It's a good time to be a quarterback at the top of your game in the National Football League. New salary records are being broken left and right, and no one knows when the ceiling will be reached. Today the "going rate" for an NFL quarterback salary is $50 million per year. As of this writing, with a few deals still being nailed down, heading into the 2023-2024 season, three quarterbacks will earn more than $50 million and eight will earn more than $40 million.
Back in April of this year Jalen Hurts, QB for the Philadelphia Eagles, signed a new contract with the team worth $255 million over five years. Broken down annually, that was the biggest salary in the entire history of the NFL.
It only took two weeks for the record to be broken, when Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens signed a $260 million deal also spread out over five years.
And with fellow star QBs like Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals and Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers eligible for new contract extensions of their own in the near future, it's very possible and even likely that Jackson's salary record won't be long for this world either.
Market forces are credited with these new massive quarterback salaries, as teams making more money than ever are willing to spend as much as possible to retain their top players.
A rapidly expanding salary cap in the NFL is also a contributing factor, having spiked from $123 million up to almost $225 million in the last decade. And teams have been focusing a disproportionate amount of their available funds towards quarterbacks in particular.
Quarterbacks are earning greater proportions of their respective teams' salary caps than they have in previous eras, with nine passers league-wide earning more than 20% of the available salary funds from their squads. Compare that to, say, Peyton Manning's then-record $17 million annual contract with the Indianapolis Colts in 2004, which had him taking up a little over 17% of the team's salary cap, and you can see how trends in recent years have favored star QBs.
And as long as the NFL doesn't experience any rapid plunges in revenue (such as those that occurred due to COVID lockdowns in 2020), there's no telling how high the salaries for star quarterbacks might grow in the future.
20 Highest NFL QB salaries 2023-2024
Below is list of the salaries, based on average annual contract value, of the 20 highest-paid NFL quarterbacks for the 2023-2024 season:
- 1. Lamar Jackson, Ravens: $52 million
- 2. Jalen Hurts, Eagles: $51 million
- 3. Aaron Rodgers, Packers: $50.3 million
- 4. Russell Wilson, Broncos: $48.5 million
- 5. Kyler Murray, Cardinals: $46.1 million
- 6. Deshaun Watson, Browns: $46 million
- 7. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs: $45 million
- 8. Josh Allen, Bills: $43 million
- Tie. Matthew Stafford, Rams: $40 million
- Tie. Dak Prescott, Cowboys: $40 million
- Tie. Daniel Jones, Giants: $40 million
- 12. Derek Carr, Saints: $37.5 million
- 13. Kirk Cousins, Vikings: $35 million
- 14. Jared Goff, Lions: $33.5 million
- 15. Ryan Tannehill, Titans: $29.5 million
- 16. Geno Smith, Seahawks: $25 million
- 17. Jimmy Garoppolo, Raiders: $24.3 million
- 18. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars: $9.2 million
- 19. Joe Burrow, Bengals: $9 million
- 20. Zach Wilson, Jets: $8.8 million