Top-31 Highest-Paid NFL Players 2020

Highest-Paid NFL Players 2020
Photo: ESPN

Who is the highest-paid NFL player?

How much do pro football players such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz and Jared Goff earn in a year? SportyTell takes a look — read on to find out how much your favourite NFL players earned in a 12-month period ending May 2020.

All of the actions and entertainment the NFL brings has done well building the league’s fan base, thus bringing huge financial returns to the league which has extended to the players who fans troop out to watch every match day. Just like every other year, the financial gains of NFL players rank high in the Forbes highest-paid athletes 2020 list, despite the suspension of the league, one of the several inconveniences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The entire earnings of the world’s top-100 highest-paid athletes make up about $3.6 billion, out of which NFL pro football players account for about 25% of that sum. In this article, we’ll review the top-31 highest-paid NFL players based on their total earnings which include salary/winnings as well as earnings from endorsement and sponsorship deals.

The highest-paid NFL Players right now

* Salaries includes earnings from winnings and bonuses.

1. Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins – Highest Earning NFL Player

Salary: $58 Million; Endorsements: $2.5 Million

Kirk Cousins of the Vikings holds the number 1 spot as the highest-paid NFL player. He signed a two-year contract extension in March 2020 with the Vikings worth $66 million. The contract included a $30 million signing bonus which saw him become the NFL highest-paid player in the 2019-2020 season. Endorsement deals worth a total of $2.5 million sees the quarterback’s earnings at a whopping $60.5 million in 2020.

2. Carson Wentz

Salary: $55.1 Million; Endorsements: $4 Million

June 2019, Philadelphia Eagles extended Carson Wentz contract for the next four years with a monetary value of $128 million which included a signing bonus of $16.4 million along with an option bonus of $30 million paid in the third month of the year. Lucrative endorsements deals with several reputable brands like Nike and BlackRidge Bank sees the 27-year-old amassing a total sum of $4 million. Bringing his total earnings to a tune of $59.1 million.

3. Jared Goff

Salary: $47 Million; Endorsements: $2 Million

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft who aided the rams to a Super Bowl trophy in his third season signed a four-year deal worth $134 million in 2019 with the Los Angeles Rams, including a $25 million signing bonus and $21 million roster bonus resulting in a $47 million annual pay salary. Off the field, the quarterback earns $2 million from several endorsements deals signed with brands like Nike, Pizza Hut, Red Bull, BMW, Bose and Banana Republic.

4. Tom Brady

Salary: $33 Million; Endorsements: $12 Million

One of the greatest NFL players and prolific quarterbacks to ever play the game pulled a shocker when he signed a free-agent contract with Tampa Bay after two decades with the Patriots. Tom Brady‘s deal with the Buccaneers was a $50 million guaranteed contract for two years plus an optional $9 million on potential bonuses and incentives. Brady also profits in $12 million on endorsement deals with brands such as IWC Schaffhausen, Wheels Up and Under Armour

5. Drew Brees

Salary: $29.8 Million; Endorsements: $15 Million

NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, Drew Brees penned a two-year contract extension with the New Orleans Saints worth $50 million in 2020 plus a $23 million signing bonus seeing his annual salary shoot up to $29.8 million. Brees’ total accrued earnings are $44.8 million, with endorsements accounting for $15 million.

6. Julio Jones

Salary: $37.5 Million; Endorsements: $3 Million

With a whopping $37.5 million annual earning on salary alone plus $3 million earning from endorsement deals, the seven-time Pro Bowler comes sixth on the highest-paid NFL players’ list. Julio Jones signed a three-year contract with Atlanta in 2019 for $66 million which includes a $25 million signing bonus.

7. Grady Jarrett

Salary: $33 Million; Endorsements: $0.05 Million

The 27-year-old who tied a Super Bowl record with three sacks in a 2016 NFL game against the New England Patriots signed a four-year contract extension deal with the Atlanta Falcons in 2019 worth $68 million, seeing him earn about $33 million per year. Though Jarrett didn’t gather as much as his peers in endorsement deals with him earning just $50,000 from endorsements, his huge salary income sees him place seventh on the top-earning pro football players list.

8. Michael Thomas

Salary: $31.6 Million; Endorsements: $0.75 Million

When Michael Thomas signed a five-year contract extension worth $96 million with the New Orleans Saints in 2019 which include a $20 million signing bonus he set a record for NFL receivers at the time. The AP Offensive Player of the Year earns $0.75 million on endorsement, plus his $31.6 million in salary and winnings, bringing his overall earnings in the 12-month period to $32.4 million. Thomas also runs his own clothing merchandise which surely rakes in more off-field profits.

9. Aaron Rodgers

Salary: $21.1 Million; Endorsements: $9 Million

The record-breaking quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, penned a $134 million contract extension with Green Bay Packers which runs through the 2023 NFL season and sees him earning $21.1 million on a yearly basis. Combination of salary and endorsements worth $9 million brings the 36-years-old overall income to a total of $30.1 million.

10. Matt Ryan

Salary: $24 Million; Endorsements: $5.5 Million

Matt Ryan, who was the first NFL player to earn an average of $30 million with a five-year deal per-season in a $150 million contract he signed in 2018, rakes in $24 million in salary as well as $5.5 million on endorsements deals partnership with Nike, Southern Company, Gatorade, Dove and 11 others. That brings Ryan’s earnings to a total of $29.5 million.

