Independence Bowl Alumni Accumulate Nearly $200 Million in NFL Free Agency
Two months after the opening of National Football League (NFL) free agency and two weeks following the 2021 NFL Draft, 29 Independence Bowl alumni have signed contracts worth nearly $200 million.
The NFL set the salary cap for the 2021 season at $182.5 million – down from $198.2 million in 2020, but that did not deter former Independence Bowl players from signing contracts worth $196 million and counting. The most lucrative contract of the offseason was awarded to Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons. He played last season on a franchise tag but signed a four-year, $61 million contract this offseason – making him the highest-paid safety in the NFL. Simmons played in the 2013 Independence Bowl for Boston College. His college teammate and fellow safety, John Johnson III, signed a three-year, $33.75 million deal with the Cleveland Browns after starring for the Los Angeles Rams the past four years.
Star pass rusher Von Miller was awarded the third-most money this offseason among alumni, as the Broncos exercised his one-year, $18 million option for the 2021 season. Miller did not play in 2020 after suffering a season-ending injury in preseason practice.
Miami features the most Independence Bowl alumni who signed this offseason – with six players signing new contracts. Vanderbilt had four former Independence Bowl players sign contracts, while South Carolina and Boston College had three apiece. The Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos led the way in giving three Independence Bowl alumni contracts this offseason.
The complete list of players who have received contracts in NFL free agency this offseason is as follows.
- Justin Simmons (S, Boston College) – Signed 4-year, $61 million extension with Denver Broncos
- John Johnson III (S, Boston College) – Signed 3-year, $33.75 million deal with Cleveland Browns
- Von Miller (OLB, Texas A&M) – Denver Broncos exercised 1-year, $18 million team option
- Ryan Succop (K, South Carolina) – Re-signed with Tampa Bay Buccaneers on 3-year, $12 million deal
- Adam Butler (DT, Vanderbilt) – Signed 2-year, $9.5 million deal with Miami Dolphins
- A.J. Green (WR, Georgia) – Signed 1-year, $8.5 million deal with Arizona Cardinals
- Kevin Pierre-Louis (LB, Boston College) – Signed 2-year, $8 million deal with Houston Texans
- Denzel Perryman (LB, Miami) – Signed 2-year, $6 million deal with Carolina Panthers
- Jeremiah Attaochu (LB, Georgia Tech) – Signed 2-year, $5.5 million deal with Chicago Bears
- Mike Davis (RB, South Carolina) – Signed 2-year, $5.5 million deal with Atlanta Falcons
- Kareem Jackson (CB, Alabama) – Re-signed with Denver Broncos on 1-year, $5.5 million deal
- Gus Edwards (RB, Miami) – Re-signed with Baltimore Ravens on 1-year, $3.39 million deal
- Tre Herndon (CB, Vanderbilt) – Re-signed with Jacksonville Jaguars on 1-year, $2 million deal
- Randy Bullock (K, Texas A&M) – Signed 1-year, $1.75 million deal with Detroit Lions
- Deon Bush (S, Miami) – Re-signed with Chicago Bears on 1-year, $1.5 million deal
- Cornell Armstrong (CB, Southern Miss) – Re-signed with Houston Texans on 1-year, $1.25 million deal
- Giovani Bernard (RB, North Carolina) – Signed 1-year, $1.2 million deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Shawn Williams (S, Georgia) – Signed 1-year, $1.2 million deal with Arizona Cardinals
- Josh Jones (S, NC State) – Re-signed with Jacksonville Jaguars on 1-year, $1.1275 million deal
- Phillip Dorsett (WR, Miami) – Signed 1-year, $1.1275 million deal with Jacksonville Jaguars
- Damiere Byrd (WR, South Carolina) – Signed one-year, $1.1275 million deal with Chicago Bears
- Michael Badgley (K, Miami) – Re-signed with Los Angeles Chargers on 1-year, $1.1 million deal
- Chase Daniel (QB, Missouri) – Signed 1-year, $1.075 million deal with Los Angeles Chargers
- Brandon Facyson (CB, Virginia Tech) – Re-signed with Los Angeles Chargers on 1-year, $945,000 deal
- Trent Sherfield (WR, Vanderbilt) – Signed 1-year, $920,000 deal with San Francisco 49ers
- Corn Elder (CB, Miami) – Signed 1-year, $920,000 deal with Detroit Lions
- Joey Slye (K, Virginia Tech) – Re-signed with Carolina Panthers on 1-year, $850,000 deal
- Khari Blasingame (FB, Vanderbilt) – Re-signed with Tennessee Titans on 1-year, $850,000 deal
- Michael Dogbe (DT, Temple) – Signed 2021 futures deal with Arizona Cardinals worth 1-year, $850,000
While 29 players have received contracts in the 2021 offseason, 12 former Independence Bowl players remained unsigned. The list of unsigned players are as follows:
- Tre Boston (S – North Carolina, 2011)
- Pharoh Cooper (WR – South Carolina, 2014)
- Justin Houston (OLB – Georgia, 2009)
- Johnathan Joseph (CB – South Carolina, 2005)
- Jason Peters (OT – Arkansas, 2003)
- Ito Smith (RB – Southern Miss, 2017)
- Isaiah Ford (WR – Virginia Tech, 2015)
- Geno Atkins (DT – Georgia, 2009)
- Duke Johnson (RB – Miami, 2014)
- Beau Brinkley (LS – Missouri, 2011)
- Abry Jones (DT – Georgia, 2009)
- Sheldon Richardson (DT – Missouri, 2011)
Per the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, veterans signed after 4 p.m. EST on May 3 will no longer contribute toward the free agency compensatory pick calculation, so there should be an influx of NFL veterans signing contracts in the months leading up to training camp and the 2021 season.
ABOUT THE RADIANCE TECHNOLOGIES INDEPENDENCE BOWL™:
Established in 1976, the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl™ is the nation’s 11th-oldest bowl game – with the 45th edition slated for the 2021 Bowl Season. Louisiana Tech recorded the first shutout in the game’s history with a 14-0 victory over Miami in the 44th Independence Bowl in 2019. The Independence Bowl Foundation announced a one-year extension with Radiance Technologies – ensuring they will be the title sponsor through 2025. The bowl’s conference and team agreements, as well as the television agreement, also run through the 2025 season. Army West Point and BYU are slated to matchup against a rotation of the Pac-12 Conference, American Athletic Conference and Conference USA, which will be televised on an ESPN network.
The Independence Bowl Foundation is prevalent in the Shreveport-Bossier City area throughout the year, hosting events to help enhance the economic impact and growth of our community. The Mission of the Independence Bowl is to attract and provide quality, nationally recognized football competition oriented to the Ark-La-Tex region. For more information, visit RadianceTechnologiesIndependenceBowl.com or follow the bowl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @IndyBowl.
Independence Bowl Foundation
P.O Box 1723, Shreveport LA 71166 | 401 Market Street, Shreveport, LA 71101 | 318.221.0712