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 2020 was Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys put a franchise tag worth 31.4 million U.S. dollars on Prescott in March 2020, securing his salary for the 2020 season. However, Prescott's season was ended prematurely in Week 5 when he suffered a serious injury to his right ankle in a game against the New York Giants.
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 Dak Prescott has the highest base salary in the league, Tom Brady was able to secure the more money in endorsements. The legendary quarterback, who switched from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ahead of the 2020 season, earned 12 million U.S. dollars through bonuses and endorsements with companies such as Under Armour and Aston Martin. Moreover, Drew Brees, the quarterback with the most passing yards in NFL history, earned 14 million U.S. dollars off the field through sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike and Proctor & Gamble.
High and lows of NFL salaries
As with many American professional sports leagues, the NFL has a minimum annual player salary in place. In 2020, this annual salary stood at 610 thousand U.S. dollars, although the stars on every team are in line to earn much more. The Atlanta Falcons had the highest average annual player salary in the 2019/20 season – each of their players took home an average of 4.71 million U.S. dollars. This high wage bill did not exactly translate to success as the Falcons finished the campaign 7-9, marking their second consecutive losing season. The team with the lowest wage bill that season, the Miami Dolphins, did not fare any better – they finished the season 5-11, including a disastrous 0-7 start to the campaign.
Players with the highest salaries in the NFL in 2020
(in million U.S. dollars)
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Spotrac. (October 23, 2020). Players with the highest salaries in the NFL in 2020 (in million U.S. dollars) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved June 29, 2022, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/240098/players-with-the-highest-salary-in-the-national-football-league/
Spotrac. "Players with the highest salaries in the NFL in 2020 (in million U.S. dollars)." Chart. October 23, 2020. Statista. Accessed June 29, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/240098/players-with-the-highest-salary-in-the-national-football-league/
Spotrac. (2020). Players with the highest salaries in the NFL in 2020 (in million U.S. dollars). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: June 29, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/240098/players-with-the-highest-salary-in-the-national-football-league/
Spotrac. "Players with The Highest Salaries in The Nfl in 2020 (in Million U.S. Dollars)." Statista, Statista Inc., 23 Oct 2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/240098/players-with-the-highest-salary-in-the-national-football-league/
Spotrac, Players with the highest salaries in the NFL in 2020 (in million U.S. dollars) Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/240098/players-with-the-highest-salary-in-the-national-football-league/ (last visited June 29, 2022)