When NFL players show promise but have yet to experience sustained success or remain healthy, they often sign one-year "prove-it" deals. Such players typically have to prove they can put together one more strong, healthy season before they earn a lucrative long-term NFL contract.
In some cases, players opt to sign prove-it deals and bet on themselves to attempt to land significantly larger contracts moving forward. In other cases, a prove-it contract is a player's only option.
The following seven NFL players might be in line to benefit from strong prove-it campaigns after signing one-year contracts this offseason.
Indianapolis Colts WR Devin Funchess
The background: Devin Funchess is coming off a decent but inconsistent four-year stretch with the Carolina Panthers, who selected him in the second round of the 2015 draft. The 25-year-old is one year removed from an 840-yard, eight-touchdown campaign, but his output declined in 2018 (549 yards, four touchdowns).
The prove-it contract: One year, $10 million with the Indianapolis Colts
What he has to prove: Funchess has caught only 51.8 percent of the passes thrown his way over his four-year career, which is low even for a deep threat. That rate was close to 57 percent in his breakout 2017 season, but his production dipped in 2018. Was that because Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had an injured throwing shoulder?
What he should prove: That the more consistent, reliable and healthy Andrew Luck can help him rebound from his disappointing 2018 campaign. He'll be better supported in the Indianapolis offense, and he should benefit greatly from T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron attracting most of the defensive attention.
Dallas Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
The background: Randall Cobb was a Pro Bowler in 2014, but he hasn't been the same since. Many of his rate-based numbers have declined steadily since then, in part because of injuries.
The prove-it contract: One year, $5 million with the Dallas Cowboys
What he has to prove: Cobb will be looking to make it through a complete 16-game season for the first time since 2015, but limited missed time won't necessarily cost him a long-term deal in Dallas or elsewhere. The key might be for him to show the league that he was a victim of Mike McCarthy's stale offensive approach during a tough few years for the Packers organization.
What he should prove: That as a 2011 second-round pick with a career catch rate of nearly 70 percent, he's a better (and younger) option with a higher ceiling than his slot predecessor, Cole Beasley.
Carolina Panthers OT Daryl Williams
The background: During his first full season as an NFL starter in 2017, Daryl Williams graded out as the league's best right tackle, according to Pro Football Focus. However, the 2015 fourth-round pick suffered a season-derailing knee injury in training camp last year, which limited him to only one regular-season game.
The prove-it contract: One year, $6 million with the Panthers
What he has to prove: Not only does Williams have to prove that he's healthy, but he has to show the Panthers that 2017 wasn't an anomaly for a player who didn't stand out during his first two NFL campaigns. That won't be easy with rookie second-round pick Greg Little joining the fray at offensive tackle in Carolina.