Breaking Down the Top 5 Total Salaries in NFL Currently

Breaking Down the Top 5 Total Salaries in NFL Currently

Breaking Down the Top 5 Total Salaries in NFL Currently

The financial model of the NFL has changed quickly with an elite fraternity of players most of them quarterbacks making out like robber barons. The league as a whole is competitive by which, every new contract seems to be bigger than the last one and the record is constantly being broken by different players almost every single year.


The Impact

The NFL has experienced record salary cap growth, hitting an annual budget of $255.4 million per team in 2024. The result is that staggering deals are sprouting up as player agents have hammered record salaries for a quarterback — by design the most important ingredient to any possible on-field success. The astronomical numbers highlight the insatiable appetite for elite talent and the frenzied desire of teams to sign the best players.


Current Top 5 Salaries in the NFL

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

  • Total Contract: $450 million over 10 years

  • Average Annual Value (AAV): $45 million

  • Signing Year: 2020

  • Signing Age: 24

  • Impact: Mahomes' historic 10-year deal with the Chiefs, signed in 2020, remains the benchmark for quarterback contracts, with an AAV of $45 million. This deal not only solidified Mahomes' status as the face of the franchise but also allowed him to become a minority stakeholder in another team in town – the Kansas City Royals.

2. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

  • Total Contract: $275 million over 5 years

  • AAV: $55 million

  • Signing Year: 2023

  • Signing Age: 26

  • Impact: Burrow's remarkable journey from turning around a struggling franchise to becoming the highest-paid player in NFL history per year is a testament to his impact on the Bengals' resurgence. The $275 million deal, including $219.01 million in guaranteed money, reflects the Bengals' commitment to their star quarterback.

3. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

  • Total Contract: $262.5 million over 5 years

  • AAV: $52.5 million

  • Signing Year: 2023

  • Signing Age: 25

  • Impact: Herbert's rapid rise as the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL by average salary showcases the Chargers' unwavering faith in his abilities. With $218.7 million in guarantees, this deal underscores the Chargers' belief in Herbert as their long-term franchise quarterback.

4. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

  • Total Contract: $260 million over 5 years

  • AAV: $52 million

  • Signing Year: 2023

  • Signing Age: 26

  • Impact: Jackson's re-signing with the Ravens in 2023 solidified his status as one of the highest-paid players in the NFL, albeit not as much as Mahomes. His prowess as a dual-threat quarterback and his impact on the Ravens' offense justified this lucrative contract.

5. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

  • Annual Salary: $33.5 million

  • Signing Year: 2019

  • Impact: Goff's contract with the Lions, although not among the top 5 total salaries, reflects the ever-increasing market for quarterbacks. His journey from being perceived as an albatross to becoming a rock-solid presence for the Lions signifies the fluid nature of player valuations in the NFL.

Top Paying Job in NFL

When it comes to identifying the highest-paid players in the NFL, you have to look at both the total contract value and the average annual value (AAV) of a given deal. These numbers give us an overall idea of a player's value in this league.

In summary, quarterbacks are being paid way more because their good talent is sought after by all teams this drives up their cost and because teams have more and more money to spend (rising cap). Additionally, the top 5 total salaries in the NFL highlight the significant premium tied to having an elite quarterback and one that can potentially change how the landscape of the league competes.


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