Now-Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis had the most turbulent ride of any prospect during the 2023 NFL Draft. He was once before the draft, according to odds out in Vegas. Then, Levis spent all of Thursday night in the Kansas City green room in despair as 31 names were called out by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, none of them being his. However, the Indianapolis Colts, who selected Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson fourth overall, had Levis as their backup plan at four, via The Athletic, if a team that wasn't the Houston Texans had traded up to the third overall pick to select Richardson.
The tumble down the draft board allowed the Kentucky product to stay in the AFC South and learn behind 10-year vet Ryan Tannehill in 2023, but the price for that mentorship is steep: just under $25 million dollars. The 2022 NFL Draft's fourth overall pick, 2022 Defensive Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardner, signed a four-year, $33.5 million deal, all of which was guaranteed. Meanwhile, the 2022 NFL Draft's 33rd overall pick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Logan Hall, received a four-year, $9.3 million contract with $7.6 million guaranteed.
That pay gap in total contract value is roughly $24.2 million. With the 2023 salary cap at $224.8 million, a jump of $16.2 million from the $208.2 million in 2022, contract values will be higher for this year's draft class, but the value gap between picks will likely remain the same. Many athletes talk about having a chip on their shoulder, but Levis will have one of the biggest ones in sports' history, a nearly $25 million one.