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The NFL salary cap is among the highest in the sports industry. As of 2018, the least paid NFL players earned an annual salary of $616,000. This isn’t a bad package, considering most players in this bracket are usually new to their teams. On average, NFL players pocket $2.7 million, payoffs included. Although this may sound like a fortune, it is far less than what NBA players take home, which amounts to an average of $7.7 million.

However, the range is subject to review based on the revenue collected, and is thus determined annually. For players to attract the huge salaries often reported in the media, they must exhibit unmatched talent and strength. This makes the left tackle the highest paid position, as the position determines the QB’s safety. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at who the highest paid NFL player of all time is.

Who is the highest paid NFL player of all time?

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the highest paid NFL player, #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts before the start of the NFL preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Attracting an immeasurable pay with the NFL isn’t a walk in the park. Players have to prove their worth in ranking their teams at the top of the league. Often, there are huge investments made by the teams to buy the wins. Quarterbacks sit at the top of the list of the highest paid NFL players, with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning hitting the headlines as being among the top five highest paid NFL players.

Surprisingly, Patrick Mahomes is the highest paid NFL player as of 2021, according to the NFL, with an annual salary of $45 million. This surpasses the record set by Eli Manning before the former New York Giants announced his retirement plans. Manning garnered a whopping $252.3 million during his time. According to Spotrac, Tom Brady’s total earnings amount to approximately $291 million, making him the highest paid NFL player of all time.

Who is the highest-paid NFL quarterback?

The highest paid quarterbacks may not be who you think, as the list keeps on changing. With new contracts being signed and new NFL salary scales being drafted every year, it becomes hard to predict. Recently, Patrick Mahomes signed a lucrative deal worth $450 million, for a period of 10 years. Mahomes tops the list of the highest-paid NFL quarterbacks in 2021, with an annual salary of $45 million, making him the highest paid quarterback of all time. It’s rather sad for Lamar Jackson, as he is the lowest paid NFL player in 2021, regardless of his success in the recent past.

Who are the top 10 richest NFL players?

Getting at the top of the NFL’s highest earners requires determination and hard work. Players do sign lucrative deals with various teams, and also get endorsements from various companies. Below is a list of the top 10 richest NFL players based on their net worth.

#10: Russell Wilson

Wilson currently plays for the Seattle Seahawks, and his net worth is $135 million. The NFL icon received the highest pay per season, with a base salary of $35 million. Wilson has won one Super Bowl. He has also ventured into the real estate business, alongside being a philanthropist in his community.

#9: John Elway

The former NFL player is currently the acting manager and also heads football operations for the Denver Broncos. His net worth stands at $145 million.

#8: Eli Manning

The retired quarterback has a net worth of $150 million. His greatest achievements include multiple Super Bowl MVP awards. Besides being a successful NFL player, Manning has other sources of income, including promoting brands such as Toyota and Reebok.

#7: Drew Brees

The former New Orleans player retired in March, 2021. His net worth is estimated to be $160 million. He performed his best during the 2004 season, with a 65.5% completion rate. He also won the Triple Crown in 2011. Brees also invests in real estate, which has contributed to his net worth.

#6: Steve Young

Steve Young’s net worth is $200 million. The retired football quarterback is also a successful businessman, and currently serves as the managing director for the Huntsman Gay Global Capital equity firm.

#5: Joe Madden

The legendary NFL player is now a successful businessman and sportscaster. Over the years, Madden has had a successful career as a commentator and analyst on four major sports channels, including CBC and CBS. His net worth stands at $200 million.

#4: Tom Brady

Brady is an active NFL player who is also a successful entrepreneur. His greatest achievements include four Super Bowl MVP awards and three NFL MVP awards, along with seven Super Bowl wins. His net worth is $250 million.

#3: Peyton Manning

Manning has a net worth of $250 million. Besides football, Manning enjoys lucrative endorsement deals with Reebok, among other companies. He also owns Papa John’s Pizza in Colorado. Peyton holds the NFL record, with more than 4,000 yards passing. He’s also won two Super Bowls.

#2: Fran Tarkenton

Tarkenton holds major NFL records, including 342 career passing touchdowns, which ranks fourth in NFL history. His earnings also included endorsements from Johnson & Johnson. He is the founder of Tarkenton software, and currently owns Tarkenton Financial, GoSmallBiz, and Tarkenton Teleconferencing. The legendary footballer has a net worth of $300 million.

#1: Roger Staubach

Staubach’s net worth is $600 million, making him the richest NFL player of all time. The former NFL quarterback played for the Dallas Cowboys, and helped his team achieve ten consecutive wins. It was during his tenure that the Dallas Cowboys won the first Super Bowl award in 1972, according to Celebrity Net Worth.


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