The FCS level has provided a ton of NFL talent over the past few decades, and many of those players once spurned by FBS schools are now making as much or more money than their NFL peers from the FBS level.
In fact, if you compile a 22-person starting lineup (we'll set aside special teams for the moment) an all-FCS roster would net just over $151 million when considering their current NFL contracts. That means under the 2016 NFL salary cap (about $155 million), you could get the 22 highest-paid FCS players at each position.
It's important to note this starting lineup is entirely based on money. I think everyone would agree former Northern Iowa and current Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson is the best running back from the FCS level in the NFL right now, but he's still on his rookie contract (averaging $729,843 per year). Isaiah Crowell gets the nod to start because he's the highest paid RB.
So here's a look at a 22-person starting lineup made entirely of FCS players:
Note* — All contract data reflects the average yearly salary for each player. Contract data courtesy of Spotrac.com.
Offense: $73,546,166 per year
|RB||Isaiah Crowell||$2,746,000||Cleveland||Alabama State|
|FB||Kyle Juszczyk||$5,250,000||San Francisco||Harvard|
|TE||Julius Thomas||$6,100,000||Miami||Portland State|
|WR||Taylor Gabriel||$2,746,000||Atlanta||Abilene Christian|
|LT||Terron Armstead||$13,000,000||New Orleans||Arkansas-Pine Bluff|
|LG||Ben Ijalana||$5,125,000||New York Jets||Villanova|
|RG||Evan Dietrich-Smith||$3,562,500||Tampa Bay||Idaho State|
|RT||Austin Howard||$6,000,000||Oakland||Northern Iowa|
Defense: $77,538,400 per year
|DL||Chris Baker||$5,250,000||Tampa Bay||Hampton|
|LB||Robert Mathis||$9,000,000||Indianapolis||Alabama A&M|
|LB||Todd Davis||$2,746,000||Denver||Sacramento State|
|LB||Arthur Moats||$2,500,000||Pittsburgh||James Madison|
|DB||Trumaine Johnson||$16,742,400||Los Angeles||Montana|
|DB||Josh Norman||$15,000,000||Washington||Coastal Carolina|
|DB||Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie||$7,000,000||New York Giants||Tennessee State|
|DB||Buster Skrine||$6,250,000||New York Jets||Chattanooga|
|DB||Jeremy Lane||$5,750,000||Seattle||Northwestern State|
Other Notable FCS NFL Contracts
|QB||Carson Wentz||$6,669,085||Philadelphia||North Dakota State|
|QB||Josh McCown||$6,000,000||New York Jets||Sam Houston State|
|K||Adam Vinatieri||$3,000,000||Indianapolis||South Dakota State|
|CB||Marcus Williams||$2,746,000||New York Jets||North Dakota State|
|OL||Earl Watford||$2,500,000||Jacksonville||James Madison|