Highest paid players in the National Football League 2018

Players with the highest salaries* in the NFL in 2018 (in million U.S. dollars)

by Christina Gough, last edited May 29, 2019
Highest paid players in the National Football League 2018 The National Football League is one of the most lucrative leagues in the world, with big sponsorship deals and high TV ratings to match. The players within the NFL are compensated handsomely for being part of one of the biggest leagues in the world. The highest paid player in the NFL in 2018 was Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers. The 27-year old quarterback signed a new five-year deal with the San Francisco outfit in February 2018 which is worth 37 million U.S. dollars a year. At the time of signing, this represented the biggest salary on an annual basis in NFL history.
Quarterbacks earn the big bucks

The quarterback is widely considered the most important role in football given that the player is the middle of almost all possession on the offensive end and is the main decision-maker on the pitch. With such a decisive role, it is no wonder that quarterbacks dominate the list of highest paid players in the NFL. Although Jimmy Garoppolo has the highest base salary in the league, Aaron Rodgers comes out on top with his combined income of over 75 million U.S. dollars through bonuses and endorsements. The highest non-quarterback on the list is Khalil Mack – the outside linebacker for the Chicago Bears earned almost 42 million U.S. dollars in 2018. While these players undoubtedly provide both joy and agony to millions of fans across the country, many people feel that the athletes are overpaid. A 2017 survey showed that 44 percent of respondents felt that NFL players were highly overpaid, while only one percent believed they were highly underpaid.

High and lows of NFL salaries

As with many American professional sports leagues, the NFL has a minimum annual player salary in place. In 2019, this annual salary stood at 495 thousand U.S. dollars, although the stars on every team are in line to earn much more. The Jacksonville Jaguars had the highest average annual player salary in the 2018/19 season – each of their players took home an average of 3.34 million U.S. dollars. This high wage bill did not exactly translate to success as the Jaguars finished the campaign 5-11, earning last place in the AFC South. The team with the lowest wage bill that season, the Seattle Seahawks, fared much better – they finished the season 10-6, but narrowly lost out to the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card Playoffs.
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Players with the highest salaries* in the NFL in 2018 (in million U.S. dollars)

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Salary in million U.S. dollars
Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco 49ers)37
Matthew Stafford (Detriot Lions)26.5
Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders)25
Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens)24.75
Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)24.4
Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)24
Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings)24
Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)23.79
Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)23.2
Eli Manning (New York Giants)22.2
Salary in million U.S. dollars
Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco 49ers)37
Matthew Stafford (Detriot Lions)26.5
Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders)25
Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens)24.75
Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)24.4
Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)24
Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings)24
Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)23.79
Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)23.2
Eli Manning (New York Giants)22.2
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by Christina Gough, last edited May 29, 2019
The National Football League is one of the most lucrative leagues in the world, with big sponsorship deals and high TV ratings to match. The players within the NFL are compensated handsomely for being part of one of the biggest leagues in the world. The highest paid player in the NFL in 2018 was Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers. The 27-year old quarterback signed a new five-year deal with the San Francisco outfit in February 2018 which is worth 37 million U.S. dollars a year. At the time of signing, this represented the biggest salary on an annual basis in NFL history.
Quarterbacks earn the big bucks

The quarterback is widely considered the most important role in football given that the player is the middle of almost all possession on the offensive end and is the main decision-maker on the pitch. With such a decisive role, it is no wonder that quarterbacks dominate the list of highest paid players in the NFL. Although Jimmy Garoppolo has the highest base salary in the league, Aaron Rodgers comes out on top with his combined income of over 75 million U.S. dollars through bonuses and endorsements. The highest non-quarterback on the list is Khalil Mack – the outside linebacker for the Chicago Bears earned almost 42 million U.S. dollars in 2018. While these players undoubtedly provide both joy and agony to millions of fans across the country, many people feel that the athletes are overpaid. A 2017 survey showed that 44 percent of respondents felt that NFL players were highly overpaid, while only one percent believed they were highly underpaid.

High and lows of NFL salaries

As with many American professional sports leagues, the NFL has a minimum annual player salary in place. In 2019, this annual salary stood at 495 thousand U.S. dollars, although the stars on every team are in line to earn much more. The Jacksonville Jaguars had the highest average annual player salary in the 2018/19 season – each of their players took home an average of 3.34 million U.S. dollars. This high wage bill did not exactly translate to success as the Jaguars finished the campaign 5-11, earning last place in the AFC South. The team with the lowest wage bill that season, the Seattle Seahawks, fared much better – they finished the season 10-6, but narrowly lost out to the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card Playoffs.
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