Arguably more so than in any other sport, NFL contracts can get tricky. Sure, it’s easy enough to calculate an average annual value (AAV) of $30 million when someone signs a four-year/$120 million deal. But far more often than not, it’s just not that simple.
How much of that contract is guaranteed? How much is the signing bonus, and how will that be spread out? Is there an annual roster bonus or workout bonus? Contracts are restructured for salary cap purposes.
Take Aaron Rodgers, for instance. As the two-time reigning MVP recently signed a three-year restructured extension with the Packers worth $150.815 million, it’s easy to say that his AAV makes him the highest-paid player in football.
But that doesn’t automatically mean Rodgers is making $50,271,666.67 this season, which he isn’t. He’s actually pocketing $42 million in 2022 — $1.15 million in base salary, a $50,000 workout bonus, and a $40.8 million roster bonus, which is being treated as a signing bonus.
But due to how Rodgers’ contract is structured, only $28,533,569 counts against the cap. Now, going solely on cap numbers, the 10-time Pro Bowler would be viewed as the fifth-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, not the first.
But I wanted to take the typical metrics out of the equation and see which NFL quarterback is pocketing the most cash in 2022. I didn’t want the cap number — Ryan Tannehill takes the top spot there. And I didn’t want AAV — as mentioned, Rodgers is No. 1 on that list.
We’re talking straight cash earnings. And to add another wrinkle, I wanted to divide that cash figure by 17 to see exactly how much each starting NFL quarterback earns per game. Sure, those who signed new contracts this past offseason might rank a little higher due to signing and/or roster bonuses for the 2022 campaign. But those same QBs would rank lower next year — and we’ll do this all over again then.
How much will every NFL starting quarterback make per game in 2022?
From bottom to top, here’s how much every starting NFL quarterback will earn per game in 2022.
32. Davis Mills, Houston Texans — $897,160 — $52,774.12 per game
Davis Mills obviously wasn’t the highest-paid quarterback on the Houston Texans’ payroll last year, not with Deshaun Watson collecting millions just to sit there.
But while Watson is gone, Mills, who’s in the second year of his rookie deal, still isn’t the highest-paid signal-caller in Houston. That honor belongs to backup Kyle Allen, who signed a one-year/$2.5 million contract with the team back in March.
31. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles — $1,157,744 — $68,102.59 per game
Jalen Hurts is in the third year of his rookie deal and will pocket just north of $1.157 million with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022. As with Davis Mills, Hurts is the second-highest-paid QB on his team behind Gardner Minshew, who’ll earn $2.54 million this season.
This could be a make-or-break season for Hurts in Philly. As a second-round pick, his contract doesn’t include a fifth-year option, so extension talks will be on the table at year’s end.
30. Mac Jones, New England Patriots — $1,368,471 — $80,498.29 per game
Coming off a solid rookie campaign with the New England Patriots, Mac Jones will earn just over $1.368 million in 2022. The Alabama product was the surprise breakout star of the 2021 rookie class, going 10-7 in leading the Pats back to the postseason after a one-year hiatus.
As with the first two entries on the list, Jones will still make less than his backup, Brian Hoyer, who pockets $2 million in 2022.
29. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears — $1,517,816 — $89,283.29 per game
While Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields carries an AAV north of $4.7 million, the second-year star will pocket just over $1.5 million in 2022. And it will likely be a rough 2022 as the Bears are in rebuilding mode as they prepare for a big 2023 offseason when they’ll have a ton of cap space.
The theme continues with Fields as he’s the second-highest-paid QB on the roster behind Trevor Siemian, who’ll earn $2.135 million in 2022.
28. Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers — $2,210,240 — $130,014.12 per game
After spending his rookie season with the San Francisco 49ers sitting behind Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance gets his shot as the starter to begin the 2022 campaign.
As the Niners couldn’t find a trade partner for Jimmy G during the offseason, the ninth-year vet agreed to a restructured contract that will guarantee him $6.5 million in base salary, another $500,000 in roster bonuses, and playing time bonuses that could add another several million.
27. Zach Wilson, New York Jets — $2,257,758 — $132,809.29 per game
Zach Wilson might be QB1 with the New York Jets, but he’s not the premier moneymaker for Gang Green. In fact, Wilson, who’ll earn just over $2.25 million in 2022, actually ranks third among signal-callers for the upcoming campaign.
