The 30 highest-paid players in the NFL

On the eve of the regular season there is talk of the New England Patriots going 19-0, the New York Jets tanking, Kirk Cousins in unprecedented territory with his contract, and Harry Kane pondering a future in American football.

The NFL is back!

In the NFL, the standard for large contracts is to forgo long-term security in exchange for huge signing bonuses up front. As a result, many of the players who will earn the most money this year signed new contracts since the end of the 2016 season.

The players who will make the most money this year include ten quarterbacks, four cornerbacks, and no Mannings. 

Here are the 30 players who will make at least $16.7 million this season.

31 PHOTOS
The 30 highest-paid players in the NFL
See Gallery
The 30 highest-paid players in the NFL

30. Trumaine Johnson — $16,742,400

Team: Los Angeles Rams

Position: Cornerback

2016 earnings breakdown: $16,742,400million salary

One thing to know: Johnson, a third-round pick in 2012, is in his sixth NFL season and his second straight season under the NFL's franchise tag. The Rams will need to work out a long-term deal with Johnson soon or they risk losing him for nothing. They could use the franchise tag again in 2018, but it would come with a salary of $24.1 million.

(Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

29. Corey Davis — $17,073,864

Team: Tennessee Titans

Position: Wide Receiver

2016 earnings breakdown: $465,000 salary, $16.6 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Davis is the first of five rookies on this year's list. The fifth pick in the draft received 65% of his four-year, $25.4 million contract before he ever played a down in the NFL.

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

28. Riley Reiff — $17,300,000

Team: Minnesota Vikings

Position: Left Tackle

2016 earnings breakdown: $6.2 million salary, $11.0 million signing bonus, and $100,000 in other bonuses.

One thing to know: Reiff signed with the Vikings this offseason after five years with the Detroit Lions. Reiff is part of a $90 million overhaul of the Vikings' offensive tackles. In addition to his $59 million contract, the Vikings also gave a $30 million contract to Mike Remmers to be the right tackle.

(Photo by Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

t26. Carson Palmer — $17,500,000

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $15.5 million salary, $2.0 million roster bonus

One thing to know: Palmer's $24.1 million salary-cap hit is second in the NFL, behind only Joe Flacco ($24.6 million). That number drops to $20.6 million in 2018, however, Palmer can opt out of his contract and become a free agent.

(Photo by Frank Mattia/ZUMA Press/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

t26. Ricky Wagner — $17,500,000

Team: Detroit Lions

Position: Right Tackle

2016 earnings breakdown: $3.0 million salary, $14.5 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Wagner signed with the Lions as a free agent. His $9 million average annual salary is considered the new standard for right tackles as it seemingly narrows the gap with what their left-side counterparts have been receiving in free agency.

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

t23. Sam Bradford — $18,000,000

Team: Minnesota Vikings

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $14.0 million salary, $4.0 million roster bonus

One thing to know: Bradford's career earnings will surpass $114 million by the end of the year, thanks to being the last No. 1 pick before the NFL started curbing the size of rookie contracts. The 29-year-old will be a free agent after the season and will be set to add to that already sizeable sum.

(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

t23. Ryan Tannehill — $18,000,000

Team: Miami Dolphins

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $18.0 million salary

One thing to know: Tannehill is in the third year of his 4-year, $77 million extension signed prior to the 2015 season. The deal was always a bit of a head-scratcher, but now it looks even worse as Tannehill is out for the year with a knee injury. To make matters worse, this was the first year of the deal in which Tannehill started to get expensive, with a salary of $18.0 million and a $20.3 million cap hit, fifth among all quarterbacks and sixth-highest in the NFL.

(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

t23. Kevin Zeitler — $18,000,000

Team: Cleveland Browns

Position: Guard

2016 earnings breakdown: $6.0 million salary, $12.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Zeitler is now the highest-paid guard in NFL history.

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

22. Leonard Fournette — $18,351,067

Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Position: Running Back

2016 earnings breakdown: $465,000 salary, $17.9 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Fournette was the fourth pick in this year's draft and has already made eyebrow-raising headlines when he called the NFL slower than he imagined and "really easy."

