Top 25 Highest Paid NFL Players Of All Time

By on November 18, 2015 in ArticlesSports News

Football wasn't about the money in the beginning. Maybe the players wanted to be like their dads who played in the NFL, or maybe they just wanted to have fun with their friends after school. Maybe they wanted to make the kind of money given to professional athletes, but as a kid, you don't play because you'll get you'll get paid someday, when you grow up. No, when most guys first started playing, it was for the love of the game.

In time, it became a means to an end. Playing well in high school led to scholarship offers, which led to an opportunity to play against some of the best young football players in the country (and hopefully receive an education). For those who excelled the opportunity to make a fortune in the NFL was presented to them.

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

What players can make has changed dramatically since the NFL first started playing. Back in 1965 the New York Jets made waves when they signed Joe Namath to a rookie deal worth $427,000. Rookie minimum for the 2015 season is $435,000 (for one year).

Back in the day guys needed off-season jobs in order to make ends meet. Now guys are setting up their grandchildren for life with the kind of money they make.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The best paying gig comes as no surprise. Of the top 25 highest paid players in NFL history 13 of them are quarterbacks (eight of the top ten are QBs also). Only one wide receiver made the top ten (No. 9 Larry Fitzgerald). Only one defender made the top ten (No. 6 Julius Peppers); eight made the top 25.

Perhaps the most telling name on the list is Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas (No. 17). He is the only offensive lineman in the top 25. You would think teams might want to pay the guys that protect their high priced quarterbacks a little better, but they don't.

The top 25 highest paid players in NFL history are as follows:

25. Ndaukong Suh, Miami Dolphins, Defensive Tackle– $90,715,157

24. Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens, Linebacker– $92,710,000

23. Charles Woodson, Oakland Raiders, Safety– $92,918,000

22. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions, Quarterback– $93,778,969

21. Dwight Freeney, Arizona Cardinals, Linebacker– $96,122,902

20. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears, Quarterback– $96,189,307

19. Andre Johnson, Indianapolis Colts, Wide Receiver– $96,434,470

18. Jared Allen, Carolina Panthers, Linebacker– $97,861,748

17. Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns, Offensive Tackle– $98,850,000

16. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets, Cornerback– $101,199,500

15. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, Quarterback– $111,223,256

14. Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills, Defensive Lineman– $111,900,000

13. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, Wide Receiver– $113,816,086

12. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, Quarterback– $117,950,000

11. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys, Quarterback– $118,920,000

10. Michael Vick, Pittsburgh Steelers, Quarterback– $121,211,000

9. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals, Wide Receiver– $129,282,500

8. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals, Quarterback– $138,127,242

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, Quarterback– $140,529,382

6. Julius Peppers, Green Bay Packers, Linebacker– $147,963,880

5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, Quarterback– $150,455,000

4. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, Quarterback– $151,910,000

3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots, Quarterback– $162,779,500

2. Eli Manning, New York Giants, Quarterback— $187,770,000

The  highest paid player in NFL history is….

1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos, Quarterback– $244,732,000

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