A new NFL season is underway and already, fans across the country are getting new reasons to gripe about why this or that big-name player isn’t doing enough to warrant the massive contract they signed in the offseason. One could argue that it’s a little unfair lamenting how much someone gets paid to face down a 275-pound man who can run 40 yards in under 4.5 seconds from a dead stop and is getting paid millions to hit you as hard as he possibly can — especially when you’re doing it from your armchair with a cold beer and hot cheese dip. But that hasn’t stopped generations of football fans in years past, so why should it now?
When looking at any ranking of the highest paid players in the NFL, however, it’s worth noting that the huge numbers you read about at the onset are very different from the actual money those players will end up seeing. That’s because, unlike the other major North American sports, NFL contracts are not guaranteed. Teams can frequently just cut players if they fall victim to injuries, age or just not being as good as they were, making the “guaranteed money” in those contracts all the more important.
Here’s a closer look at who the highest-paid player is on every NFL team, how much of that money they can actually be sure they’ll see in the end, and other football facts you can impress your friends with this season.