An NFL roster is a zero-sum game, thanks to the salary cap. Paying one player more means you have to pay another player less. That means it's important for every team to get value out of its veteran contracts. Football Outsiders analyzed the rosters of all 32 NFL teams and picked out the most valuable contract on each one.
In doing this analysis, we considered present value, likely long-term value and percentage of the salary cap tied up. The length of a deal is less of a consideration than it would be in other sports because injury can end a player's career at any time, and most NFL contracts are structured so that neither side will want to see the end of them. However, if a team can get multiple good years out of a deal, obviously that is better than not.
Finally, we will not use drafted players on rookie contracts because then the entire list would be rookie contracts. A good player on a rookie contract is immensely valuable, as you have likely learned from the discourse about teams with good young quarterbacks being able to field better teams around them. However, we did consider players on UDFA (undrafted free agent) contracts because any team had a shot at them, though most teams do not have a UDFA worthy of being on our list.
All contract information used was cobbled together from Spotrac and Over The Cap data. Future cap percentages are based on a publicly available $208 million estimate for the 2022 salary cap. Teams are listed alphabetically by conference, and stats listed are through Week 14.
Baltimore Ravens: EDGE Tyus Bowser
Remaining contract (cap hit, percentage of cap):
2021: $3,000,000 (1.6%)
2022: $5,000,000 (2.4%)
2023: $6,500,000 (2.9%)
2024: $7,500,000 (2.9%)