Heisman Winners Inking Deals In Latest NFL Free Agency Season

Baker Mayfield / Credit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There are more seasons in the NFL than on the calendar.

You’ve got the preseason, regular season and postseason of course.

There’s offseason, but that includes its own subset of seasons, which includes mini-camps, OTAs and draft analysis season, which, if we’re being honest, never really ends.

Another season just kicked off, and that’s NFL free agency, and our Heisman Fraternity has some news.

First, 2015 Heisman winner Derrick Henry — a Tennessee Titan since being drafted in 2016 and their starter since 2018 — has found a new home, signing a two-year, $16-million contract with the Baltimore Ravens that will team him with fellow Heisman winner Lamar Jackson.

Henry is the NFL’s active career rushing leader with 9,502 yards and ends his Titan tenure second on the franchise’s career rushing chart, sandwiched between Heisman winners Eddie George in first (10,009) and Earl Campbell in third (8.620). 

By the way, Heisman winners Mike Rozier (3,426) and Billy Cannon (2,111) are eighth and 16th, respectively, on the Titans’ career rushing list.

Henry’s pairing with Jackson continues a recent trend of Heisman winners as teammates. Henry teamed with 2014 winner Marcus Mariota between 2016 and 2019 while Mariota was teammates with 2020 winner DeVonta Smith in Philadelphia in 2023.

Jackson is no stranger to having a Heisman teammate, either. He teamed with both 2009 winner Mark Ingram and 2011 winner Robert Griffin III in 2019 and 2020.

Baker Mayfield has made his share of moves the past two seasons. But after leading Tampa Bay to the 2023 playoffs as a first-year Buccaneer and earning his first career Pro Bowl nod, the 2017 Heisman winner was rewarded with a three-year contract worth up to $115 million with $50 million guaranteed. 

Speaking of the Bucs, their former No. 1 draft pick, 2013 Heisman winner Jameis Winston, is moving to his third team and has signed with the Cleveland Browns. 

Winston spent his first five seasons as the starter in Tampa before playing the last four in New Orleans, though much of it while battling numerous injuries.

He leads all active Heisman players in the NFL with 22,104 passing yards and 141 passing TDs.

Pivoting back to Mariota, the veteran NFL QB signed this week with the Washington Commanders, his fourth team in as many seasons, where he will compete for a starting job.

Smith, entering his fourth season, is eligible for a contract extension (the Eagles have a fifth-year option for Smith in 2025) but neither side appears in a hurry.