Top 10 Highest Paid NFL Players of All-Time

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Have you ever wondered who the top 10 highest paid NFL players of all time are? I know I have. So, I decided to do some research using various tools, like Spotrac and Over the Cap to figure out exactly who the top 10 highest paid NFL players of all time are. These numbers are as accurate as possible and I will round up or down as needed.

#10 Alex Smith, QB – $190 million

Alex Smith has played in the NFL for 16 seasons now. He has never won a Super Bowl, though. Smith has been to 3 Pro Bowls in his career. His highest earnings in one season came at about $40 million dollars in 2018.

Was he worth it?

Not everyone on the top 10 highest paid players of all time list is going to be worth it. I personally don’t think that he was. I mean yeah he had some good seasons. And you have to love the guy. But for the price and what he actually accomplished, I have to go with a no for at 3 teams involved (49ers, Chiefs, and Washington Football Team). As I said, I love the guy, but his stats and lack of much success make it not worth that much money to me.

#9 Matthew Stafford, QB – $227 million

Next on the top 10 highest paid NFL players of all-time list, we have Matthew Stafford. This is a tricky one because he is honestly a good quarterback that was stuck on a terrible team. Stafford is a 12-year pro at this point. His highest single-season earnings were $51 million in 2017. However, he also has no championships and only one Pro Bowl. Personally, I think his production is superior to Alex Smith’s though. I believe he is the better quarterback. Now that he has been traded to the Los Angeles Ram, he may have a chance to prove it. I will say that Stafford will prove that he is worth all this money. Statistically speaking, he already has.

#8 Aaron Rodgers, QB – $241 million

This one comes as no surprise to me. I mean I thought his number would be a bit higher on the top 10 highest paid NFL players of all-time list. But I knew he would be on here. Rodgers just finished his 16th NFL season. He became just the 6th player in NFL history to win the Associated Press award three times (3 MVPs). Aaron Rodgers’ highest earnings came in 2018 at a whopping $67 million. He has put up some amazing numbers in his career. Aaron Rodgers has one Super Bowl, 9 Pro Bowls, and 3 First-team All-Pro selections. There is no doubt in my mind that Aaron Rodgers is worth every penny that he has made in the NFL.

#7. Phillip Rivers, QB – $243 million

This is a tough one. Phillips Rivers just retired from the NFL after 17 seasons. He has no Super Bowl wins. But the man had 8 Pro Bowls in his career. I mean he gave it his all for the Chargers and the Colts more recently. His highest single-season earnings came in 2015 at $32 million. I can’t deny this man’s worth. He was worth every penny. It isn’t his fault that the Chargers just couldn’t get it done. He did have a wonderful single season with the Colts, though. Who knows what would have happened if he didn’t stay with the Chargers all those years…

#6 Matt Ryan, QB – $244 million

Here is another perfect example of a guy that the franchise is to blame for their failures. Matt Ryan put up good numbers consistently through the last 13 seasons. His highest single-season earnings were $45 million in 2019. He has been to 4 Pro Bowls and had one First-team All-Pro selection. Matt Ryan isn’t the best quarterback. And he has had some weapons over the years, especially Jacoby Jones. But the franchise just didn’t get it done, especially on defense. I would say Matt Ryan is worth the money, but the Falcons really dropped the ball.

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#5 Peyton Manning, QB – $249 million

The best QB on the list. Yes, I said it. Manning is the all-time greatest if we are talking about overall ability as a quarterback. Brady has more rings, but he wasn’t a better QB than Manning. Manning played 18 seasons and his highest single-season earnings came in 2004 at $35 million. He won 2 Super Bowls, one with the Colts and one with the Broncos. Manning is actually one of only two QBs to win the Super Bowl with two different teams. The other one is Tom Brady. Peyton Manning went to 14 Pro Bowls, was selected to First-team All-Pro 7 times, and received 5 MVP awards (most all-time). Clearly, Manning was the best to do ever do it at the QB position.

#4 Eli Manning, QB – $252 million

I loved watching Eli win the Super Bowl twice. He deserved it. And it’s amazing to me that the Manning family has 6 Super Bowl appearances and 4 Super Bowl wins. Yeah, they don’t have Tom Brady’s numbers, but it’s still amazing. They are different people in the family and have all had success in the NFL. Eli Manning’s highest single-season earnings came in 2015 at $37 million. He was also selected to 4 Pro Bowls. Eli Manning retired after 16 seasons.

#3 Ben Roethlisberger, QB – $253 million

Big Ben has now played 17 seasons in the NFL. Most people speculate that the 2021 season will be his final season. I think he should have already retired honestly. That’s not a knock on Ben, but the Steelers need to move on. He is no longer playing at a high level. Maybe he is at a high level mentally, but physically he just isn’t. We saw what happened towards the end of the season. Big Ben started throwing terribly.

I think he is worth being paid. I mean he won 2 Super Bowls and went to 6 Pro Bowls. His highest single-season earnings were $35 million in 2015. The thing is, though, it’s been a minute since they won a Super Bowl with Ben. That’s not a knock on Ben because he has still put up solid numbers. But my point is that it is time for the team to start over and move on. I don’t see them winning another with Ben. I don’t think he brings that much confidence to the team anymore

#2 Tom Brady, QB – $263 million

Whether you love him or hate him, Brady has now won 7 Super Bowls. That’s amazing. He has other achievements, too, like 14 Pro Bowls. His highest single-season earnings came in 2016 at $29 million. Brady has been known to take discounts to help the team be able to keep other players. I am sure that helped him be able to win so much. There is no doubt in my mind that Brady was worth it.

#1 Drew Brees, QB – $270 million

And the leader of the top 10 highest paid NFL players of all time is Drew Brees! He’s played 20 seasons now. I am sure he will retire soon, but when exactly is to be determined. Brees has won a Super Bowl and been to his fair share of Pro Bowls (13). I am sure Brady will pass Brees on this list, considering he just signed a 4-year extension with the Buccaneers.


Thanks for reading! Do you think all of these players were worth the money? Let me know your opinion in the comments!

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