Veteran Joe Flacco leads the way at $3.5 million, and Mike White is back on a one-year/$2.54 million deal.
26. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars — $2,332,431 — $137,201.82 per game
At long last, Trevor Lawrence is the first starting quarterback on this list who’ll make more money in 2022 than his backup. But it’s not by much as C.J. Beathard will earn $1,976,464.
Coming off a rocky rookie season in which he went 3-14 and threw more interceptions (17) than touchdowns (12), Lawrence, who’ll pocket just over $2.33 million this year, has more weapons with the Jaguars and seems poised for a much better sophomore season in Jacksonville.
25. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers — $3,026,250 — $178,014.71 per game
Outside of maybe Joe Burrow, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert may be the best player at the lowest price in the NFL in 2022.
Herbert, the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year, is in the third year of his rookie deal and is coming off a 2021 campaign in which he threw for 5,014 yards and 38 touchdowns against just 15 interceptions. He’ll pocket just over $3 million in 2022 and will be looking for the Chargers to at least pick up his fifth-year option at season’s end.
Herbert could also be looking for a monster extension that will make him one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. But that likely comes following the 2023 season.
24. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins — $3,362,313 — $197,783.12 per game
After a short break, we’re back into yet another scenario in which a starting quarterback makes less than his backup.
Tua Tagovailoa, in a true make-or-break season with the Dolphins, will pocket more than $3.3 million in 2022. But that’s nowhere near what Miami’s QB2 is earning as Teddy Bridgewater signed a one-year/$6.5 million guaranteed contract to bring his talents to South Beach in the offseason.
23. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks — $3,500,000 — $205,882.35 per game
While Geno Smith may not be the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback for the entire 2022 season, the 2013 No. 2 overall pick got the nod from Pete Carroll for Week 1.
Smith will earn $3.5 million this season, while soon-to-be free agent Drew Lock will earn $1,451,021.
22. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals — $3,900,012 — $229,412.47 per game
And here’s Joe Burrow, who’s coming off a sensational sophomore season in which he completed a league-best 70.4% of his passes for 4,611 yards and 34 touchdowns while leading the Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance in more than three decades.
Burrow is in the third year of his rookie deal, and the 2020 No. 1 overall pick will collect just under $4 million in 2022.
21. Daniel Jones, New York Giants — $4,194,644 — $246,743.76 per game
The New York Giants aren’t putting a lot of faith in Daniel Jones beyond this season as his fifth-year option, which would have been worth over $22 million, wasn’t picked up.
Jones certainly hasn’t been what the Giants envisioned when they selected him with the sixth overall pick in 2019, as the Duke product has posted a 12-25 record in 37 starts over three years with 45 touchdowns and 29 interceptions.
Unless he has a drastic turnaround in 2022, the two sides likely part ways next offseason.
20. Jacoby Brissett, Cleveland Browns — $4,650,000 — $273,529.41 per game
As Deshaun Watson won’t be the Browns’ starting quarterback until Week 13 due to his suspension, Jacoby Brissett will take the snaps in Cleveland.
While Watson would be much higher on this list as the former Texans QB would earn $2,668,676.47 per game, Brissett still cracks the top 20 as the seventh-year journeyman will make $4.65 million in his one-year deal with the Browns.
19. Baker Mayfield, Carolina Panthers — $4,858,000 — $285,764.71 per game
lt’s wild to think two of the top three picks of the 2018 NFL Draft are now in the same quarterback room, but that’s where we’re at with Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold with the Panthers.
But while Mayfield earned the starting job in Carolina, he won’t make nearly as much money as Darnold. Baker will collect $4.858 million in 2022, while Darnold will pocket a whopping $18.858 million. Both are unrestricted free agents in 2023.
18. Mitchell Trubisky, Pittsburgh Steelers — $6,285,000 — $369,705.88 per game
While Mitchell Trubisky likely doesn’t end the 2022 season as the Steelers starting quarterback, the 2017 No. 2 overall pick at least starts it that way.
