If you want to make serious money, you probably don’t want to be a cornerback in the NFC South right now.
I just did a quick sampling of NFC South cornerback salaries (including bonuses) for this year and only Atlanta’s Asante Samuel ($4.95 million), New Orleans’ Keenan Lewis ($7 million), Jabari Greer ($4.15 million) and Patrick Robinson ($800,000), Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn ($1.1 million) and Tampa Bay’s Eric Wright ($7.75 million) are scheduled to make more than the minimum salary, which varies depending on the number of accrued seasons a player has. And it’s important to note that Wright is likely to either take a cut in pay or get released before long.
This is all shocking for a division that’s full of high-powered offenses. Right now, there’s no clear-cut best cornerback in the division.
That leads me to believe that all four teams might not be done making moves at cornerback. Carolina doesn’t have a No. 1 corner on its roster. Neither does Atlanta. Greer and Lewis might be all right in New Orleans, but the Saints need some insurance in case Robinson has a repeat of last year. Outside of Wright, Tampa Bay has a bunch of young, no-name corners.
That’s got to change. We’re going to see some corners taken early by NFC South teams in the upcoming draft and that could bump up the pay scale.
Of course, there’s one other scenario hanging out there that could change the cornerback pay scale. If Tampa Bay ever gets around to trading for Darrelle Revis (and I think there still is a decent chance of that), the Bucs will have to work a long-term deal to pay him more than any other cornerback.