(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

21. Solomon Thomas — $19,080,903

Team: San Francisco 49ers

Position: Defensive End

2016 earnings breakdown: $465,000 salary, $18.6 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Thomas missed most of the offseason workouts because of league rules that forbid participation until a rookie's school has finished their academic calendar (Stanford's school year goes until mid-June). He later missed training camp reporting date and the first day of practices because he had yet to sign his rookie deal. However, any fear of a lengthy holdout were quickly wiped away when he reported shortly after the start of the first practice.

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

20. Mitchell Trubisky — $19,719,490

Team: Chicago Bears

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $465,000 salary, $19.3 million signing bonus

One thing to know: The Bears paid a hefty price to move up one spot and draft Trubisky. He has looked good at times in the preseason, but for now he is still behind Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez on the depth chart.

(Photo by Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

19. Antonio Brown — $19,910,000

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Position: Wide Receiver

2016 earnings breakdown: $910,000 salary, $19.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Brown has averaged 126 catches, 1,639 yards, and 12 touchdowns per 16 games over the last three seasons.

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

18. Ndamukong Suh — $20,000,000

Team: Miami Dolphins

Position: Defensive Tackle

2016 earnings breakdown: $10.0 million salary, $10.0 million restructure bonus

One thing to know: Suh is now in the third year of his monster 6-year, $114.4 million contract with the Dolphins. Suh has a cap hit of $19.1 million this year, but that jumps to $26.1 million next season. If he continues to be productive, the Dolphins will need to rework the deal. However, if he starts to falter, he could be looking for a new team next season.

(Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

17. Xavier Rhodes — $20,026,000

Team: Minnesota Vikings

Position: Cornerback

2016 earnings breakdown: $8.0 million salary, $12.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Rhodes made his first Pro Bowl this past season and the Vikings rewarded him with a six-year, $78 million extension, second only to Josh Norman among cornerbacks.

(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

16. Myles Garrett — $20,723,004

Team: Cleveland Browns

Position: Defensive End

2016 earnings breakdown: $465,000 salary, $20.3 million signing bonus

One thing to know: As the top pick in the draft, Garrett signed a standard 4-year deal worth $30.4 million. That's good, but it is still a far cry from the $78 million contract signed by Sam Bradford as the top pick of the 2010 NFL Draft under the old CBA rules.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

15. Nick Perry — $20,725,000

Team: Green Bay Packers

Position: Outside Linebacker

2016 earnings breakdown: $1.3 million salary, $18.5 million signing bonus, $925,000 in other bonuses.

One thing to know: Aaron Rodgers will make $13.7 million this season.

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

t13. Joe Flacco — $21,000,000

Team: Baltimore Ravens

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $6.0 million salary, $15.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Flacco's contract is still elite. He is under contract until 2021 and if he reaches the end of the deal without restructuring, his career earnings will top $210 million. Only one player in NFL history has made more — Peyton Manning ($249 million)

(Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

t13. Eric Berry — $21,000,000

Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Position: Free Safety

2016 earnings breakdown: $900,000 salary, $20.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Berry is considered one of the top coverage safeties in the NFL, especially against tight ends, a talent that is highly coveted.

(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

12. Chandler Jones — $22,000,000

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Position: Outside Linebacker

2016 earnings breakdown: $7.0 million salary, $15.0 million signing bonus

One thing to knowJones plans to be more of a vocal leader on the Cardinals' defense after signing his new 5-year, $83 million contract.

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

11. Jason Pierre-Paul — $22,250,000

Team: New York Giants

Position: Defensive End

2016 earnings breakdown: $1.3 million salary, $20.0 million signing bonus, $1.0 million in other bonuses.

One thing to know: Pierre-Paul's new 4-year, $62 million contract is one of the NFL's more incredible redemption stories considering it was not long ago that he had lost multiple fingers on one hand because of a fireworks accident that left his career in jeopardy. 

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

10. Melvin Ingram — $22,750,000

Team: Los Angeles Chargers

Position: Defensive end

2016 earnings breakdown: $5.0 million salary, $10.5 million signing bonus, and a $7.25 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: Ingram's new 4-year, $64 million contract is excellent for a linebacker, but it could end up being a steal for the Chargers if he transitions well to his new position as a defensive end where salaries tend to be higher.

(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

9. Stephon Gilmore — $22,968,750

Team: New England Patriots

Position: Cornerback

2016 earnings breakdown: $4.5 million salary, $18.0 million signing bonus, and $470,000 roster bonus.

One thing to know: Gilmore signed a 5-year, $65 million free-agent contract with the Pats after spending his first five seasons with the Bills. The Pats can opt out of the deal after the second year and $32 million. 

(Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

8. Cam Newton — $23,666,666

Team: Carolina Panthers

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $13.2 million salary, $10.0 million signing bonus, and a $500,000 workout bonus.

One thing to know: Newton is in the midst of a monster $103 million contract, however, he has been a relative bargain for the Panthers considering he was the first No. 1 pick drafted under the stricter rookie contract rules and his extension came before Andrew Luck's position-defining $140 million deal. 

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

7. Kirk Cousins — $23,943,600

Team: Washington Redskins

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $23.9 million salary

One thing to know: Cousins is playing his second straight season under the franchise tag. Things will get really interesting after the season. A third year of the franchise tag would mean a guaranteed salary of $34.5 million. A transition tag would come with a somewhat more tolerable $28.9 million salary, but also opens the door to Cousins signing a contract with another team as a restricted free agent. The Redskins would then be forced to match the offer or let Cousins go without receiving anything in return.

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

t5. Josh Norman — $24,000,000

Team: Washington Redskins

Position: Cornerback

2016 earnings breakdown: $16.5 million salary, $7.0 million signing bonus, and a $500,000 roster bonus.

One thing to know: Norman's $20 million roster hit this season is the second-highest for any non-quarterback in the NFL, trailing only Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

t5. DeAndre Hopkins — $24,000,000

Team: Houston Texans

Position: Wide Receiver

2016 earnings breakdown: $8.0 million salary, $7.5 million signing bonus, and $8.5 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: Hopkins recently signed an $81 million extension making him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL in terms of total value and total guaranteed ($49 million).

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

4. Derek Carr — $25,175,000

Team: Oakland Raiders

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $5.0 million salary, $12.5 million signing bonus, and $7.7 million in other bonuses.

One thing to know: At one point this summer, Carr was briefly the highest-paid player in the NFL based on average annual salary, signing a new 5-year, $125 million contract worth $25 million per year. Carr celebrated by going to Chick-fil-A.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

3. Kawann Short — $26,000,000

Team: Carolina Panthers

Position: Defensive Tackle

2016 earnings breakdown: $6.0 million salary, $20.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: The Panthers rewarded Short this offseason with a five-year, $80.5 million extension. While much of his ranking this year is based on his $20 million signing bonus, he is still the third-highest-paid defensive tackle based on average annual salary, trailing only Ndamukong Suh and Fletcher Cox.

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

2. Andrew Luck — $27,000,000

Team: Indianapolis Colts

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $7.0 million salary, $14.0 million signing bonus, and a $6.0 million roster bonus.

One thing to know: The Colts are being extremely careful with Luck this season. Luck is coming back from offseason shoulder surgery and despite returning to practice a week before the regular season, he won't play in Week 1.

(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

1. Matthew Stafford — $51,000,000

Team: Detroit Lions

Position: Quarterback

2016 earnings breakdown: $1.0 million salary, $50.0 million signing bonus

One thing to know: Stafford agreed to a new five-year, $135 million contract this offseason, with a whopping $50 million signing bonus. The $27 million average annual salary is tops in the NFL, surpassing the $25 million-per-year average for Derek Carr.

(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Now check out all the new uniforms in college football this season.

Notre Dame and Under Armour

Here are all the crazy new college football uniforms teams are wearing this season

See Also:

 

 

Read Full Story

Can't get enough business news?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from retailer news to the latest IPOs delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.