Each year, millions of Americans tune in to watch the Super Bowl, which has consistently held the record for the most-watched televised event each year. It’s no wonder then that the players who make it all happen earn such killer paychecks. Though many of them escape the celebrity grind, it’s easy to forget that they oftentimes earn way more, which makes their ultimate net worths that much more impressive. From some of the biggest names in the industry to new players who are full of potential, the net worths of the following players will be sure to surprise you for good or for bad.
Aaron Rodgers – $70 Million
When considering the worth of celebrities, it’s easy to forget that the star players of the NFL, both past and present, have some of the highest net worths in the country.
With their health on the line daily, it’s no wonder they earn so much. Rodgers may have had to bide his time before he got a chance to show his talent on the field, but for the past 10 years, his skill has made him one of the highest-paid quarterbacks.
Eli Manning – $100 Million
It can be hard to get out from a talented older brother’s shadow, but with two Super Bowl wins under his belt, Manning has certainly shown that he has the skills to bring home the championship.
Manning has been playing for the NY Giants since he was drafted to the NFL out of college. In addition to his sweet NFL paycheck, Manning has added a considerable amount to his personal wealth by taking on a number of different brand endorsements.
Alex Smith – $55 Million
Alex Smith’s career may have gotten off to a rocky start, but since conquering the many injuries that characterized his early years with the NFL, Smith has gone on to earn distinction as a quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.
By 2015, the only quarterbacks in the NFL to have better winning records than Smith were Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. Since 2017, Smith has been playing for the Washington Red Skins, with whom he’s signed a four-year contract.
Aaron Donald – $40 Million
Aaron Donald may be a relative newcomer to the NFL, having only been drafted for the 2014 season, but in that short amount of time, he’s managed to build up an impressive net worth.
Playing for the formerly St. Louis, now Los Angeles, Rams for the entirety of his career has been a good move for the defensive tackler, as he recently signed a deal with a $40 million sign-on bonus to continue playing with the team for another six years.
Drew Brees – $100 Million
It makes sense that Drew Brees has one of the highest net worths in the NFL. While his name may not be bandied about with the regularity of some other players, Brees has been a consistent presence in the NFL since 2001.
With one of the best records for passing yards in the NFL, it’s no wonder that the New Orleans Saints have held on tight to their star quarterback, especially since he led them to their first Super Bowl his very first year.
Matthew Stafford – $60 Million
When it comes to team sports, there are often times several different metrics one can use to judge the quality of a player. When it comes to Matthew Stafford, however, it’s definitely by the reach of his passes.
He’s had one of the highest records in the NFL for total passing yards, achieving 30,000 passing yards faster than any player had before him. With his 2017 extension deal to stay with the Detroit Lions, Stafford was briefly the highest paid player in the NFL.
Calvin Johnson – $30 Million
Nicknamed “Megatron” by one of his fellow players, Calvin Johnson is a rare talent on the football field. It’s generally true that the bigger a player’s size, the slower they may be, but that’s far from the case when it comes to Johnson.
At a towering 6’5″, Johnson still manages to be faster and more agile than many of his fellow players, which helped to bring him an enormously large contract when he signed an extension with the Detroit Lions in 2012.
Ben Roethlisberger – $70 Million
There’s a lot that makes Ben Roethlisberger stand out from the crowd, and his sheer size is only one of them. While his two Super Bowl rings may not be that out of the ordinary, Roethlisberger holds the record for being the youngest quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl.
Despite being on the losing team at his third Super Bowl appearance, Roethlisberger is still one of the most accomplished quarterbacks ever, having a passing rate of 94.0.
Carson Palmer – $60 Million
Carson Palmer certainly made his mark on pro-football during the 15 years he played in the NFL. Palmer began his career as the Bengal’s quarterback in 2003, but found that he couldn’t achieve the level of success they were looking for, so they traded him to the Oakland Raiders.
He spent only two seasons in California before being traded once more to Arizona. He may not have been the most outstanding player, but Palmer was nothing but dependable until he was injured.
Philip Rivers – $80 Million
There was a chance that Philip Rivers could have been known as the player the Giants didn’t want because they wanted Eli Manning instead.
While he may not have come to the NFL with the legacy of a famous family, Rivers has done well enough as the quarterback of the Chargers, which included leading them to their first playoff game since 1994. His impressive statistics also include the record for having the fourth most consecutive starts in the NFL.
Blake Bortles – $11 Million
Bortles is a relative newcomer when it comes to the quarterback club, but in his three seasons playing pro-football, he’s already earned himself distinction.
In only three years, he managed to help lead his team to their first AFC Championship in nearly 20 years. Though the team lost in the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots, Bortles’ talent has been a welcome addition to the Jacksonville Jaguars, which has already begun to pay off in the form of his latest contract.
Matt Ryan – $50-85 Million
The difference between a net worth of $50 million and $85 million might seem like a drop in the bucket for us plebians, but Matt Ryan’s contested net worth is likely all because of how much potential he still has.
Ryan distinguished himself early in his career, becoming one of the few quarterbacks to start in all 16 games, let alone in his rookie year. Ryan briefly became the highest paid NFL quarterback when he signed an extension in early 2018, before Aaron Rodgers surpassed him a few months later.
Kirk Cousins – $50 Million
When Kirk Cousins was first drafted in 2012, he was quickly overshadowed by his fellow rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III, who became the Washington Redskins’ main starter.
