The recent era of quarterback protection and endless offense through the air has led to some serious money being doled out at the position in the last decade, with quarterback contracts ballooning to new heights virtually every season. The hot topic these days is how much guaranteed money players should receive, as NFL contracts pale in comparison to those in the NBA and MLB, especially when it comes to money guaranteed at signing. With that in mind, let's check out the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL by guaranteed money, as well as simply by average annual value.
Highest Paid QBs in Guaranteed Money
Matt Ryan: $94.5 million
Kirk Cousins: $84 million
Aaron Rodgers: $79.2 million
Russell Wilson: $70 million
Carson Wentz: $66.47 million
Matthew Stafford: $60.5 million
Alex Smith: $55 million
Eli Manning: $54 million
Nick Foles: $45.12 million
Andrew Luck: $44 million
Highest Paid QBs with Incentives
These are the quarterbacks with the highest average yearly salary (including incentives):
Russell Wilson: $35 million
Ben Roethlisberger: $34 million
Aaron Rodgers: $33.5 million
Carson Wentz: $32 million
Matt Ryan: $30 million
Kirk Cousins: $28 million
Jimmy Garoppolo: $27.5 million
Ben Roethlisberger: $27 million
Derek Carr: $25 million
Drew Brees: $25 million
As you can see, the quarterbacks with the highest contract values are almost exclusively those who have recently signed new deals. Almost every player on both lists signed their contracts between 2017 and 2019 (with the only exceptions being Eli Manning and Andrew Luck). On the other hand, quarterbacks like Phillip Rivers and Cam Newton are missing on each list despite holding (arguably) elite status at the position, as they each began their extensions in 2015.
Tom Brady is another notable absence on the lists, as he perpetually takes team-friendly deals in pursuit of Super Bowl titles.
As long as quarterback remains the most important position in sports, QB contracts will continue to skyrocket. For now, be glad if your team is one of the lucky few with a good quarterback on his rookie contract.