The National Football League’s (NFL) new league year started on March 16 – allowing free agents to sign across the league and teams to execute trades. In one of the craziest off-seasons in NFL history, former Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl players have cashed in during free agency to the tune of over $275 million.
35 former Independence Bowl players have signed contracts in the last couple weeks and accumulated that $275 million. That number should increase as more players secure contracts in the offseason, but none of those will surpass the contract handed to 2009 Independence Bowl participant Von Miller.
The future Hall of Fame pass rusher played the first 10.5 years of his career for the team that drafted him number two overall in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft – the Denver Broncos. After a mid-season trade shipped him to the Los Angeles Rams and brought him a Super Bowl LVI championship, Miller locked in the biggest Independence Bowl alumni contracts of this offseason.
Miller and the Buffalo Bills agreed to a massive six-year, $120 million contract, which paid the 33-year-old edge rusher $45 million guaranteed at signing. Over the first 11 seasons of his career, Miller has earned over $144 million, and by the end of this contract, he is scheduled to rake in over $264 million total for his career.
According to Pro Football Reference, Miller ranks 22nd on the NFL’s all-time sack list with 115.5 sacks. That ranks first among active players – leading Las Vegas Raiders’ edge rusher Chandler Jones by eight sacks. Miller played in the 2009 Independence Bowl for Texas A&M against Georgia, and the sophomore recorded four total tackles and 0.5 tackles-for-loss in the game. Miller is one of the 73 former Independence Bowl players to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft – one of 19 first round selections in the past 10 drafts and one of 18 former Independence Bowl players taken in the top 10 of their respective drafts.
A total of 35 Independence Bowl alumni have signed contracts since the league year started on March 16 – with 10 players signing multi-year deals and seven players signing eight-figure deals. One player, former NC State defensive end Kentavius Street, signed with the New Orleans Saints but the details of his contract have not been released yet. The following is the list of players that have signed NFL contracts through March 31:
- Von Miller (Edge – Texas A&M, 2009): Signed a six-year, $120 million deal with the Bills
- B.J. Hill (DT – NC State, 2016): Re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals a three-year, $30 million deal
- Mitch Morse (C – Missouri, 2011): Signed a two-year, $19.5 million extension through 2024 with the Bills
- Ben Jones (C – Georgia, 2009): Re-signed with the Tennessee Titans on a two-year, $14 million deal
- Braxton Berrios (WR – Miami, 2014): Re-signed with the New York Jets on a two-year, $12 million deal
- Justin Jones (DT – NC State, 2016): Signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Chicago Bears
- A.J. Cann (OT – South Carolina, 2014): Signed a two-year, $10.5 million deal with the Houston Texans
- Justin Britt (C – Missouri, 2011): Re-signed with the Texans on a two-year, $9 million deal
- Oren Burks (LB – Vanderbilt, 2016): Signed a two-year, $5 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers
- Randy Bullock (K – Texas A&M, 2009): Re-signed with the Titans on a two-year, $4.68 million deal
- Jakobi Meyers (WR – NC State, 2016): Signed a one-year, $3.986 million tender with the New England Patriots
- Brandon Facyson (CB – Virginia Tech, 2015): Signed a one-year, $3.84 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts
- Jon Feliciano (OG – Miami, 2014): Signed a one-year, $3.25 million deal with the New York Giants
- Derrick Nnadi (DT – Florida State, 2017): Re-signed with the Kansas City Chiefs on a one-year, $2.75 million deal
- Joey Slye (K – Virginia Tech, 2015): Re-signed for one-year, $2.43 million with the Washington Commanders
- Chase Daniel (QB – Missouri, 2011): Re-signed with the Los Angeles Chargers for one-year, $2.25 million
- Artie Burns (CB – Miami, 2014): Signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks
- Will Richardson (OT – NC State, 2016): Re-signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on a one-year, $2 million deal
- Duke Johnson (RB – Miami, 2014): Signed a one-year, $1.273 million deal with the Bills
- Tre Herndon (CB – Vanderbilt, 2016): Re-signed for one-year, $1.188 million with the Jaguars
- Trent Sherfield (WR – Vanderbilt, 2016): Signed for one-year, $1.188 million with the Miami Dolphins
- Deon Bush (S – Miami, 2014): Signed a one-year, $1.188 million deal with the Chiefs
- Beau Brinkley (LS – Missouri, 2011): Signed for one-year, $1.12 million with the Bears
- Auden Tate (WR – Florida State, 2017): Signed a one-year, $1.12 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons
- Corn Elder (CB – Miami, 2014): Re-signed with the Commanders on a one-year, $1.055 million deal
- Trey Edmunds (RB – Virginia Tech, 2015): Signed a one-year, $1.04 million reserve/futures contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers
- Michael Dogbe (DT – Temple, 2018): Re-signed with the Arizona Cardinals for one-year, $1 million
- Cornell Armstrong (CB – Southern Miss, 2017): Signed a one-year, $990,000 contract with the Falcons
- Daniel Helm (TE – Duke, 2018): Signed with the Falcons for one-year, $965,000
- Khari Blasingame (FB – Vanderbilt, 2016): Signed with the Bears for one-year, $965,000
- Chapelle Russell (LB – Temple, 2018): Re-signed with the Jaguars on a one-year, $895,000 deal
- Joe Giles-Harris (LB – Duke, 2018): Signed with the Bills on a one-year, $895,000 reserve/futures contract
- Marvin Wilson (DT – Florida State, 2017): Signed a one-year, $705,000 reserve/futures deal with the Philadelphia Eagles
- Tim Jones (WR – Southern Miss, 2017): Signed with the Jaguars on a one-year, $705,000 reserve/futures contract
Miami’s 2014 team led the way in former Independence Bowl players signed so far this offseason, as six Hurricanes who appeared in the 2014 Independence Bowl against South Carolina have signed contracts this offseason. The 2016 Independence Bowl matchup between NC State and Vanderbilt leads the way in most combined players signed this offseason with eight, as both NC State and Vanderbilt have had four players from that 2016 game sign contract so far this offseason.