The 25 Highest Earning NFL Players Of All Time

By on October 15, 2017 in ArticlesEntertainment

NFL players sign some enormous contracts. However, unlike in other professional sports, those deals are hardly ever guaranteed, and few players go on to actually make all the money in their deal. Part of that is because the average career of an NFL player is less than four years. However, there are a handful of truly stand out football players that return to the gridiron season after season and do go on to collect all the many millions in their contracts as well as sign new contracts. Those players go on to earn $100 million or more over their span of their careers in the NFL.

The following 25 players have all made more than $100 million in their NFL careers. The list includes 17 current players, eight retired players, 17 quarterbacks, a pair of brothers, and nine Super Bowl winners. The top eight highest paid players are all quarterbacks.

These are the 25 highest earning NFL players of all time:

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

#25. Champ Bailey – $102.8 million

Position: Cornerback

Team: Retired, formerly Washington Redskins (1999-20o3), Denver Broncos (2004-2013)

Seasons: 15

Highest Earning Season: $16.5 million in 2010

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 12

#24. Alex Smith – $106.5 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Seasons: 12

Highest Earning Season: $19 million in 2014, which included an $18 million signing bonus

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 2

#23. Calvin Johnson – $113.8 million

Position: Wide Receiver

Team: Retired, Detroit Lions (2007-2015)

Seasons: 9

Highest Earning Season: $25 million in 2013

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 6

#22.  Sam Bradford – $114.1 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Minnesota Vikings

Seasons: 7

Highest Earning Season: $26.8 million in 2011, which included an $18 million signing bonus

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls:0

#21. Joe Thomas – $119.9 million

Position: Left Tackle

Team: Cleveland Browns

Seasons: 11

Highest Earning Season: $19.1 million in 2011, which includes a $6 million signing bonus

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 10

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

#20. Mario Williams – $120.4 million

Position: Defensive End

Team: Miami Dolphins

Seasons: 11

Highest Earning Season: $25 million in 2012, which includes a $19 million signing bonus

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 4

#19. Jay Cutler – $122.2 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Miami Dolphins

Seasons: 11

Highest Earning Season: $20.5 million in 2015

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 1

#18. Darrelle Revis – $124.2 million

Position: Cornerback

Team: New York Jets

Seasons: 10

Highest Earning Season: $25 million in 2011

Super Bowl Wins: 1 (with the New England Patriots)

Pro Bowls: 7

#17. Ndamukong Suh – $124.2 million

Position: Defensive Tackle

Team: Miami Dolphins

Seasons: 8

Highest Earning Season: $26.5 million in 2015, $25.5 of that was his signing bonus.

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 4

#16.  Michael Vick – $124.8 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Retired, formerly Atlanta Falcons (2001-2008), Philadelphia Eagles (2009-2013), New York Jets (2014), Pittsburgh Steelers (2015)

Seasons: 13

Highest Earning Season: $27.5 million in 2005

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 4

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

#15. Tony Romo – $127.4 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Retired, formerly Dallas Cowboys

Seasons: 13

Highest Earning Season: $26.5 million in 2013, $25 million of which was a signing bonus

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 4

#14.  Joe Flacco – $135.8 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Baltimore Ravens

Seasons: 10

Highest Earning Season: $30 million in 2013, $20 million of that was a signing bonus

Super Bowl Wins: 1

Pro Bowls: 0

#13. Aaron Rodgers – $137.5 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Green Bay Packers

Seasons: 13

Highest Earning Season: $38.3 million in 2013. $33 million was a signing bonus.

Super Bowl Wins: 1

Pro Bowls: 6

#12. Brett Favre – $137.8 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Retired, formerly Atlanta Falcons (1991), Green Bay Packers (1992-2007), New York Jets (2008), Minnesota Vikings (2009-2010)

Seasons: 20

Highest Earning Season: $16 million in 2010, $4.4 million was signing bonus.

Super Bowl Wins: 1 (with Green Bay)

Pro Bowls: 11

#11. Matt Ryan – $149.5 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Atlanta Falcons

Seasons: 10

Highest Earning Season: $36.5 million in 2015, $15 million was a signing bonus.

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 4

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

#10. Larry Fitzgerald– $151.3 million

Position: Wide Receiver

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Seasons: 13

Highest Earning Season: $26.3 million in 2013

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 10

#9. Julius Peppers – $159.5 million

Position: Linebacker

Team: Carolina Panthers

Seasons: 16

Highest Earning Season: $20.2 million in 2010, $6.5 million was signing bonus.

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 9

#8. Matthew Stafford – $161.8 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Detroit Lions

Seasons: 9

Highest Earning Season: $51.1 million in 2017, $50 million of which is a signing bonus.

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 1

#7. Ben Roethlisberger – $170.3 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Seasons: 14

Highest Earning Season: $35.3 million in 2015, $31 million of that is a signing bonus

Super Bowl Wins: 2

Pro Bowls: 5

#6. Carson Palmer – $174.1 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Seasons: 14

Highest Earning Season: $19 million in 2014, $10 million is signing bonus.

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 3

Donald Miralle/Getty Images

#5. Philip Rivers – $187.9 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Los Angeles Chargers

Seasons: 14

Highest Earning Season: $32 million in 2015, $15 million is signing bonus.

Super Bowl Wins: 0

Pro Bowls: 6

#4. Drew Brees – $194.7 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: New Orleans Saints

Seasons: 17

Highest Earning Season: $40 million in 2012, $37 million of which is a signing bonus.

Super Bowl Wins: 1

Pro Bowls: 10

#3. Tom Brady – $197.2 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: New England Patriots

Seasons: 18

Highest Earning Season: $28.8 million in 2016, $18 million of which is signing bonus

Super Bowl Wins: 5

Pro Bowls: 12

#2. Eli Manning – $219.3 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: New York Giants

Seasons: 14

Highest Earning Season: $37 million in 2015, $31 million was signing bonus.

Super Bowl Wins: 2

Pro Bowls: 4

#1. Peyton Manning – $248.7 million

Position: Quarterback

Team: Retired, Indianapolis Colts (1998-2011), Denver Broncos (2012-2015)

Seasons: 18

Highest Earning Season: $35 million in 2014, $34.5 was signing bonus.

Super Bowl Wins: 2

Pro Bowls: 14

Articles Written by Amy Lamare
Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based writer covering business, technology, entertainment, philanthropy, and pop culture. She spent 8 1/2 years covering the entertainment industry for www.hsx.com. She attended the University of Southern California where she majored in Creative Writing. An avid long distance runner, weekends she can be found running the streets of Los Angeles training for 1/2 and full marathons. Follow her on Facebook.
Did we make a mistake?
Submit a correction suggestion and help us fix it!
Submit a Correction
Discussion