Who’s the highest paid NFL player, you wonder?
In the National Football League (NFL), many players sign massive contracts. In this guide, you’ll find out who the highest paid professional NFL players are and the top facts about the wealthiest professionals in the field.
Facts on the highest paid NFL Player Per Year
When talking about NFL players’ contracts, 32 professionals earn at least $20 million per season in average yearly salary. So, who are these highest paid NFL players per year?
Read on to find out their names and some additional info about their earnings and careers.
1. Drew Brees is the highest paid NFL player of all time.
First, let’s mention the famous quarterback Drew Brees, a holder of multiple NFL records, such as the most passing yards.
During his impressive career, Drew Brees had career earnings totaling $269.7 million. His highest earnings came in 2012 when he received $40 million, including a massive $37 million signing bonus.
Overall, Drew Brees has the honor of being called the highest paid NFL player regarding salary — at the time of writing.
2. Patrick Mahomes II is the highest paid NFL player in 2021.
(Sportskeeda, Washington Post)
Mahomes, the highest paid quarterback, is expected to earn about $450 million after signing a record-breaking 10-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. With incentives, he could reach up to $503 million.
We should point out that this is the most significant contract in any of the major US sports.
On top of his new massive contract, Patrick Mahomes II earns about $7 million in endorsements, which is guaranteed to increase in the next few years.
3. Russel Wilson is the champ among the highest paid NFL players in 2019.
The famous quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson, earned the title of the highest paid player in 2019, with a whopping $79 million, including $9 million off the field.
Although he might not be the highest paid NFL player at the moment, Russell Wilson’s four-year contract extension worth $140 million, signed in April of 2019, set NFL records for signing bonuses ($65 million) and average salary ($35 million).
4. Aaron Rodgers was the highest paid player in the NFL in 2018.
Starting in 2013, Aaron Rodgers held the title of the highest paid professional in the NFL for three years. During that time, Rodgers earned an average annual salary of a colossal $22 million. But in 2018, as many new contracts were signed, the QB dropped down on the list.
In 2018, Aaron Rodgers had career earnings of $75.9 million, with $66.9 million in salary. His bonuses and endorsements totaled $9 million.
highest paid NFL Players by Position
In the following section, we featured statistics and essential facts on the highest paid professionals in the NFL world by position. These positions mainly focus on quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs.
5. The champion among the highest paid NFL quarterbacks in 2021 is Patrick Mahomes II.
With an expected average yearly salary of $45 million, it’s no surprise that Mahomes is the quarterback with the highest pay.
Here’s an interesting fact about this highest paid QB in the NFL — Mahomes is the youngest quarterback in the game’s history. Also, he is the third-youngest player to be named Super Bowl MVP.
6. DeAndre Hopkins ranks first among the highest paid wide receivers in the NFL.
With an average annual salary of over $27.2 million, this player for the Arizona Cardinals is the highest paid among wide receivers.
Hopkins’s two-year contract is worth $54.5 million, including over $27.5 million in signing bonus and a bit over $60 million in guaranteed money when including other bonuses.
7. Joey Bosa, the defensive end for the Los Angeles Chargers, is the highest paid NFL defensive player.
Joey Bosa’s $135 million 5-year contract signed in 2020 ranks him as the top paid defensive player. His contract includes $102 million guaranteed and $78 million as a sign-on bonus.
8. Deshaun Watson, the quarterback for the Houston Texans, has an average yearly salary of $39 million.
Deshaun Watson has a salary many would be jealous of — this quarterback is bound to the Houston Texans for four years based on the $156 million contract extension. In fact, this contract makes Watson the second-highest paid player in his position, after Mahomes.
9. Trent Williams from the San Francisco 49ers is the highest paid offensive lineman.
(Pro Football Network)
Trent Williams signed a six-year $138.06 million contract, averaging $23.01 million per year. Of that money, $55.1 million is guaranteed, and there is a $30.1 million signing bonus. Interestingly, the second OT on the list, David Bakhtiari, earns only $0.01 million less.
10. The second-highest paid WR in the NFL is Julio Jones, with an average yearly salary of $22 million.
Julio Jones is the second-highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. Jones signed a three-year $66 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons, including $64 million in guaranteed and $25 million in signing bonus. Jones’s base salary in 2021 is expected to be $15.3 million.
11. Looking at stats on NFL running backs and their salaries, Christian McCaffrey tops the list with an average yearly salary of $16 million.
Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers is currently the NFL running back with the highest salary. Namely, McCaffrey earns about $16 million per season. In 2021, this player is expected to make a $990,000 base salary.
