While Ja’Wuan James is playing for his big payday this year with the Miami, his Tennessee football teammate who entered the NFL ranks when he did just got his big payday this past offseason. Zach Fulton, after four years with the Kansas City Chiefs, signed a four-year deal worth $28 million, so he’s making $7 million a year.
Whether or not he plays as hard after getting his contract is a question, but that’s one that applies to all NFL players. What applies to Fulton, though, is he’s now in Houston. And with DeShaun Watson returning to health with the Texans, he is certainly blocking for a better quarterback than James is in Ryan Tannehill.
As a result, Fulton is one spot higher than James on this list. He figures to burst onto the scene this year with Houston, a team that is clearly on the rise. He’s already raising eyebrows this preseason from other fellow offensive linemen because of how hard-nosed he is.
At 6’5″ 324 pounds, Fulton has a major job on the interior line to keep the run game going and take pressure off of Watson. After really emerging last year for the Kansas City Chiefs, we’re banking on him taking even another step with the contract distractions behind him.
Fulton is going to be a big name by the end of the season. Vols fans everywhere will be able to take pride in his play, and he’s going to have a role in making the AFC South a brutally tough division this season.