Highest paid players in the National Football League 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 2019 was Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions. The 31-year old quarterback signed a new five-year deal with the Detroit outfit in 2017 worth a total of 135 million U.S. dollars, earning him almost 30 million U.S. dollars in 2019 alone.

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 Matthew Stafford has the highest base salary in the league, Russell Wilson came out on top in 2019 with his combined income of 79 million U.S. dollars through bonuses and endorsements. The highest non-quarterback on the list is DeMarcus Lawrence – the defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys earned more than 32 million U.S. dollars in 2019. 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.

Players with the highest salaries* in the NFL in 2019

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Release date

September 2019


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Total cash

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Statistics on "National Football League"

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