Trubisky will collect $6.285 million this season, while highly-touted rookie Kenny Pickett will pocket more than $8 million due to his big signing bonus. Somewhat lost in the shuffle is Mason Rudolph, who will earn $3 million before becoming an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
17. Marcus Mariota, Atlanta Falcons — $6,750,000 — $397,058.82 per game
lt’s been four years since Marcus Mariota has been a full-time starter in the NFL, but the 2015 No. 2 overall pick finally gets another shot in Atlanta in 2022.
With Matt Ryan now a member of the Colts, Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner, will collect $6.75 million this season as he attempts to lead the Falcons to the postseason for the first time since 2017. Rookie backup Desmond Ridder will earn $1,785,336.
16. Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints — $15,200,000 — $894,117.65 per game
lt’s wild how the salaries jump right at the halfway point, isn’t it?
With a base salary of just $1.2 million combined with a $14 million signing bonus, 2015 No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston will collect $15.2 million in his third year with the New Orleans Saints.
The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner’s 2021 campaign was cut short by ACL and MCL injuries, but the Saints showed faith in Winston by signing him to a two-year deal this offseason. But New Orleans also got a little insurance in veteran Andy Dalton, who’ll earn $3 million on a one-year deal.
15. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys — $20,000,000 — $1,176,470.59 per game
ln terms of AAV, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is a top-10 guy as he signed a four-year/$160 million contract in 2021. But he pocketed $75 million of that a year ago.
In 2022, Prescott will collect $20 million as he attempts to lead America’s Team to a second consecutive postseason for the first time since 2006-2007. Dak is coming off a solid season in which he completed a career-high 68.8% of his passes for 4,449 yards with 37 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions.
14. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens — $23,016,000 — $1,353,882.35 per game
With his future beyond the 2022 season still uncertain, Lamar Jackson will collect just over $23 million from the Baltimore Ravens on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal.
Jackson, who famously doesn’t employ an agent, was hoping to get a long-term extension done before the ’22 campaign began, but that didn’t happen. So, again, his future remains up in the air as the Ravens will either have to sign the 2019 NFL MVP or use the franchise tag if they plan to have him under center in 2023.
13. Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts — $24,705,882 — $1,453,287.18 per game
After spending the first 14 years of his NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan will collect just over $24.7 million in his first year with the Indianapolis Colts.
The 2016 NFL MVP is the Colts’ fourth different starting quarterback in four years following the abrupt retirement of Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett started 15 games in 2019. Philip Rivers started all 16 games during the 2020 campaign, and Carson Wentz helmed all 17 games a season ago.
Backup Nick Foles will pocket $2.6 million in the first season of a two-year deal in Indy.
12. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders — $24,977,519 — $1,469,265.82 per game
Derek Carr signed a three-year extension with the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason that will pay him an average of $40.5 million.
For the 2022 season, however, the three-time Pro Bowler will pocket just shy of $25 million. Carr will collect a base salary of $17,377,519, a $7.5 million signing bonus, and a $100,000 workout bonus.
Expectations are high in Vegas as the Raiders, who went 10-7 and made the playoffs for the first time in five years, added Carr’s college teammate, Davante Adams, to their offensive attack.
11. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions — $26,150,000 — $1,538,235.29 per game
It might be easy to want to feel sorry for Jared Goff, whom the Los Angeles Rams traded away to get Matthew Stafford, who immediately led them to a Super Bowl.
But let’s not forget Goff is still making loads and loads of money with the Detroit Lions. The 2016 No. 1 overall pick collects $10.65 million in base salary in 2022 and a $15.5 million roster bonus.
10. Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders — $28,294,119 — $1,664,359.94 per game
After spending the 2021 season with the Indianapolis Colts, Carson Wentz returns to the NFC East in 2022 as the starting quarterback of the newly-renamed Washington Commanders.
Still playing under the extension he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019, Wentz will pocket $22,000,001 in base salary and a $6,294,119 roster bonus in his first season in the nation’s capital.
The 2016 No. 2 overall pick is coming off a season in which he completed 62.4% of his passes for 3,563 yards with 27 touchdowns against seven interceptions.
9. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans — $29,000,000 — $1,705,882.35 per game
At $38.6 million, Ryan Tannehill owns the highest cap figure of any NFL quarterback in 2022.
But in terms of cash earnings, the Tennessee Titans’ signal-caller will collect $29 million, just $500,000 less than the AAV that came with the four-year/$118 million extension he signed in 2020. Tannehill’s potential successor, 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis, pockets $1,637,800.
8. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs — $29,450,000 — $1,732,352.94 per game
Regarding AAV, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a top-five guy at $45 million per year from the 10-year/$450 million extension he signed in July 2020.
But for 2022, the 2018 NFL MVP — yes, that was already that long ago — ranks eighth as he’ll collect $29.45 million. Mahomes will receive a $1.5 million base salary, a $27.4 million roster bonus, and a $550,000 workout bonus.
The Chiefs missed out on a third consecutive Super Bowl, losing to Joe Burrow and the Bengals in the AFC Championship Game. Still, Mahomes earned a fourth straight Pro Bowl bid last season, tying a career-high in completing 66.3% of his passes for 4,839 yards with 37 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.
T6. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers — $30,000,000 — $1,764,705.88 per game
Following his 40-day retirement from the NFL — a retirement nobody really thought would last anyway — Tom Brady signed a one-year restructured extension to come back for a third season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The seven-time Super Bowl champ, who threw for a career-high 5,316 yards in 2021, will collect $30 million in 2022, $1.12 million in base salary, and a $28.88 million roster bonus.
T6. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals — $30,000,000 — $1,764,705.88 per game
Following a bit of turmoil between the two sides, Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals agreed on a five-year/$230.5 million extension in July, giving the 2019 No. 1 overall pick the third-highest AAV among NFL quarterbacks at $46.5 million.
In 2022, however, Murray will collect $30 million. Coming off his third season, during which he completed 69.2% of his passes for 3,787 yards and 24 touchdowns against only five picks, the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner has a base salary of less than a million bucks at $965,000. But tack on the $29.035 million signing bonus, and you’ve got your $30 million.
5. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings — $40,000,000 — $2,352,941.18 per game
Despite his 59-59-2 career record as an NFL starter, Kirk Cousins remains one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in football.
Entering his fifth season with the Minnesota Vikings, the 2012 fourth-round pick will collect $40 million. Cousins, who made his third Pro Bowl in 2021 with 4,221 passing yards with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, will make $5 million in base salary, a $25 million signing bonus after signing a one-year extension in March, and a $10 million roster bonus.
4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers — $42,000,000 — $2,470,588.24 per game
We covered Aaron Rodgers in the intro, but in case you skimmed past it, the two-time reigning NFL MVP will collect $1.15 million in base salary, a $50,000 workout bonus, and $40.8 million in signing bonuses.
The 10-time Pro Bowler completed 68.9% of his passes for the Packers in 2021 for 4,115 yards with 37 touchdowns against a ridiculous four interceptions.
3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills — $46,961,405 — $2,762,435.59 per game
Seen by many as the man who will end Aaron Rodgers’ stranglehold on the MVP trophy, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen will pocket more cash in 2022 than in any season of the six-year/$258 million contract he signed last August.
Allen, whose numbers actually dipped across the board in 2021 from his MVP runner-up 2020 campaign, will collect $4.1 million in base salary, a $500,000 workout bonus, and a $42,361,405 signing bonus in 2022.
2. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos — $57,000,000 — $3,352,941.18 per game
Just ahead of the 2022 season, Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos agreed to a five-year deal worth more than $242 million, putting his AAV second to only Aaron Rodgers at $48,517,647.
The nine-time Pro Bowler also comes in second on our list as he’ll make just north of $3.35 million per game in 2022. Wilson will collect $2 million in base salary, a $5 million roster bonus, and a whopping $50 million signing bonus.
Expectations are high for Russ and the Broncos, who haven’t made the postseason since winning Super Bowl 50.
1. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams — $61,500,000 — $3,617,647.06 per game
At long last, we arrive at the No. 1 spot, which belongs to Los Angeles Rams quarterback and newly-crowned Super Bowl champion Matthew Stafford.
After spending the first dozen years of his NFL career in Detroit, the 2009 No. 1 overall pick came to Hollywood last year and made an immediate impact, helping the Rams to their first title in over two decades.
And his reward was a four-year/$160 million extension. While Stafford is tied for eighth in AAV at $40 million, he tops the 2022 earnings list as he’ll collect $61.5 million. He’ll pocket $1.5 million in base salary and a $60 million signing bonus.