You love football, the drama surrounding it occasionally, and the huge paychecks. Your favorite player might be making an incredible amount of money, but is it enough for them to have made this richest NFL players list? Keep on reading to find out!
Do You Think Quarterbacks Are the Highest Paid in the NFL?
When people got their sports news from newspapers, TV, and Sports Illustrated, there was a general assumption that quarterbacks were the highest-paid players in the NFL.
While this remains true to some extent, some of the most valuable players are part of why these quarterbacks are so successful. If a player isn’t a quarterback and is still on this list, they’re a valuable part of your favorite team.
The Richest NFL Players of All-Time
Even though every new season brings a new payday for players, those at the top of the earnings list tend to stay there. So while you may not recognize every name on this list, their estimated worth makes it clear why they are here.
Here are the 20 richest NFL players of all time:
20. Cam Newton Net Worth - $75 Million
The sports world takes notice when a rookie earns almost $15 million in his first year in the NFL. He played quarterback for the Carolina Panthers and met some significant milestones in his career.
He got the title of Rookie of the Year in 2011, enjoyed three visits to the Pro Bowl, was named MVP for the league in 2015, and helped his team to make an appearance in the Super Bowl.
A proportionate paycheck for his performance has earned Cam Newton a well-deserved spot on this list.
19. Joe Flacco Net Worth - $85 Million
Fans of the Ravens will know the name Joe Flacco as one of the team’s most valued players. According to MSN.com, Flacco led the team to the playoffs six times. He also helped the team win the Superbowl in 2013.
The quarterback can claim that he went to three AFC Championship games. Not only that, but he was able to win the AFC North twice. He earned a spot here with a net worth of around $85 million and a list of respectable successes.
18. Carson Palmer Net Worth - $90 Million
Palmer started his pro football career as the first overall pick for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2003 draft, according to Playersbio.com. After playing for the Bengals, he switched and played for the Raiders. At the end of his career, he played for the Cardinals again before retiring in 2017.
The quarterback is unique in that he enjoyed a long, successful career without spending much time on the sidelines due to injuries. By the time he retired, he was estimated to have brought in a salary of more than $174 million.
17. Alex Smith Net Worth - $95 Million
Smith is a recent retiree from the NFL, and his net worth is pretty impressive. He started as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, then moved to Kansas City, and then on to the Redskins for his final seasons.
16. Ben Roethlisberger Net Worth - $100 Million
As a player for the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2004, Ben has shown that he’s committed to his team. After his first season, he was honored to be named the Best Offensive Rookie of the Year, but he was just getting started with the honors.
A couple of years after the quarterback joined the Steelers, he became the youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl with his team at 23! He went on to become a champ of the Pro Bowl six times and a Super Bowl Champion twice. He certainly made the most out of his 18-year career.
15. Brett Favre Net Worth - $100 Million
Brett Favre has made the most of his career through outstanding athletic performance and endorsement deals. His history as an NFL player speaks of his commitment to his team. For the 20 years he played, he was the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
Favre brought his team to victory and has his own Super Bowl Ring. In addition, his legendary status has been solidified as he’s now a part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
14. Phillip Rivers Net Worth - $100 Million
Rivers has the distinction of having played in the NFL for 17 seasons. He’s had a varied career as far as teams go, starting with the New York Giants. He was then traded to the San Diego Chargers, where he stayed for 16 seasons.
The quarterback was never able to find his way to the Superbowl, but he still has an impressive career. This has earned him the distinction of having the most touchdown passes and passing yards for a quarterback who didn’t get to the Super Bowl in his career. That said, he can boast of having been a Pro Bowler eight times.
13. Tom Condon Net Worth - $100 Million
Younger NFL fans may not have heard of Tom Condon, but he did well enough and was paid plenty to make it onto this list. He started playing for the Kansas City Chiefs as an offensive lineman from 1974 through 1984.
During the off-season, Condon earned himself a law degree. He finished his career in football after playing for New England in 1985 and became a representative for NFL players. He still remains active in his second career.
12. John Elway Net Worth - $145 Million
John Elway has been a part of the Broncos winning the Super Bowl three times. The first two times, he played as a quarterback. The third time he was an executive.
Elway played for the Broncos from 1983 to 1998, making it to the Super Bowl five times and six trips to AFC Championship games. He currently enjoys a position as the president of football operations for the Broncos.
11. Joe Montana Net Worth - $150 Million
Four Super Bowls and getting to go to the Pro Bowl eight times sets Joe Montana apart from most of the other quarterbacks in the NFL. Montana was known for his focus and critical thinking skills on the field.
He entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the turn of the century. NFL.com also ranked the quarterback as the #4 NFL Player of All Time by Lines.com.
With such a successful and admired career behind him, Joe continues to earn a sizable income. A large portion of his worth is thought to be from endorsement deals and public speaking engagements.
