Everyone knows that A-list celebrities earn the sums of money that we mere mortals can only dream about enjoying. The same is true for elite athletes, particularly those top-tier pros who play in the National Football League (NFL). NFL franchises have a habit of awarding their star players with huge contracts to secure the long-term services of the game’s best talent.
The five biggest earners in the NFL for the coming season will earn a combined $202 million in salary payments and tens of millions more from their endorsement deals. Unsurprisingly, 13 of the top 15 earners in the NFL are quarterbacks, thanks to this being the position that pulls the strings for the offense. Quarterbacks receive most of the glory, but the book stops with them when the team is not performing. All five of the NFL’s biggest earners for 2022 are starting quarterbacks for their respective teams.
Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs ($45 million)
Patrick Mahomes is the NFL’s highest-earning superstar thanks to him signing a 10-year deal worth an incredible $503 million; his average salary is $45 million per year. Since becoming the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018, Mahomes has helped guide his team to four consecutive AFC West titles, back-to-back Super Bowl appearances (one of which the Chiefs won), and has been named the NFL’s MVP in addition to earning the Super Bowl MVP when the Chiefs won in 2019. It is easy to see why the Vegas betting sites go crazy for the Chiefs when Mahomes is in the starting line-up.
Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills ($43 million)
Josh Allen is the Buffalo Bills quarterback, earning an average of $43 million per year. The Buffalo Bills selected Allen as the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and threw the youngster straight into the team. Allen has since turned into one of the best quarterbacks in the league, which is why the Bills offered him a six-year contract extension in August 2021 worth up to $258 million.
Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys ($40 million)
Dak Prescott plays for the Dallas Cowboys and is the team’s, you guessed it, quarterback. The now 28-year-old has been with the Cowboys since they selected the former Mississippi State college star 135th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Usually, quarterbacks selected so far down the pecking order do not make it to the top, but Prescott has denied the odds and is reaping the rewards.
The Cowboys threw Prescott into the first team during his rookie season when their usual starting quarterback broke his leg. Prescott took to the professional game like a duck to water and has been ever-present since, aside from when an ankle injury kept him out of most of the 2020 campaign. Upon his return, Prescott put pen to paper on a four-year $160 million deal that, with bonuses, sees his average salary weigh in at $40 million. Not bad for a player considered 135th best in his draft.
Deshaun Watson – Cleveland Browns ($39 million)
Deshaun Watson signed a mega-money deal worth an average of $39 million per season when he joined the Cleveland Browns in March 2022. Watson currently faces 22 civil lawsuits, many alleging sexual assault and misconduct, yet the Browns still signed him to their roster.
Russell Wilson – Denver Broncos ($35 million)
Russell Wilson is another quarterback who, like Prescott mentioned above, was drafted outside the first few rounds. The Seattle Seahawks selected Wilson as the 75th overall pick in 2012.
Wilson has broken many records during his long and illustrious career, including a string of 149 consecutive games started by a quarterback. That streak ended in 2021 when he missed two games after surgery on a broken finger. The Seahawks traded Wilson to the Denver Broncos, who signed him to a four-year $140 million contract that nets him $35 million yearly.