NFL's highest-paid quarterbacks by 2022 salary, guaranteed money and total contract value

The NFL’s quarterback market has exploded over the last decade, and with good reason. Quarterback is the most important position in the league and no team wants to get stuck with spotty play from its signal-caller.

It used to be rare to see an NFL team giving out a $100 million contract. That is now beyond standard fare for quarterbacks, as most veterans across the league expect to sign nine-figure deals when it’s time for an extension. That rise is partially related to an increase in overall league revenue, but it is more about the fear of losing a top-tier QB.

The NFL quarterback market has shown no signs of slowing down, either. Each year, new deals seem to one-up the last crop of extensions. Some megadeals, such as the one belonging to Patrick Mahomes, will be tough to beat, but NFL teams still find a way to compete with that top-tier contract.

The 10 highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL have contracts totaling more than $2 billion combined. Sporting News takes an in-depth look at the league’s highest-earning quarterbacks for 2022 and how much they are making in terms of average annual value, guarantees and overall money.

(All salary numbers are via unless otherwise specified).

Which NFL quarterback has the highest salary?

Before we answer that question, let’s first establish that the best way to compare salaries in the NFL is by using a contract’s average annual value. That’s the most accurate measure of a player’s worth even if not all of the money in the deal is guaranteed.

The Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes had the highest average salary entering the 2022 offseason at $45 million per year, but he has since been overtaken by four quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson.

Rodgers signed an extension where he is set to make an average of just under $50.3 million per year on his new three-year contract. Wilson agreed to a five-year deal with the Broncos’ new ownership group on eve of the season. The deal will tether him to Denver for seven years.

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Kyler Murray agreed to a long-term deal with the Cardinals after months of speculation about drama brewing between him and the Cardinals leadership. And, of course, Deshaun Watson will make $46 million in average annual value following his trade to the Cleveland Browns. His entire deal is fully guaranteed.

Each of the NFL’s top 10 quarterbacks in terms of average annual value is making at least $35 million per year. Eight players — Wilson, Murray, Watson, Mahomes, Josh Allen, Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford and Dak Prescott — are making at least $40 million per year. Rodgers is the only player making $50 million per season while Kirk Cousins is the only top-10 quarterback making less than $40 million.

NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks

Rank Player AAV 1 Aaron Rodgers $50.3 million 2 Russell Wilson $49 million 3 Kyler Murray $46.1 million 4 Deshaun Watson $46 million 5 Patrick Mahomes $45 million 6 Josh Allen $43 million 7 Derek Carr $40.5 million T-8 Dak Prescott $40 milllion T-8 Matthew Stafford $40 million 10 Kirk Cousins $35 million

MORE: NFL’s 25 highest-paid players for the 2022 NFL season

Which NFL quarterback makes the most guaranteed money?

Deshaun Watson is now the highest-paid NFL quarterback in terms of guaranteed money. Watson’s new deal with Cleveland will amount to $230 million guaranteed.

He beat out Aaron Rodgers by a staggering $80 million after the Packers’ QB signed a contract with $150.6 million in guarantees over his new three-year deal earlier this week.

Josh Allen set the record prior to Rodgers and Watson with his six-year, $258 million extension before the start of the 2021 preseason. Less than a year later, he already has dropped to fifth place in terms of total guaranteed money.

Since Watson’s deal, two more quarterbacks have passed Rodgers and Allen on the guaranteed money list. They are Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson.

While NFL teams have been more willing to give quarterbacks guaranteed money on long-term deals, still no player aside from Watson has cracked $200 million on a guaranteed deal. His fully guaranteed contract will continue to stand as an anomaly.

Eleven NFL quarterbacks are making at least $100 million in guaranteed money. The only one not to crack the top 10 is Matt Ryan, who will make nine figures on the nose at $100,000,000.

NFL quarterback contracts with the most guaranteed money

Rank Player Guarantees 1 Deshaun Watson $230 million 2 Kyler Murray $189.5 million 3 Russell Wilson $165 million 4 Aaron Rodgers $150.8 million 5 Josh Allen $150 million 6 Patrick Mahomes $141.5 million 7 Matthew Stafford $130 million 8 Dak Prescott $126 million 9 Jared Goff $110 million 10 Carson Wentz $108 million

Which NFL quarterback has the largest overall contract?

This is one spot where Patrick Mahomes will continue to remain supreme for quite a long time.

Mahomes’ contract is the largest among not only NFL quarterbacks, but also all NFL players. He agreed to a 10-year deal with the Chiefs that is worth $450 million. It dwarfs the NFL’s second-largest contract, which belongs to Josh Allen, by nearly $200 million.

Mahomes and Allen were the only quarterbacks in the $200 million club before the 2022 NFL offseason. They have since been joined by Deshaun Watson ($230 million), Kyler Murray ($230.5 million) and Russell Wilson ($245 million).

Aaron Rodgers was expected to have a chance to join that quintet in the $200 million range. However, he opted for a shorter, three-year deal that totals about $150.8 million.

Fourteen NFL quarterbacks are signed to deals worth more than $100 million, per Most of the others are on rookie-scale deals or possess high backup price tags. The middle class for quarterbacks is largely gone; there are no quarterbacks being paid between $37 million and $117 million in total contract value.

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Rank Player Value 1 Patrick Mahomes $450 million 2 Josh Allen $258 million 3 Russell Wilson $245 million 4 Kyler Murray $230.5 million 5 Deshaun Watson $230 million T-6 Dak Prescott $160 million T-6 Matthew Stafford $160 million 8 Aaron Rodgers $150.8 million 9 Matt Ryan $150 million 10 Jared Goff $134 million

Which NFL quarterback has the highest career earnings?

Tom Brady used to stand alone as the NFL’s all-time leader in career earnings. However, even despite coming out of retirement, Aaron Rodgers has passed him by just under $3 million for the top spot on the list.

Rodgers and Brady are currently the highest earners in NFL history, but that isn’t likely to last long. Mattew Stafford, 34, and Matt Ryan, 37, are right on their tails. Those two quarterbacks could jump over the two veterans considering that they are a bit younger than Brady, 45, and Rodgers, 38.

Both Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen are on massive extensions that will allow them to jump into the top 10 career earners with ease. Mahomes projects to be No. 1 in terms of career earnings by 2028 while Allen will be No. 5 overall. Deshaun Watson will also crack the top 10 after agreeing to a deal worth $230 million in guarantees with the Browns.

(Career earnings figures via

Rank Player Career earnings 1 Aaron Rodgers $305,492,206 2 Tom Brady $302,619,794 3 Matthew Stafford $299,000,000 4 Drew Brees $273,933,000 5 Matt Ryan $269,500,000 6 Ben Roethlisberger $266,724,382 7 Peyton Manning $247,714,000 8 Philip Rivers $242,150,000 9 Eli Manning $232,490,000 10 Alex Smith $210,000,000

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