NFL season is back and with it speculation about the size of the league’s superstar contracts.
While much was made out of Pittsburgh Steelers’ Le’veon Bell’s contract stand off that ultimately made him the highest paid running back in the NFL at $12.1 million per year, data shows us that the real big bucks are made by NFL quarterbacks. In fact, the top five highest salaries (and beyond) this season all consist of quarterbacks.
Let’s break down the details of 2017’s top earners:
1. Matthew Stafford
Team: Detroit Lions
Average Yearly Salary: $27,000,000
Matthew Stafford’s new contract makes the 29-year-old QB the highest paid NFL player in history. The contract is $135 million over 5 years, including a $50 million signing bonus! Stafford knows how to spend it, too. He recently purchased a nearly 10,000 square foot mansion for $3.85 million, and it was reported that at his lavish 2015 wedding, each guest was given a free pair of Nikes and custom airbrushed trucker hats.
2. Derek Carr
Team: Oakland Raiders
Average Yearly Salary: $25,000,000
Derek Carr held the top spot for the two months after he inked his 5-year $125 million deal in June 2017 but then was pushed to second. That’s not to say life hasn’t change for the young quarterback. Carr jokingly lamented in a recent interview with Dan Patrick that while acknowledging he likes doing random kind acts, “…now people look at you when you walk in a restaurant and wonder, ‘is he going to buy my meal?” While Carr has stated he has not gone on any spending sprees yet, he did acknowledge paying off a loan to his older brother for a gym and football school they started together.
3. Andrew Luck
Team: Indianapolis Colts
Average Yearly Salary: $24,594,000
While much is being made of the struggles the Colts are facing with Andrew Luck being out due to injury, he’s still earning a hefty paycheck. The sports media and Internet were abuzz when he signed his colossal $140 million six year contract extension in June 2016. With the Colts presently being a bit down on their luck with the NFL’s “nice guy,” some are wondering if that massive contract was such a good idea.
4. Carson Palmer
Team: Arizona Cardinals
Average Yearly Salary: $24,350,000
Veteran QB Carson Palmer is still getting prime income via a contract extension signed in August 2016. Palmer, the third oldest Quarterback in the league at 37-years-old, must have his mind on his future finances as he made waves in November 2015, when he listed his Del Mar, California home for $25 million after originally purchasing the half acre lot for $4.4 million in 2010. While the ambitious asking price made headlines, the house still remains for sale and the price has since been lowered.
5. Drew Brees
Team: New Orleans Saints
Average Yearly Salary: $24,250,000
Speaking of well-paid veteran NFL quarterbacks, Drew Brees is the second oldest NFL quarterback at 38-years-old. Brees arrived at his $24.25 million salary via a summer 2016 contract extension. Brees has been business minded with his wealth. In 2016, he purchased a 25% stake in a New Orleans area sports bar chain. Additionally, he singlehandedly expanded Jimmy John’s to the New Orleans market by franchising the popular sandwich chain in September 2011 and adding more locations thereafter.