Cornerback Desmond Trufant will earn more than $8 million in 2017 after the Atlanta Falcons picked up his fifth-year option on Friday.
Trufant, the 22nd pick in the 2013 draft out of Washington, made his first Pro Bowl in 2015 and has six career interceptions in 48 games.
He saw the breakout season coming.
Last summer at the outset of training camp, Trufant predicted he would be identifying with the league's elite.
"I definitely feel like I'm up there with the elite. But I'm also getting better every day," he said. "I haven't reached my prime yet, but I'm close to it. So, it's coming. It's coming."
Head coach Dan Quinn credited Trufant last season with the emergence of Robert Alford and Trufant's work in the position meeting room, where he stokes the competitiveness in the DB room.
Assistant head coach Raheem Morris, who has a background as a defensive backs coach, said Trufant's natural ability is only part of the equation.
"It's his in-the-classroom ability and his above-the-neck ability; how smart he is and what he brings to the game," he said.