Who Are The Top 7 Richest NFL Players?

Posted on September 9, 2020

There is no better representation of American greed than US sports. Especially for athletes who participate for “the love of the game” but request lucrative six-figure deals before stepping on the field.

But I get it – professional football, like all other sports, is a business. It’s entertainment. Football is television deals, sneakers sales, SUV promotions, and much, much more. These players get paid to entertain. Some are once-in-a-generation caliber athletes. They are actors, gladiators, showmen writing scripts with every snap – things that us common folk can only dream of doing.

A writer once described feeling sympathy for Richard Nixon during his presidency. I too, at times, have a similar feeling about million-dollar athletes.

“Every once in a while, caving into a weakness that blooms in the cool, thinking hours around dawn, I have to admit that I feel a touch of irrational sympathy for the bastard – the same kind of sympathy I might feel, momentarily, for a vicious cheap-shot linebacker whose long career comes to a sudden end one Sunday afternoon when some rookie flanker shatters both his knees with a savage crack-back block.”

Hunter Thompson was referring to Nixon, and not Greg Hardy, former 6th round pick of the Carolina Panthers. But the shoe still fits.

So since the 2020 NFL season is right around the corner, let us take a look at the top-seven richest football players actively playing right now. (Hint: every one of them is a quarterback.) And while we are at it, let’s look at a few notable NFL betting lines.

Odds come courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.

#7 Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Signed through 2024, Wentz secured a four-year, $128 million deal in 2019. His best year came in 2017 when in 13 games he passed for 3,296 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. But after damage to his ACL which kept him out the remainder of the season, it was back-up QB, Nick Foles who would lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl in franchise history.

  • Avg. annual salary: $32 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $66.471 million

Notable NFL bets:

  • Super Bowl Champs +2000 (DraftKings) / +2000 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing yards +2500 (DraftKings) / +1900 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing TDs +1400 (DraftKings) / +2000 (FanDuel)

#6 Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings

At one point, Cousins set the bar for the highest-paid player following his move from Washington over to Minnesota. Signed through 2022, he is currently in his first season of his extended two-year contract worth $66 million.

  • Avg. annual salary: $33 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $61 million

Notable NFL bets:

  • Super Bowl Champs +2500 (DraftKings) / +2500 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing yards +3300 (DraftKings) / +3300 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing TDs +3300 (DraftKings) / +4400 (FanDuel)

#5 Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams

Goff is an enigma at quarterback. He led the Rams to the Super Bowl in 2018 with a high powered offense but in the following years, has been mediocre at best. However, he did manage to secure a four-year, $134 million deal in 2019 tieing him to the Rams till 2024.

  • Avg. annual salary: $33.5 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $57.043 million

Notable NFL bets:

  • Super Bowl Champs +4000 (DraftKings) / +4000 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing yards +700 (DraftKings) / +1100 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing TDs +3300 (DraftKings) / +4400 (FanDuel)

#4 Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Some might say Rodgers isn’t the caliber player he once was. Regardless, that didn’t stop the Packers from giving him an extended four-year, $134 million deal in 2018. He is signed through 2023.

  • Avg. annual salary: $33.5 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $78.7 million

Notable NFL bets:

  • Super Bowl Champs +2800 (DraftKings) / +3100 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing yards +2800 (DraftKings) / +1900 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing TDs +2000 (DraftKings) / +2600 (FanDuel)

#3 Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburg Steelers

Signed through 2021, Roethlisberger is in the second year of his two-year extension worth $68 million. We don’t know how much longer “Big Ben” will be in the yellow in black but his journey has been impressive from the start.

  • Avg. annual salary: $34 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $37.5 million

Notable NFL bets:

  • Super Bowl Champs +2500 (DraftKings) / +2500 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing yards +2000 (DraftKings) / +1300 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing TDs +2000 (DraftKings) / +2300 (FanDuel)

#2 Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

Wilson was selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft and wasn’t even in consideration for the starting job. The Seahawks had just landed Matt Flynn from Green Bay and named him the starter going into training camp. But once Wilson stepped on the field, the rest was history. Signed through 2023, Wilson’s contract was extended with a four-year $140 million deal in 2019. The deal made him the highest-paid QB in history, until…

  • Avg. annual salary: $35 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $70 million

Notable NFL bets:

  • Super Bowl Champs +2000 (DraftKings) / +2000 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing yards +2500 (DraftKings) / +1900 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing TDs +800 (DraftKings) / +750 (FanDuel)

#1 Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

The Texas Tech product with a cannon for an arm managed to win a Super Bowl in his second year as a starter. Mahomes, viewed by many as the future of the NFL, will be a force to reckon with for the foreseeable future. This is why the Chiefs locked him down with a massive 10-year contract paying him $450 million — an NFL record in itself.

  • Avg. annual salary: $45 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $63.082 million

Notable NFL bets:

  • Super Bowl Champs +600 (DraftKings) / +600 (FanDuel)
  • Most passing yard +400 (DraftKings) / +450 (FanDuel)
  • Most Passing TDs +400 (DraftKings / +195 (FanDuel)
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Let’s not forget — non-skilled position players

The trend here is that most of the highest-paid NFL players are at the skilled positions: QB, RB, WR, TE. There is simply not enough love for a good edge rusher, lock-down cornerback or old school, hit’em in the mouth middle linebacker.

Let’s give an honorable mention to the highest-paid non-skilled position athletes.

Joey Bosa, DE, Los Angeles Chargers

The Ohio State product is arguably one of the best defensive players in the NFL. His five-year deal is the highest in the league for a defender and no defensive player in history, has ever been guaranteed more money at signing.

  • Avg. annual salary: $27 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $78 million

Notable NFL bets:

  • Super Bowl Champs +4500 (DraftKings) / +4000 (FanDuel)
  • Sack leader +1400 (DraftKings) /
  • Defensive POY +2000 (DraftKings) / +2500 (FanDuel)

Myles Garrett, DE, Cleveland Browns

Garrett has been nothing but consistent since being drafted by the Browns out of Texas A&M. He’s the anchor of a defensive unit picked to do great things in Cleveland. He is currently in the first year of his five-year deal worth $125 million.

  • Avg. annual salary: $25 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $50 million

Notable NFL bets:

  • Super Bowl Champs +4000 (DraftKings) / +3400 (FanDuel)
  • Sack leader +1300 (DraftKings)
  • Defensive POY +2000 (DraftKings) / +1800 (FanDuel)

Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Chicago Bears

Drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2018, Mack was traded to Chicago for two first-round picks in a blockbuster deal that had many scratching their heads. Bias aside, Mack truly is one of those “once in a generation” type athletes. Barring some unforeseen circumstances, it’s safe to say, Mack will be in a Bears uniform for a very long time. He is in the third year of his current contract which was extended with a six-year, $141 million deal — locking him up till 2024.

  • Avg. annual salary: $23.5 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $60 million

Notable NFL bets:

  • Super Bowl Champs +4000 (DraftKings) / +4400 (FanDuel)
  • Sack leader +1400 (DraftKings)
  • Defensive POY +1400 (DraftKings) / +1100 (FanDuel)

 

Since publication, both Deshaun Watson (QB HOU) and DeAndre Hopkins (WR, AZ) have received lucrative contract extensions.

Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago, writing about local politics, and in Washington, D.C., covering the expanding gambling industry. Now back in Chicago, he continues to write about the emerging sports betting market with a focus on the Midwest. Originally from West Texas, he graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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