5 NFL players set to make bank on free agency

Some NFL stars are set to get a big raise on Tuesday.

The league's free agency period starts at 4 p.m. EDT, and a flurry of transactions is expected to follow. NFL teams will look to lure fresh faces, while working under the league's $143 million salary cap.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions
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Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions

Some big-name free agents have already agreed to tentative, monster deals, while others could negotiate for days before signing an agreement. But the biggest winners will be stars who were previously underpaid compared to elite players at their position.

"There's no questions some salaries are going to increase dramatically here," Michael Ginnitti, managing editor of sports contract website Spotrac, told CNBC.

Here are five stars who should see a major earnings influx when free agency starts.

1. Ndamukong Suh

The bruising defensive tackle is expected to sign a six-year, $114 million deal with the Miami Dolphins when free agency starts, according to multiple reports. With the contract, Suh and the Houston Texans' J.J. Watt would be the only defensive players with $100 million deals.

Suh was already well compensated: He made more than $12 million with the Detroit Lions last year, according to Spotrac.

The oft-fined Suh gives a significant fraction of his salary back to the league, though. The NFL has fined him for more than $600,000 during his career, according to Spotrac.

2. Darrelle Revis

The New England Patriots declined to bring back the All-Pro cornerback, and his $25 million salary-cap hit. He'll negotiate a new contract for the third consecutive season.

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All indications point to Revis—who could still sign with the Patriots—taking in a haul above $10 million next year. His one-year deal with the Patriots paid out $12 million last season, while he raked in $16 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the previous season, according to Spotrac.

The Cleveland Browns could potentially shell out to sign Revis, Ginnitti said.

3. Jeremy Maclin

The wide receiver is expected to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs in a deal worth $11 million per year, according to ESPN. The total would mark a handsome raise for Maclin, who made about $5.5 million with the Philadelphia Eagles last year, according to Spotrac.

4. DeMarco Murray

The Dallas Cowboys running back earned about $1.5 million while leading the NFL in rushing last year. Though his destination remains uncertain, Murray should expect a hefty pay increase wherever he lands, Ginnitti said.

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For comparison, the Seattle Seahawks recently extended running back Marshawn Lynch's contract for a reported $24 million over two seasons.

5. Julius Thomas

The tight end emerged as one of Peyton Manning's favorite targets on the Denver Broncos. He hauled in 12 touchdowns each of the past two seasons.

While his production could fall off without Manning, Thomas will likely get a huge raise from the $645,000 he earned last season.

The Jaguars could potentially land Thomas, Ginnitti said.

Other notables:

  • Byron Maxwell, who earned $645,000 with the Seattle Seahawks last season, should see a massive salary increase in free agency, Ginnitti said.
  • Torrey Smith, who earned about $830,000 with the Baltimore Ravens, could take in a huge free-agent haul.