The very best NFL players make a ton of money. Several players end up getting massive contracts that can reach $100 million. But who makes the most money in the NFL? Via spotrac, here are the 25 highest paid players in the NFL based on average salary.
25. Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
JPP is set to make $14.8 million this year, thanks to the Giants franchise tagging him. Whether or not that tag is rescinded is a big question however, after Pierre-Paul's fireworks accident cost him his right finger.
24. Gerald McCoy, DT, Buccaneers
McCoy is one of the best defensive tackles in the game and is paid like it. He makes $15.8 million per year on a six-year contract. Over half of that money is guaranteed too.
T-22. Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals
Dalton makes $16 million per season, but only a fraction of that is guaranteed. That means the Bengals could move on from Dalton if they needed to.
T-22. Mario Williams, DE, Bills
Williams also makes $16 million per year. Roughly a third of that is guaranteed, meaning he should stay in Buffalo until his contract expires after the 2017 season.
21. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
Johnson makes roughly $16.2 million per season, putting him just ahead of Williams and Dalton. Almost half of his contract is guaranteed and he's the only receiver on this list.
20. Eli Manning, QB, Giants
Manning is just ahead of Johnson, making $16.25 million per year. This is the last season on his contract and the rumor is he wants to be at the top of this list next season. Maybe.
19. Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals
At age 35 and with his past injuries, Palmer making the Top 20 might surprise some. However, this just shows the value of having a good QB. His contract runs until 2018, when he's 38 years old. Just over 40 percent of his deal is guaranteed and the Cardinals can get out a season or two early with a minimal cap hit.
18. J.J. Watt, DE, Texans
Is Watt too low at $16.6 million per season? Maybe not, since only two other non-QBs are ahead of him. Watt is signed through 2021, with over half his deal guaranteed.
17. Justin Houston, OLB, Chiefs
One of the best pass rushers in the NFL, Houston just signed a big extension. He gets paid just a tad more than Watt, at $16.8 million per year. Roughly half of his contract is guaranteed.
T-16. Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs
Smith gets paid $17 million per season through 2018. On top of that, 66 percent of his contract is guaranteed. That's a big pay day for a QB many consider to be a game-manager.
T-16. Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
Manning has two years left on a contract that pays his $17 million per season. Less than half of that is guaranteed and Denver can move on from Peyton after this year with only a small cap hit.
14. Matt Stafford, QB, Lions
Locked up through 2017, Stafford makes $17.66 million per season. Over 78 percent of his contract is guaranteed too, so Detroit would have a tough time moving on from him if they wanted.
13. Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
Romo makes $18 million per year and is signed through 2019. Just over half his contract is guaranteed. With the way Dallas restructured Romo's deal, moving on from him before 2018 at the earliest will be almost impossible. Good thing the Cowboys offensive line is so good; they'll need to keep Romo healthy.
12. Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
Everyone thinks Cutler should make $18.1 million per year right? Just over 42 percent of his contract is guaranteed and he's signed through 2020. However, the Bears can cut him with a small cap hit after 2016. They can take a $13 million dollar hit after this season if they really want him gone.
11. Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers
Kaepernick might make $19 million per season, but that's a bit deceptive. After next season, the 49ers can cut him without much of a cap hit. This is pretty much a year-to-year deal.
10. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Dolphins
The last of the non-QBs is Suh. He's got the fifth most guaranteed money of any NFL player, in part because he only just signed his contract. The Dolphins are paying Suh just over $19 million each season and can't even try to cut him until 2019.
9. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins
Back-to-back Dolphins here. While some didn't think Tannehill was worth $19.25 million per season, he absolutely is. He's about to take the next step and be among the Top 10 QBs in the NFL. About 58 percent of his money is guaranteed.
8. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
Brees' contract checks in at $20 million per season. His cap hit is an astounding $26.4 million this year and goes up next season. That figure is part of the reason the Saints traded away Jimmy Graham. They just didn't have enough cap space. Don't be surprised if the Saints try to trade Brees next season, the last year of his contract.
7. Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
Flacco bet on himself and got a massive contract after winning the Super Bowl. He makes $20.1 million each season and is signed through 2018. His cap hit is enough that he'll be the Ravens QB until at least 2018. However, only 24 percent of his deal is guaranteed.
6. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
Just barely outside the Top 5, Ryan makes $20.75 million per season. He's signed through 2018 and shouldn't be going anywhere soon.
5. Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Newton makes $20.76 million per season and that extra $10,000 per season is more symbolic than anything. It's just enough to get Newton inside the Top 5 QBs. Almost 60 percent of his deal is guaranteed and he's locked in through 2020. He'll only be 30 by then, so he might get another big contract.
4. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
Rivers just signed a new contract, one that will keep him with the Chargers until he's 37. He'll make $20.8 million per season, with a whopping 78 percent of that guaranteed.
3. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
Big Ben makes $20.85 million per season, just enough to get him inside the Top 3. However, only 35 percent of that is guaranteed. Still, his contract structure means he'll likely be in Pittsburgh until at least 2019.
2. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle
If you don't think Seattle should be paying 21.9 million per season, remember that at least 10 other teams would have written the check as fast as they could. Over 70 percent of his contract is guaranteed and he's signed through 2019. He's worth every penny.
1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
It's fitting that the best QB in football is also the highest paid. Frankly, $22 million might be lower than Rodgers' actually value. He's signed through 2019 and the Packers won't be sending him away anytime soon. However, Rodgers might not be the highest paid QB for long. The salary cap is rising and Andrew Luck is due for a new contract soon.Back to the NFL Newsfeed