Forbes’ annual list of the highest-paid athletes in the world has been released, and the 2019 money amount is up 5% from last year. With the rise in guaranteed money and contracts in the NFL, it’s no surprise that the most important position in the league has been awarded significantly.
With that in mind, here are the eight highest-paid NFL quarterbacks in 2019.
8. Andrew Luck ($26.9 M)
Just a few years ago, Andrew Luck’s NFL future was in doubt after suffering a mysterious injury in his throwing shoulder. Luck missed the entirety of the 2017 season due to the injury but bounced back in 2018 with a spectacular year. Luck finished the 2018 campaign with 4,593 passing yards, 39 touchdowns, and a career-high 98.7 passer rating while leading the Indianapolis Colts to a playoff berth with a 10-6 record. Luck received the 2018 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award for his stellar play just one year removed from sitting out. In 2016, Luck signed a six-year, $140 million extension with the Colts, which was the richest contract in NFL history at the time. In 2019, Luck brought in a total of $26.9 million, with $24.1 million coming from his salary and $2.8 million from endorsements. Fully healthy and one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL, it’s a good time to be Andrew Luck.
7. Tom Brady ($27 M)
It may be surprising to see arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time so low on the list, but much of the New England Patriots success can be credited for this exact reason. Over the years, Brady has consistently taken pay cuts to help the team use their money in other areas. Already making almost $200 million in his NFL career, money is the least of Brady’s worries. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s married to supermodel Gisele Bundchen, whose individual net worth is estimated to be upwards of $400 million. The six-time Super Bowl Champion is 42-years old and focused on adding to his ring collection before hanging up his cleats. In 2019, Brady racked in a total of $27 million, with $15 million coming from his salary and $12 million coming from endorsements. Although Brady certainly could have made more money throughout his NFL career, I’m sure he’s pretty satisfied with the results on the field from his discounted contracts.
6. Matt Ryan ($29.8 M)
It only took one season for Matty Ice to make a name for himself and become one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. A solid NFL starter throughout his career, Ryan had a spectacular season in 2016, winning MVP honors and bringing the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl, before suffering the largest collapse in Super Bowl history at the hands of the New England Patriots. In May of 2018, Ryan received a five-year, $150 million extension from the Falcons, with a staggering $100 million guaranteed. With this in mind, Ryan received a total of $29.8 million in 2019, with $24.8 million coming from his salary and $5 million from endorsements. A top-tier quarterback in the NFL, it was a no-brainer that the Falcons locked him up in Atlanta for the remainder of his career. Although the team struggled this past season, missing the playoffs and finishing with a 7-9 record, Ryan posted his best statistical season since 2016.
5. Nick Foles ($35.8 M)
What a time to be Nick Foles. When Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL in Week 14 of the 2017 NFL season, Nick Foles came in and saved the day. Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history, earning Super Bowl MVP honors in their, 41-33, victory over the New England Patriots. After Wentz went down with another season-ending injury in 2018, Foles stepped up again and helped lead the Eagles to the playoffs. After beating the Chicago Bears on the road in the NFC Wild Card game, the Eagles fell to the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round. After being the Eagles savior for back-to-back seasons and stepping up twice in the playoffs, Foles received a four-year, $88 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. For the first time since 2015, Foles will be given the reigns as starting quarterback for an NFL franchise. With his new contract on the books, Foles brought in a total of $35.8 million in 2019, with $33.8 million from his contract and $2 million from endorsements. Whether or not Foles thrives as a starter for the Jaguars, his recent success with the Eagles was good enough to make him one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league.
4. Drew Brees ($42.2 M)
One of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, 40-year old Drew Brees has shown no signs of slowing down. After posting yet another spectacular statistical season in 2018, Brees and the New Orleans Saints were just one win away from the Super Bowl, when they were defeated by the Los Angeles Rams in one of the most controversial finishes in NFL history. So controversial, that the NFL adopted a new rule to prevent what unfolded in the NFC Championship. In 2018, Brees signed a two-year, $50 million extension to remain with the Saints. In 2019, Brees received $42.2 million, with $26.4 million coming from his salary and $16 million from endorsements. With Brees under contract for next season and the Saints returning the majority of their team next season, 2019 looks like his best chance at winning a second Lombardi trophy.
3. Ben Roethlisberger ($55.5 M)
After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger came to an agreement on a two-year extension worth $68 million. Although Roethlisberger had a productive season last year statistically, at the age of 37, it’s fair to believe that his career may come to an end once his extension expires in 2021. In 2019, Roethlisberger brought in a total of $55.5 million, with only $1 million coming from endorsements. A two-time Super Bowl Champion, Roethlisberger is a future Hall of Famer and Steelers legend. However, making him the third highest player in the NFL at this stage of his career is a head-scratching move.
2. Aaron Rodgers ($89.3 M)
Since becoming the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback in 2008, Aaron Rodgers has consistently been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The MVP of Super Bowl XLV, Rodgers is a two-time league MVP and holds a variety of league records, including best career and season passer ratings. In 2018, Rodgers signed a four-year, $134 million extension with the Packers with a maximum potential value of $180 million. Over $100 million in the contract was guaranteed and at the time, the deal made Rodgers the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. This contract, alongside the $9 million Rodgers brought in from endorsements, gave Rodgers a total 2019 income of $89.3 million. Although the Packers missed the playoffs last season, Rodgers excelled with arguably the weakest supporting cast he’s had in his career. At 35 years old, Rodgers has shown no signs of slowing down and with Tom Brady still dominating the league at age 42, expect Rodgers to play at a high level for the foreseeable future.
1. Russell Wilson ($89.9 M)
After going back and forth with the Seattle Seahawks in contract talks this offseason, Russell Wilson set an April 16. midnight deadline for Seattle to give him a new deal. Fearing they’d lose their franchise guy, the Seahawks and Wilson struck on a four-year, $140 million extension with $107 million guaranteed, making him the highest paid player in the NFL. Similar to Rodgers, Wilson also received $9 million in endorsements in 2019, bringing his total income to almost $90 million. A consensus top-five quarterback in the league, Wilson is a Super Bowl champion and one of the biggest playmakers the position has ever seen. The past few years, Wilson has thrived on a Seahawks team with one of the worst offensive lines in the league. With the Seahawks committing to Wilson for the next four years, expect them to make moves to improve the talent around him to gear up for another Super Bowl run.
Although Wilson is currently the highest paid player in the NFL, expect this to change in the coming seasons. With contracts and guaranteed money on the rise, expect future free agents like Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, and Deshaun Watson to receive deals that surpass Wilson’s.