12. George Kittle is the highest paid NFL player in the tight-end position, with an average yearly salary of $15 million.
Kittle signed a five-year, $75 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers, including $40 million guaranteed and an $18 million signing bonus. Not only that, but he will make over $1.2 million in base salary with a $47,059 in roster bonus.
Fun Facts on the highest paid NFL Players
In this section, you’ll learn some facts that might be new for you. Hopefully, you will find them interesting.
13. Trevor Daniel from the Tennessee Titans is the lowest-paid player.
Trevor Daniel is definitely not one of the top–paid NFL players. The Tennessee Titans’ punter signed a 1-year, $50,400 contract in 2020. Over his short career, he’s earned a little over $700 thousand.
14. One of the top–paid quarterbacks to make 297 consecutive starts is Brett Favre.
Football players come and go, but quarterback Brett Favre seemed like he would stick around forever.
Namely, this former NFL player who made an average salary of $16 million started 297 consecutive regular-season games more than 16 years with the Packers, 2 with the Vikings, and 1 with the Jets.
15. One of the highest paid players in the NFL, Dak Prescott, famously turned down a $30 million offer with the Dallas Cowboys.
(CBSSports, Star Telegram)
The Cowboys, known as the most valuable team in the world, offered quarterback Dak Prescott a $30 million yearly contract in 2019, which he declined. He was coming off his rookie contract and earning a bargain of $2.7 million per year.
Prescott felt that the $30 million, which would put him at No.5, was not enough.
Eventually, both sides agreed on a four-year, $160 million contract with a massive $66 million signing bonus. This made him the highest paid NFL player in 2020, if we count salary and bonuses.
16. Historians believe that John Brallier was the first professional football player.
(Pro Football Hall of Fame)
We can all agree that quarterbacks are one of the highest paid positions in the NFL. But in the case of this young quarterback, this wasn’t the case.
When the 16-year-old quarterback John Brallier from Indiana College in Pennsylvania accepted $10 to play for Latrobe against the neighboring Jeanette in 1895, he became the first pro football player in the sport’s history.
17. The No.1 2021 draft pick, Trevor Lawrence, is set to make almost $37 million in his rookie contract.
NFL rookies famously are not some of the NFL top paid players. That is not the case for Trevor Lawrence, as the No.1 pick in this year’s draft is set to earn $36.8 million over four years.
He is guaranteed the whole sum and will get a $24.1 million sign-on bonus.
When you think that he didn’t earn anything as an NCAA player, it’s not a bad bump in pay.
18. Some NFL highest paid players also used to play soccer.
Although these NFL players do not compare to the $95 million worth FC Barcelona player, Lionel Messi, it is important to note that many multi-sport athletes are out there.
For instance, former NFL player Pat McAfee also played soccer at the University of West Virginia. During his years in the NFL, McAfee earned an average salary of $2.9 million.
Who is the highest paid NFL player in 2020?
Russel Wilson was the highest paid player for 2020. His $35 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks earned him a top spot on the list for that year.
Let’s face it, with all these exciting twists and turns in the world of football. It’s not a surprise that 30% of the population in the United States watches this sport passionately.
Who is the highest paid NFL player in 2021?
This year, Patrick Mahomes II takes the title of the best paid NFL player. This famous quarterback has an estimated annual salary of $39.8 million.
Who is the highest paid defensive player in the NFL?
Julius Peppers holds the title of the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. The retired LB, a nine-time Pro Bowler, earned $165 million over his 17-year career.
From the active players, Ndamukong Suh leads the way with $156 million. He might become the highest paid defensive player by the end of 2021 or in 2022.
Who is the highest paid quarterback in NFL history?
The highest paid player in the history of the NFL is quarterback Drew Brees. During his impressive career, Brees earned almost $269.7 million in earnings.
Tom Brady is not too far behind, with $263 and, by the end of 2021, will become the highest paid NFL player, as Brees retired. Other notable names are Ben Roethlisberger and brothers Eli and Payton Manning.
Who is the highest paid NFL receiver?
Larry Fitzgerald takes the crown among receivers. The Arizona Cardinal WR has earned $180.7 million throughout his career. He is currently No.2 in the all-time list of receiving yards, and he is only 117 catches behind Jerry Rice for the all-time record.
Overall, we can see that the NFL world is competitive — each year, new players take the spotlight for the highest paid NFL player. However, superstars such as Patrick Mahomes and Russel Wilson will be challenging to beat.
With so much thrill, it’s no wonder that American football is one of the most beloved sports of all time.
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