NFL is one of the most profitable sporting leagues around the world. The athletes are getting paid handsomely for their talents and hard work. Most NFL players are well paid and some are arguably getting paid more than their market value.
The Philadelphia Eagles signed their franchise quarterback Jalen Hurts to a 5-year $255 million deal in the mid of the 2023 off-season. Hurts contract was only one of the many blockbuster contracts that happened in 2023. In the 2022 off-season, the Cleveland Browns signed Deshaun Watson to a 5-year $230 million fully guaranteed contract.
They are certainly getting paid a lot, but where do they rank on the Top 10 highest-paid NFL players of the all-time list? In this article, we’ll check out the 10 players who were paid the highest salary annually in the NFL.
Unsurprisingly, this list will consist only of quarterbacks since they are the ones who are getting paid the most in the NFL.Dak Prescott signed a 4-year $160 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys in 2021 that makes him the 11th highest-paid NFL player annually right now (Three players are tied for the 11th position in the list of highest-paid NFL players annually).
Prescott makes $40 million a year while carrying a cap hit of roughly $49 million for the 2023 season and continues to be the leader of the Dallas-based football team. Under Prescott, the Cowboys reached the divisional round in the playoffs last season but eventually lost against the San Francisco 49ers.
Nevertheless, the Cowboys’ future looks bright as long as they have the dual-threat QB under center. After adding some talents in the off-season, the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys will be looking for a deep postseason run in the 2023 season.
T-11. Daniel Jones (New York Giants)
Daniel Jones is the quarterback of the New York Giants. The 6’5″ quarterback recently signed a four-year $160 million contract with $104 million fully guaranteed with the G-Men. He is tied for the 11th highest-paid NFL player, earning $40 million per year.
The Giants surprised everyone by giving this huge contract to the 25-year-old quarterback since he hasn’t been even to Pro Bowl during his 4-year stint with the Giants so far.
Nevertheless, it looks like the New York-based football team has put a lot of faith in Daniel Jones after his solid outing in the 2022 season when he led the Giants to a playoff victory. Hopefully, it pays out for them. Otherwise, it’ll be one of the worst contracts in NFL history.
T-11. Matthew Stafford (Los Angeles Rams)
Immediately after winning the Super Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams signed their QB Matthew Stafford on a 4-year deal worth $160 million with $130 million fully guaranteed. Stafford is also tied 11th highest-paid NFL player with a $40 million average salary per year.
Stafford spent the first 12 years of his career in Detroit before he was rescued by the Rams in the 2021 off-season. He won the Super Bowl title in his first year in Los Angeles. But unfortunately, he missed almost the entire 2022 season due to injuries.
He is now recovering from the injuries and it looks like he will be ready to go in the 2023 season. If Matthew Stafford gets healthy, the Rams would be back in the conversation for potential Super Bowl candidates next season.
10. Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills)
When the Buffalo Bills drafted Josh Allen as the 7th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, plenty of people thought it was a bad idea. But fast forward to the future, and it seems like the Bills made the perfect choice to draft the Wyoming product.
After average outings in his first 2 seasons, Josh Allen has improved a lot to become one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Thanks to his remarkable performances in year 3, Allen got paid handsomely in 2021.
The dual-threat quarterback signed a six-year deal worth up to $258 million with $150 million in guaranteed money. He is the 10th highest-paid NFL player annually, with an annual average salary of $43,005,667.
9. Deshaun Watson (Cleveland Browns)
The Cleveland Browns changed the market value for the quarterbacks when they signed Deshaun Watsonon a 5-year $230 million fully guaranteed deal. Thanks to that contract, Watson is the 9th highest-paid NFL player of all time with annual earnings of $46,000,000.
After Watson signed that contract, most quarterbacks demanded a similar kind of deal. It’s a high-risk contract and not all the team owners are willing to give it to the players. But the Browns obviously have a lot of faith in the 27-year-old QB and hopefully, it works out well for both parties.
8. Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals)
As previously mentioned, after the Browns signed Deshaun Watson to a huge deal, most quarterbacks allegedly started to demand similar kinds of contracts, including the Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray.
Murray did get a similar contract with the Cardinals, but he just didn’t get it fully guaranteed. In July 2022, the Cardinals signed Kyler Murray to a 5-year $230.5 million contract including $160 million in guarantees.
That contract makes him the 8th highest-paid NFL player of all time, with an annual average salary of $46,100,000. The QB is currently recovering from an ACL injury and could miss half of the 2023 season per reports.
7. Russell Wilson (Denver Broncos)
The Denver Broncos went all in and acquired Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks in the 2022 off-season. The Broncos gave up a lot of draft capital to acquire the former Super Bowl Champion.
Furthermore, after acquiring him, they signed him to a massive five-year contract worth up to 245 million dollars, including $165 million in guarantees. As a result of that deal, Wilson is currently the 7th highest paid NFL player, with an average annual salary of $48,517,647.
