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12 NFL Players Who Need Big Seasons

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Money's On the Line

By Jordan Raanan, XFINITY Sports

Dannell Ellerbe had started just seven games in his first three NFL seasons. He averaged a measly 30 tackles per year. After a breakout 2012, the linebacker scored a five-year, $35 million deal with the Miami Dolphins that included $14 million guaranteed.

Ellerbe's big season paid off. He had a strong year right before the biggest moment of his life—free agency.

The former Ravens linebacker isn’t the first to capitalize on a single season worth of success. He won’t be the last, either.

Here are a dozen players (mostly impending free agents) who can break the bank with a strong 2013 season:

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Jordan Raanan has covered the NFL since 2005. Follow him on Twitter @JordanRaanan, on Facebook or email him at

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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