10. Drew Brees Net Worth - $160 Million
Brees started his NFL career in 2001 when he was drafted by the Chargers. He played there until 2005, when he moved to play for the New Orleans Saints, where he played until retirement in 2021.
His career has notable moments, including winning a Super Bowl, going to the Pro Bowl 13 times, and setting himself a record for touchdown passes towards the end of his career. The quarterback has done exceptionally well for himself, both professionally and financially.
9. Eli Manning Net Worth - $160 Million
When you have a player that sticks with their team throughout their entire career, you have a special player. If that player plays a role in getting his team to two Super Bowls, then you’ve got Eli Manning, and he’s worth every penny you pay him.
From 2004 through 2019, Eli played for and stayed with the New York Giants. He was able to go to the Pro Bowl four times. Now that he’s retired, he’s become a well-paid celebrity endorser for brands like Reebok, Samsung, Gatorade, and more.
8. Russell Wilson Net Worth - $165 Million
Wilson started his pro career playing for the Seattle Seahawks from 2012 through 2021. He played a crucial part in getting the team to two Super Bowls and winning one. He can also boast that he’s been a Pro Bowler nine times.
After leaving the Seahawks, he moved to play for the Denver Broncos. With a five-year contract that included a $50,000,000 bonus, according to Sportrac.com, he’s well on his way to moving up this list in the coming years.
7. Aaron Rodgers Net Worth - $200 Million
Rodgers is known to be one of the world’s highest-paid sports personalities. He’s been a four-time All-Pro and 10-time Pro Bowler, and he brings skill and precision to his game. That’s impressive since he had to follow in Brett Favre’s footsteps when the legend announced his retirement.
Rodgers has had a very successful career in performance, but he’s no stranger to controversy. Yet, no matter what hurdles come his way, he thrives. He continues to play and has endorsements with brands like Sharpie, Pizza Hut, Adidas, and more bumping up his income yearly.
6. John Madden Net Worth - $200 Million
John Madden may have the most fascinating success story on this list. He started his career being drafted for the Eagles but couldn’t play professionally after suffering an injury.
He rebounded to be the head coach for the Raiders and has the distinction of never having a single losing season! His coaching career can also boast winning 17 games in a row from 1976 to 1977.
For people who recognize the John Madden name, it’s likely from his football broadcasting gigs. Better yet, you may know him from his name on Football’s most lucrative video game line. Sadly Madden is no longer with us.
5. Steve Young Net Worth - $200 Million
Football was just the stepping stone that Steve Young needed to make an excellent living. This man was brave enough to follow the famed Joe Montana and held his own on the field. He got three Super Bowl rings and is in the Hall of Fame.
Steve’s fortune came after he left football, even though he’s still seen in broadcasting. He found he had a talent in the financial market and co-founded a private equity firm.
4. Peyton Manning Net Worth - $250 Million
Yes, this is the second Manning on this list, and it’s well-deserved. Peyton Manning has Super Bowl wins from playing with the Colts and then the Broncos. He’s also found his way to 14 Pro Bowls.
If you haven’t seen a single endorsement featuring Peyton, that’s a rarity. He’s been seen in ads for Gatorade, Nike, Mastercard, and more.
3. Tom Brady Net Worth - $300 Million
Anyone who knows anything about football knows there can’t be a richest player list without Brady. With a record of winning seven of the 10 Super Bowl games he played in, he’s got the talent and stats that coaches only dream of in their players.
Brady went to 15 Pro Bowls and was named MVP three times. He was also a five-time Super Bowl MVP and three-time MVP.
Even though Tom’s switch to play for the Buccaneers ended with his retirement, he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The opportunities for endorsements and public speaking events will likely keep him toward the top of this list for years to come.
2. Fran Tarkenton Net Worth - $350 Million
Even though this high-ranking earner retired in 1978, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t earned a place on this list! Tarkenton played a total of 18 seasons with both the Vikings and Giants. He made 9 trips to the Pro Bowl and is a part of the Hall of Fame.
After leaving pro ball, he started his own company, Targenton Software, which he later sold. In addition, he’s written a book, and has a role with the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business that allows students to earn a certificate in entrepreneurship.
1. Roger Staubach Net Worth - $600 Million
In 1969, Staubach joined the Dallas Cowboys and earned a salary of $25,000. He played in four Super Bowls, got awarded MVP, and two rings. He is also a valued member of the Hall of Fame.
While playing for the Cowboys, he also played a bit in the real estate market. Since retiring, he’s built his own real estate empire with the Staubach Company. His business grew, and he made himself a very successful run of it before he sold it for $613 million.
Talent Gets You Good Money, on and off of the Field
While there are many quarterbacks on this list, there are also some others, including administrative roles. Many of these people have had to work hard, overcome challenging obstacles, and reinvent themselves throughout their careers. If success means how much money a person makes, this may be a list of the most successful people on earth.
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Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith