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A contract year will occur at least once in every professional athlete’s career. This is basically the last year a player has left on their contract.
Once players' contracts run out, they are no longer a part of their former teams, unless they get re-signed. Every contract year is important because it can determine how negotiations will be as the representatives go about drawing up a new contract.
A good example would be Joe Flacco, QB of the Baltimore Ravens, in the 2012-13 season. He was on his contract year and hadn’t played very well the two previous seasons. He wound up leading the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory that season and in turn was rewarded with a six year, $120.6 million deal. On the other hand, if the Ravens hadn’t made the playoffs that season, he might not have been re-signed at all.
The following 10 players are all on their contract years and will be looking toward the end of the tunnel for their possible major contract.