11. Arik Armstead

Salary: $26.5 Million; Endorsements: $0.25 Million

In March 2020, Arik Armstead sealed a five-year contract extension with San Francisco 49ers with a $17.5 million signing bonus, earning an annual salary of $26.5 million. His endorsements deals worth $0.25 million sees the 26-year-old earn as much as $26.8 million, thus, placing 11th on the highest-paid pro football players list.

12. Christian McCaffrey

Salary: $23.5 Million; Endorsements: $3 Million

In March 2020 Christian McCaffrey signed a deal with the Carolina Panthers that put him in the books of history, becoming the highest-paid running back in the NFL. The deal was a four-year contract worth $64 million including a $21.5 million signing bonus. His $23.5 million salaries, plus endorsements with Nike, Bose, Lowe’s, Pepsi, Nerf and USAA which sees him earning $3 million in total from all partners levelled his annual earnings to $26.5 million.

13. Darius Slay

Salary: $25.8 Million; Endorsements: $0.25 Million

Slay who top the NFL in passes having defended 26 passes and intercepted 8 in the 2017 season was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in March 2020 after a successful seven-year stint with the Detroit Lions. The eagles gave slay a $50 million three-year contract extension with a $13 million signing bonus incentives. Darius Slay earns $25.8 million in salary and an additional $250,000 on endorsements to place thirteenth on the list.

14. Ryan Tannehill

Salary: $25.2 Million; Endorsements: $0.3 Million

After a stunning comeback performance in the 2019 NFL season with the quarterback clinching the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award, Ryan Tannehill penned a four-year $118 million contract with the Tennessee Titans, including a $20 million signing bonus. His salary earnings are a total of $25.2 million. Tannehill further earns $300,000 on endorsements, bringing his total earnings to $25.5 million.

15. Bobby Wagner

Salary: $24.5 Million; Endorsements: $0.5 Million

When Wagner signed a three-year contract ahead of the 2019 NFL season worth $54 million, he became the highest-paid middle linebacker in the NFL. With endorsement deals worth $500,000 along with heavy annual salary earnings of $24.5 million, his overall earnings fall at $25 million, placing him 15th on the top-earning pro football player list.

16. Amari Cooper

Salary: $23.9 Million; Endorsements: $1 Million

The 2014 Biletnikoff Award Winner and four-time Pro Bowler, Amari Cooper, was traded to the Dallas from Raiders in mid-2018. 2020 saw the wide receiver pen a contract extension of five-years for $100 million for the Dallas Cowboys and earning as much as $23.9 million in salary yearly. The deal included a $10 million signing bonus. The 25-years old rakes in $1 million from endorsements with several brands. That brings his total earnings to the tune of $24.9 million.

17. Robert Quinn

Salary: $24.5 Million; Endorsements: $0.15 Million

Robert Quinn got a deal with the Chicago Bears after an impressive season in 2019 with the Dallas Cowboys. His deal with the Chicago Bears was a five-year $70 million contract which included $15.5 million upfront payment. That sees him earn as much as $24.5 million yearly salary and winnings. Profits of $150,000 from endorsement partnership accounts for his $24.7 million total earnings, thus, placing 17th on the top-earning NFL players list.

18. Trae Waynes

Salary: $24.1 Million; Endorsements: $0.25 Million

The 11th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as a free agent in 2020, under a three-year contract worth $42 million, plus a $15 million signing bonus. Trae Waynes who previously spent his first five seasons playing for the Minnesota Vikings now earns as much as $24.1 million annually under his new contract. Waynes’ endorsements account for $250,000 of his earnings. 

19. Dante Fowler, Jr

Salary: $24 Million; Endorsements: $0.2 Million

After penning a three-year $48 million contract with Atlanta Falcons in 2020 which saw his annual salary as much as $24 million, he became one of the highest-earning players in the NFL. $200,000 on endorsements earnings sees him placing 19th on the list.

20. Marcus Mariota

Salary: $20.9 Million; Endorsements: $3 Million

After winning the Heisman Trophy, he became the second overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft which, he went on to a five-season stint with the Tennessee Titans. In 2020, the quarterback sealed a transfer move to Las Vegas Raiders for a two-year $17.6 million deal. He is endorsed with brands like Nike, Island Insurance, Beats and a few others, raking in a total of $3 million on all endorsement earnings, bringing his total earnings to as much as $23.9 million. That places him 20 on the list of the highest-paid NFL players right now.

More top-earning NFL players in 2020

  1. Nick Bosa – Salary: $22.9 million; Endorsements: $750,000
  2. Shaq Thompson – Salary: $23.5 million; Endorsements: $150,000
  3. Philip Rivers – Salary: $23 million; Endorsements: $400,000
  4. Ezekiel Elliott – Salary: $21.3 million; Endorsements: $2 million
  5. Ben Roethlisberger – Salary: $22 million; Endorsements: $1 million
  6. Andrus Peat – Salary: $22.6 million; Endorsements: $50,000
  7. D.J. Reader – Salary: $22.3 million; Endorsements: $75,000
  8. Quinnen Williams – Salary: $22.2 million; Endorsements: $200,000
  9. Cam Newton – Salary: $16.7 million; Endorsements: $5.5 million
  10. Calais Campbell – Salary: $22 million; Endorsements: $100,000
  11. Derek Carr – Salary: $20 million; Endorsements: $2 million


What are your thoughts on these top-31 highest-paid pro football players in 2020? Please feel free to share with us in the comments section below.

Source: Forbes

One Response

  1. Glenn November 2, 2020

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