Who the highest-paid kicker in the NFL is isn’t something you probably think about much. That’s because the kicker has to be the most maligned position in pro sports. You don’t usually care about them on your favorite team. You don’t want to draft them on your fantasy team. And you definitely don’t want them taking up a big chunk of your team’s salary cap.
However, when your offense mounts a miracle drive with time running out in an NFL playoff game, and the clock hits one second with the ball on the other team’s 30-yard-line, you will thank the football gods if you have one of the kickers making the most money in the NFL this season.
Justin Tucker is the highest-paid kicker in the NFL
Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is the highest-paid kicker in the NFL in 2021. His $3.5 million base salary ties as the highest in the NFL with Jacksonville’s Josh Lambo. Additionally, his $1.6 million signing bonus payout gives him a total cap hit of $5.1 million for the upcoming season.
Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell comes in second this year. He will earn a $3.0 million base salary, a 1.2 million signing bonus, and make an additional $488,333 from restructuring his contract before 2020. This gives him a total cap hit of $4.7 million.
Lambo is third, making $4.37 million. Behind him are Seattle’s Jason Meyers ($4.35M) and New York Giant kicker Graham Gano ($4.25M).
What kicker has made the most money in NFL history?
Tucker, a lifelong Texan prior to his Baltimore days, played four years of college football at the University of Texas. The Ravens signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
On his way to becoming the most accurate kicker in NFL history, the former Longhorn has made $33.5 million in his career. At 31, Tucker still has time to catch up, but he’s over $10 million behind the placekicker with the biggest career earnings.
That honor goes to the San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould. The 38-year-old Penn State product has drawn paychecks from the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, and the Niners in his 16-season career. This includes two deals with Chicago that guaranteed him a total of $12.8 million and his current deal, which give him $10.5 guaranteed. All told, Gould’s career earnings are $43.7 million.
Three other players have also made more money than Tucker in their careers. These kickers are Mason Crosby ($41.0M), Matt Prater ($33.8M), and Gano ($33.6). All these kickers are still active in the NFL.
Who is the lowest-paid kicker in the NFL?
On the complete other end of the spectrum from Tucker and his fellow highest-paid kickers in the NFL, there are the young players at the position making the NFL minimum salary this season of $660,000.
With NFL rosters still at 90 players in the preseason, 11 kickers are currently making this minimum salary. Teams will likely cut several of these players because they are behind veteran kickers, but some have a real shot at making the team and, therefore, grabbing the title of the lowest-paid placekicker in the NFL.
The New York Jets have already played kicker roulette in training camp, cutting Chris Naggar and Sam Ficken and signing Matt Ammendola. With no other kickers on the roster, Ammendola should be guaranteed to be at least tied for lowest-paid kicker in the NFL. Las Vegas Raiders league minimum kicker Dominik Eberle is also the sole kicker on his roster currently.
The other youngsters with a shot to make the final roster with their 660K salaries include New England’s Quinn Nordin and Tennessee’s Tucker McCann.
These players should have hope, though. They too could become the highest-paid kicker in the NFL at some point. Tucker, Gould, Prater, and Gano all made the NFL minimum at one point in their careers as well.
All contract figures courtesy of spotrac