The Quick Report

The 10 Highest-Paid NFL Quarterbacks of All Time

Aaron Rodgers agreed in late July, 2023, to a new contract worth $75 million. Twice, he has made the list of the top ten highest-paid quarterbacks of all time. But now, with skyrocketing salaries, his deal is worth less than half of the #10 highest-paid QB in history. Even Tom Brady is nowhere to be found on this historic list of the highest-dollar contracts and contract extensions.

In 2023, the average salary of an NFL quarterback is $35 million. But the highest-paid QBs in the game make considerably more than that. From low to high, are 10 NFL quarterbacks who have the highest-paying contracts in NFL history.

10. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott
Wikipedia via All-Pro Reels
Contract: 4 years, $160 million (2021-2024)

In 2021, Dak Prescott secured the bag with his four-year contract extension. The deal made him the highest-paid player in Cowboys history. This 4-year contract also had the largest signing bonus in NFL history — a staggering $66 million. Prescott’s talent and leadership have brought hope and excitement back to Dallas, making his contract a smart investment for the team. 

9. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

MatthewStafford
Wikipedia via Sewageboy
Contract: $160 million, 4 years (2020-2024)

On March 19, 2022, at the age of 35, Stafford signed a four-year extension worth $160 million, with $120 million of guarantees, and $63 million fully guaranteed. In July 2023, controversy was brewing between Stafford and the Rams, with reports claiming the team approached him about potentially restructuring his extension. Stafford reportedly declined the request.

8. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

Deshaun Watson
Wikipedia via Keith Allison
Contract: $230 million, 5 years (2023-2027)

Watson signed a record $230 million guaranteed contract when the Browns acquired him from the Texans in March 2022. The contract was the first fully guaranteed in the history of the NFL. Watson’s deal reportedly pays him an average of $46 million a year.

7. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray
Wikipedia via All-Pro Reels
Contract: $230.5 million, 5 years (2023-2028)

Ahead of the 2022 season, Murray signed a five-year, $230.5 million contract extension which goes into effect in the 2024 season and will continue until 2028, when he will be 31. The contract made Murray the third-highest quarterback by average annual salary at that time. The contract includes a guarantee of $160 million. Annually, the contract pays Mary $30 million in 2022, $39 million in 2023, will dip slightly in 2024 and 2025, then increase to over $42 million in 2026, and will pay him $46.3 million in the final year of the contract in 2028.

6. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

Russell Wilson
Wikipedia
Contract: $245 million, 5 years (2022-2027)

The Broncos spent a hefty sum hoping to fill the shoes of its former quarterback, Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. In 2022, Russell Wilson agreed to a 5-year contract extension worth $245 million, with $165 million guaranteed over the length of the contract. Combined with two years remaining on his present deal, it brings his 7-year income to at least $296 million. Wilson was already the highest-paid player in the long history of the Broncos franchise, with his previous contract which runs through the 2023 season, with an annual salary of $51 million.

5. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Jalen Hurts
Wikipedia via All-Pro Reels
Contract: $255 million, 5 years (2023-2028)

Jalen Hurts’ massive five-year, $255 million contract includes slightly over $110 million fully guaranteed at signing, with $179 million guaranteed in the event he’s injured. The deal works out to an average annual salary of $51 million for the 24-year-old All-Pro quarterback.

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4. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen
Wikipedia via All-Pro Reels
Contract: $258 million, 5 years (2023-2028)

In August 2021, Josh Allen signed a six-year contract extension with the Bills worth $258 million, which includes $100 million fully guaranteed at signing, as well as $150 million guaranteed in the instance of injury. The deal kicks off in the 2023 season. Allen ranks among the NFL’s top quarterbacks, with a 59.3% completion percentage in 2022. He also set a record as the first quarterback to have 300 passing yards, 60 rushing yards, and five touchdown passes in a playoff game in 2022, as well as a record as the highest passer rating in a single postseason at 149.0.

3. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson
Wikipedia via All-Pro Reels
Contract: $260 million, 5 years (2023-2028) 

In April 2023, Jackson agreed to a five-year, $260 million contract, with an annual value of $52 million, and $185 million in guaranteed money, the latter two of which are the second-highest in NFL history. Jackson is considered the most dynamic dual-threat in the NFL with his throwing and running ability. He was the NFL MVP in 2019, when he threw a league-high 36 touchdown passes, for 3,127 yards overall, and he rushed for 1,206 yards and 7 touchdowns. However, for the past two years, he has been plagued by injuries, missing the final six games last year due to a PCL sprain, while the Ravens suffered a wildcard loss to Cincinnati.

2. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Herbert
Wikipedia via All-Pro Reels
Contract: $262.5 million, 5 years (2022-2027)

In July, Herbert, 25, signed a 5-year contract extension for $262.5 million, with 133.7 million full guarantees and 193.7 million in injury guarantees. While Mahomes has the largest overall contract, on a per-season basis, Herbert became the highest-paid NFL quarterback in history based on an average annual salary value of $52.5 million. Herbert’s sweet deal includes paying him out $100 million of that mega-sum in the first season of the contract.

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes
Wikipedia via All-Pro Reels
Contract: $477.63 million, 10 years (2020-2031)

Patrick Mahomes’ mega-deal with the Chiefs set the bar sky-high for NFL quarterbacks. The contract extension, signed in 2020, is the largest in sports history, making Mahomes a half-a-billion-dollar man. With his rocket arm and clutch performances, Mahomes has proven to be worth every penny. Mahomes is reportedly pulling down an average of $45 million per year.

With the eye-popping salaries that have been signed within the past year, Mahomes contract seems a like a bargain for Kansas City, and a little weak in comparison to what other players are pulling down now. Even at $477 million, and considering what Mahomes brings to the field, Patrick might be the most underpaid player in the NFL. 

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Money…

Whew! Those are some eye-watering numbers, aren’t they? But remember the adage “It takes money to make money?” The salaries speak volumes about how valuable a top-tier quarterback is in the NFL. 

NFL teams wouldn’t be laying out this kind of cash if it didn’t bring results. These players have not only set records with their paychecks but more so where it counts — on the field. They also make a lot of money off the field, but that’s a whole ‘nother article. 

What can we learn from this? These quarterbacks are proof that when you combine skill, hard work, and a little bit of luck, you can reach great heights, and — as in the above examples — great wealth! Now, that’s what we call a score!