthony Brown Cowboys 131 $5.2 million

The table above represents PFF’s top five slot cornerbacks who have agreed to terms on new deals this offseason. We have Kendall Fuller listed as a safety after he finished the season there with the Kansas City Chiefs, but he would be the highest paid slot cornerback thus far with his four-year, $40 million deal should he return to the position with the Washington Redskins.

The only other player who would be represented in the table but still remains on the market is Logan Ryan (47th in PFF’s Free Agency Rankings). With reports coming out last week that he won't agree to a deal that pays him less per year than the $10 million he made with the Tennessee Titans in 2019, his continued free-agent status would seemingly indicate that teams are reluctant to offer him that kind of money. But should they be?

To compare, here are the top five free agent outside cornerbacks, according to us at PFF, to sign to a new contract this offseason.

Player Signing Team PFF FA Ranking Average Salary
Byron Jones Dolphins 10 $16.5 million
Trae Waynes Bengals 49 $14 million
Desmond Trufant Lions 51 $10 million
James Bradberry Giants 71 $14.5 million
Bradley Roby Texans 72 $12 million

That doesn’t even include the new deal given to Darius Slay following his trade to the Philadelphia Eagles that will pay him a position-high $16.7 million per year on average.

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