We all know there’s a lot of money in the NFL, with the sport raking in millions per year. So, who are the highest paid NFL athletes? We’re taking a look at the top earners in the league, with quarterbacks taking up all the spots in the top 10.
All date sourced from Spotrac.
Highest Paid NFL Athletes
1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers – $50.3 million
Whilst Aaron Rodgers’ future is still undecided ahead of next season, wherever he goes he’ll likely have a very high salary. Earning $50,3 million a year in the NFL, it makes him the league’s highest earning player. He signed the $50 million + contract extension last year, and is the first player in NFL history to make over $50 million per season.
He’s a two-time MVP, and has won the Super Bowl once in his 18-year career with the Green Bay Packers.
2. Russell Wilson, QB, Denver Broncos – $49 million
Russell Wilson signed for the Denver Broncos in the 2022 offseason, and still is the second highest earning player in the NFL. The QB won a super bowl during only his second professional season, when he played with the Seattle Seahawks. He was also named as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2020, in one of his final seasons as a Seahawk.
He holds the record for the most wins by an NFL quarterback through nine seasons and is one of only five quarterbacks in NFL history with a career passer rating over 100.
3. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals – $46.1 million
Kyler Murray inked a new five-year $230.5 million extension with the Cardinals last offseason, which locks him down for the foreseeable future. He’s one of the league’s hottest talents, and since making his debut in the league back in 2019, has improved his passer rating every season.
At the age of just 25, he’s already been in the Pro Bowl team twice, in 2020 and 2021. Whilst the Cardinals didn’t have their best season last campaign, he’ll hope he can influence them to a better finish this time around.
4. Deshaun Watson, QB, Cleveland Browns – $46 million
The highly controversial Deshaun Watson sits high up in the league’s highest paid players. Since the Houston Texans traded him due to off-field problems, his move to the Cleveland Browns will bring him home $230 million over five years. Despite having an 11-game suspension to the start of the 2022 season, he still stands to make a significant amount of money, as it’s all guaranteed.
5. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs – $45 million
Patrick Mahomes signed one of sports largest known contracts ever back in 2020. His deal over 10 years is worth over $450 million. Since becoming the Chiefs starting quarterback, Mahomes had led the team to five consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances. In that time, he has also two Super Bowl trophies in the last four seasons, first in the 2019 season, and most recently in the 2022 season.
His relatively short six-season NFL career so far have led many to believe he is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. It doesn’t look like the Chiefs are going to regret giving him the NFL’s richest contract any time soon.
6. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills – $43 million
Josh Allen has been a hero at the Buffalo Bills, and in his breakout season in 2020, he led the team to their first division title and playoff victory since 1995, en route to an AFC Championship Game. In the same season, he also set the Bills franchise records for single-season passing yards and touchdowns, while earning Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors.
The following two years, Allen brought the Bills to consecutive division titles, the first time the franchise had achieved that since 1991.
He made the Pro-Bowl team again in 2022, and will be the Bills’ main man for some years to come.
7. Derek Carr, QB, New Orleans Saints – $40.5 million
Derek Carr was most recently at the Las Vegas Raiders, where he helped them reach the playoffs during the 2016 season, which was their first since 2002. He even led them to the playoffs again in 2021, but the 2022 season was one to forget for Carr.
He didn’t live up to expectations, and eventually lost his job as the Raiders’ starting quarterback. In the end, he agreed to be released at the end of the season, and left joining the New Orleans Saints.
8. Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys – $40 million
When Dak Prescott signed for the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie in 2016, he was intended to serve as a backup. However, he became their starting quarterback, due to Tony Romo got injured. Prescott went on to lead the Cowboys to top seed of the NFC and set multiple rookie QB records, earning him the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Since then, Prescott has led the Cowboys to two more division titles, and made two Pro Bowl appearances. In 2022, he won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.
9. Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings – $35 million
Kirk Cousins signed as a free agent for the Minnesota Vikings back in 2018, and hasn’t looked back since. He ranks sixth all-time in completion percentage, with at least 1,500 pass attempts. He’s also eighth in the NFL’s all-time regular season career passer rating.
Despite disappointment in the 2022 playoffs, he still made the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in his career, and will hope that his Vikings side can have a better go in the postseason this time around.
10. Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions – $33.5 million
After a disappointing rookie season for the LA Rams back in 2016, Jared Goff rebounded well in his second season. He helped lead the Rams to their first winning season in 14 years and their first playoff appearance for 13 years. In 2018, he aided the Rams in their first Super Bowl appearance since 2001, receiving a Pro Bowl honor in the process.
He didn’t have a great final season with the Rams, and was traded to the Detroit Lions in 2021, signing a lucrative deal worth over $33 million a year.
Other Highest Paid NFL Athletes
- Aaron Donald, DT, LA Rams – $31.6 million
- Matt Ryan, QB, Indianapolis Colts – $30 million
- Tyreek Hill, WR, Miami Dolphins – $30 million
- Ryan Tannehil, QB, Tennessee Titans – $29.5 million
- TJ Watt, EDGE, Pittsburgh Steelers – $28 million
- Davante Adams, WR, Las Vegas Raiders – $28 million
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