Athletes, in general, are considered to be among the highest earners in the human race today, but NFL players are particularly blessed among athletes in terms of the bacon they bring home every year. Since back in 1920, the NFL has been the gold standard for all American football players.
While there’s lots of drama in the NFL, one thing you cannot accuse the association of is having underpaid players on its teams. Valuable players make the NFL lots of money, so the NFL rewards them accordingly. Let’s take a look at the top ten best-paid players in all NFL history to give you an idea of what it’s like to live in an elite athlete’s world.
10. Alex Smith
Total Salary: $189,725,000
Alex Smith is one of the top ten best-paid NFL players in all of NFL history, and that’s saying something! He got his start as a football player when he played college ball in Utah. Smith was no slouch even so early in his career; he received his first-team All-American honors and helped win the 2005 Fiesta Bowl to boot. Though he is now retired, he played a full 16 seasons as a member of the NFL.
9. Philip Rivers
Total Salary: $243,944,322
Another quarterback on our list, Philip Rivers, played with the NFL for 17 seasons. His career kicked off when he played college football for NC State and directly after when he was chosen fourth in the NFL draft by the New York Giants in 2004. The Giants traded him to the San Diego Chargers, and Rivers found a home that would last him 16 of his 17 NFL seasons. His final season was with the Indianapolis Colts.
8. Matthew Stafford
Total Salary: $246,506,037
It’s true; the NFL loves their quarterbacks! Matthew Stafford is one of the speediest players in football, coming up third in the all-time passing yards per game record and being named THE fastest NFL player ever to reach a total of 40,000 passing yards. The Georgia Bulldogs were his college team, which fed directly into the Detroit Lions in 2009 for this skilled player.
7. Peyton Manning
Total Salary: $248,731,000
This next player on the list is widely considered to be one of the best quarterbacks of all time, as well as one of the NFL’s most recognizable players. Peyton Manning graced the NFL with his presence for a total of 18 seasons, 14 of which were spent with the Indianapolis Colts and 4 of which were spent with the Denver Broncos. Manning is part of a football dynasty; he is the second son of Archie Manning (quarterback) and the older brother of Eli Manning (also quarterback).
6. Eli Manning
Total Salary: $252,280,004
Remember that football dynasty we talked about? Well, baby brother Eli Manning is here to swoop into the number 6 slot above big brother Peyton. Elisha Manning played college ball at the University of Mississippi, just like his famous father. Manning quarterbacked for the New York Giants and has two Superbowl wins under his belt. Both times he was awarded the honor of being the MVP.
5. Aaron Rodgers
Total Salary: $263,308,010
2005 was Aaron Rodgers’ lucky year, as the Green Bay Packers picked him in the first round of the NFL draft. Truthfully though, luck had nothing to do with it. Then this talented Butte College and UC Berkeley player quarterbacked for the Bears, where he set a number of career records, and then moved onto the Packers, where it only took him three years to become starting quarterback.
4. Matt Ryan
Total Salary: $267,007,749
Matty Ice, as he’s known on the field, is number four on our list of best-paid players. He got his start as a football player at Boston College, where he led his team to three major bowl victories and came to hold the third-best passing yards record in the school’s history and was soon snapped up by the Indiana Falcons. Later in his career, he went on to play for the Indianapolis Colts.
3. Ben Roethlisberger
Total Salary: $267,286,864
Roethlisberger played a full 18 seasons in the NFL, all of which he played with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers knew a good thing when they saw it back in 2004 and selected Roethlisberger in the first round of the NFL draft as he left Miami University. No slouch in terms of awards, Roethlisberger was named the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year his first year and became the youngest Super Bowl-winning quarterback the NFL had ever seen.
2. Drew Brees
Total Salary: $269,710,422
The NFL got to call Drew Brees their own for a whopping 20 seasons. Brees took the game by storm while he was still on the field; he beat the record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass that was previously held by Johnny Unitas for 52 years and is currently second in career pass completions, career passing yards, and career touchdown passes. He spent most of his career playing for the New Orleans Saints.
1. Tom Brady
Total Salary: $291,087,392
Topping our list of best-paid NFL players in history is, to absolutely no one’s surprise, Tom Brady. Tom Brady is not only the best-paid player in history, but he is also the oldest ever MVP (age 40), oldest Super Bowl MVP (ag 43), and oldest selected QB for the Pro Bowl (age 44). The man is a living legend.
So that’s our list! Did your favorite player make it?