Despite the massive contract, the Russell Wilson experiment is not working out well in Denver. But hopefully, their new addition of head coach Sean Paytonmight turn the tide around in Denver and lead them to a postseason appearance in the near future. Otherwise, the Wilson trade would become one of the worst trades in NFL history.
6. Aaron Rodgers (New York Jets)
Aaron Rodgers got traded to the New York Jets before the 2023 NFL Draft, despite signing a new deal with the Green Bay Packers just last off-season. Rodgers signed a 3-year deal worth up to $150 million, including roughly $100 million in guarantees.
The 4-time league MVP QB is the 6th highest-paid NFL player annually, earning $50,271,667 per year. After signing the deal last off-season, the 10-time Pro Bowl QB was looking for a way out from Green Bay and the NY Jets were willing to inherit his contract.
The former Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers will now be playing in New York as the trade with the Packers has gone through. The 39-year-old QB might be playing his last season next year, but when it’s said and done, his current contract might help him move up in the list of the richest NFL players of all time.
5. Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles)
This might be a huge shock for a lot of people, but as previously mentioned, the Browns-Deshaun Watson contract really changed the market value of the quarterbacks. Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles surprised a lot of people with their performances last season when they clinched the NFC Championship. Thanks to that remarkable season, Hurts became the highest-paid NFL player of all time, but only for a few days! And who could have guessed his top position as the highest earner would be toppled four times in a matter of few months!
In April 2023, the Eagles signed Jalen Hurts to a massive 5-year deal worth up to $255 million dollars with approximately $180 million in guarantees. He is now the 5th highest-paid NFL player ever, with an average salary of $51,000,000.
4. Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens)
The NFL is no stranger to eye-watering contracts, and the Top 10 highest-paid NFL players of the all-time list is a testament to that. But in recent times the league has witnessed an epic battle for the top spot on this illustrious list, with multiple quarterbacks going head to head in a jaw-dropping display of financial firepower.
First, it was Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts who signed a staggering $255 million extension in April 2023, securing his place among the all-time greats of the game. But just when fans thought they had seen it all, Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens came out swinging with a historic extension that shattered all previous records, and that too in the same month! All the trade drama that the league witnessed between the Ravens and their 2019 MVP-winning QB came to a fruitful end with this deal.
Jackson’s mind-blowing contract will earn him a mind-boggling $52 million per year, making him the fourth highest-paid NFL player of all-time and surpassing Hurts’ $51 million in the process. Alas, Jackson was not able to hold the number-one spot for long due to the QB market being at an all-time high.
3. Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)
The Los Angeles Chargers made history by signing their franchise quarterback, Justin Herbert, to an enormous 5-year contract worth up to $262 million on 25th June 2023. This deal made Herbert the highest-paid quarterback (and player) in the NFL (just for over two months), surpassing notable names like Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen. The deal will see Herbert earn $52.4 million annually. Herbert is now third on the list of highest-paid players in the NFL.
The signing came during the team’s training camp for the upcoming season, and it ensures Herbert’s presence with the Chargers through the 2029 season, complete with a no-trade clause and significant guarantees totaling $133.7 million in full guarantees and $193.7 million in injury guarantees. This blockbuster deal places Herbert in the company of other star quarterbacks who also secured 5-year contracts during the 2023 off-season, including Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles and Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens.
2. Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs)
Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs’ star quarterback, is set to become the second-highest-paid NFL player ever. His recent contract restructuring guarantees him $210.6 million between 2023 and 2026, averaging to approximately $52.65 million per year.
This unprecedented deal, negotiated by Equity Sports CEO Chris Cabott, solidifies Mahomes’ position at the pinnacle of NFL earnings and ensures his financial security for the next four seasons. Furthermore, the Chiefs and Mahomes have plans to revisit and potentially extend this historic agreement beyond 2026, underlining the quarterback’s enduring influence in the league.
1. Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)
In a historic moment for the NFL, Joe Burrow shattered records as the Cincinnati Bengals secured his position as the highest-paid player of all time. The quarterback has inked an astonishing $275,000,000 contract spanning five years, promising him an annual income of up to $55 million. The deal came to fruition in the first week of September 2023, just a day before the new season started.
The 2023 offseason witnessed a flurry of jaw-dropping quarterback contract extensions, starting with Jalen Hurts’ five-year, $255 million deal with the Eagles in April. Shortly after, Lamar Jackson signed a $260 million contract for five years, and the Chargers joined the fray with a $262 million deal for Justin Herbert. Now, Joe Burrow reigns supreme as the NFL’s highest-earning player in history.
Aravind is an aspiring writer who covers NFL for Firstsportz. He has previously worked as a video editor for more than two years and has now decided to focus on one of his passion points, i.e. NFL. The young gun has been following NFL for the last five years and proclaims to love every aspect of football.
Apart from football he also loves to follow Cricket, MLB, and NBA. When there are no live sports on TV to watch, he spends his time watching Sports movies.
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