Cousins may have thought his career would take a back seat to RGIII’s, but after a 2015 injury, Cousins was finally given his big break. Cousins may have shown plenty of skill on the field, but when the Redskins refused to acknowledge that in a satisfactory contract, Cousins became a free agent and signed with the Minnesota Vikings.
Andrew Luck – $40 Million
Since his start in 2012, Andrew Luck has been hyped up for his potential as a quarterback, though he hasn’t always managed to follow through.
Despite several missteps on the field, Luck still holds the record for one of the best comebacks in the history of the playoffs, as he brought the Indiana Colts back from behind. It was just his luck that he signed a massive extension deal in 2016 as he took off all of 2017 to heal from surgery.
Cam Newton – $45 Million
Cam Newton’s career started off with a bang, as he racked up incredible records even before he was drafted by the Carolina Panthers.
As a quarterback, he managed to annihilate the previous record held for the number of yards thrown in his first game ever, but his performance has only continued to improve. Newton has shown time and again that he can shatter old records in a number of different areas, from passing yards, touchdowns passes, and even touchdowns of his own.
Von Miller – $24 Million
You might not know how to say his middle name, but when you see Von Miller play, it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Miller is one of the few defenders in the NFL to earn a paycheck nearly as big as his fellow quarterbacks, which is due in part to his excellence on the field.
When the Broncos finally made it to the Super Bowl in 2015, it was Miller’s contribution that helped lead the team to victory and earned Miller the MVP title.
Odell Beckham Jr. – $25 Million
In the years since Odell Beckham Jr. has joined the NFL, he’s easily become one of the most popular players. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also one of the best wide receivers in the league, continuously breaking records for the number of receptions he’s made in an astounding amount of time.
Despite joining the team after the Giants’ past two Super Bowl appearances, Beckham Jr. recently signed a killer extension deal to stay with the team for the next five years.
Demarcus Lawrence – $5 Million
When the Dallas Cowboys realized they needed to bring in a fresh prospect to liven up their lineup, they did everything they could in order to draft Demarcus Lawrence.
He may have begun his professional football career with an injury, but the moment he made it back onto the field, it was clear just how much potential Lawrence really had. In the few seasons he has played, he’s become a clear front-runner as a left defensive end.
Derek Carr – $23.5 Million
Derek Carr is another quarterback in the NFL who seems to have football in his blood, as he’s followed in his older brother’s footsteps by becoming a quarterback.
When he began his professional career with the Oakland Raiders in 2014, Carr thought he’d have to be content playing second fiddle to Matt Schaub, but his opening performances quickly bumped him to the starting roster. Carr cemented his legacy when he signed a $125 million contract extension for five years in 2017.
Joe Montana – $80 Million
One of the most legendary quarterbacks to play for the San Francisco 49ers, Joe Montana had a streak of success that is still often talked about today.
During his active playing years, he helped his team win a total of four Super Bowl titles over the course of a 16-year career. Montana is the only player in history to have been chosen as the Super Bowl MVP on three separate occasions. These days, Montana owns and operates his own wine label in California.
John Elway – $145 Million
It seems the Denver Broncos have been good to John Elway, as he first began his career playing for the team, which only kick-started his impressive accumulation of wealth.
He managed to funnel his career into becoming the owner and general manager of his former team, while also working to build his portfolio through other business ventures, including two self-named restaurants, several car dealerships, and a gig writing a weekly blog post about the NFL for OpenSports.com
Steve Young – $200 Million
If you missed Steve Young during his playing years, you may still be familiar with his voice. His professional career got a rocky start when he was drafted by the struggling team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but his true potential was realized several years later when he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
Playing with Joe Montana during his formative years helped to develop Steve Young into one of the best quarterbacks of his time, a skill he now parlayed into sports commentary.
John Madden – $200 Million
When you think about John Madden, you probably don’t think about his skill as a player as much as you consider either his mega-popular video game franchise or his skill as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders.
With a number of Super Bowl wins under his belt, it makes sense that it was Madden’s name that was chosen for an NFL based video game, which first went into production all the way back in 1989.
Roger Staubach – $600 Million
Roger Staubach is the former player with the single most impressive net worth, even years after he retired. Staubach played with the Dallas Cowboys back in the glory days of the late 1960s, during which time he played in four separate Super Bowls.
He put his NFL money to good use after his retirement, becoming a real estate investor, which would eventually morph into an investment management committee called Jones Lang LaSalle, of which he is the executive chairman.
Jimmy Garoppolo – 25 Million
Jimmy Garoppolo may have begun his professional career as the number two behind Tom Brady on the New England Patriots, but it quickly became clear that his talent was being wasted, even though he’s already participated in two winning Super Bowls.
So, in 2017, he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers, which has really given him a chance to shine, earning him distinction for having a 7-0 starting record, which hasn’t been done since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.
Jerry Richardson – $2 Billion
Although named the Baltimore Colts’ Rookie of the Year in 1959, Jerry Richardson’s two years in the NFL are overshadowed by years of performances by others on the list. On the other hand, his net worth far overshadows all others featured here.
After he won the 1959 NFL Championship game, where he caught a pass from legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas, he invested in his own Hardee’s franchise. This expanded quickly, and he made a living running companies. He later founded the Carolina Panthers, which he sold this year.
Sam Bradford – $70 Million
Sam Bradford has missed the equivalent of three full seasons from a slew of injuries over the years. In addition, he has never led his team to the playoffs. Did this stop him from making fat stacks of cash? Nope.
Does he deserve the money? On one hand, his passer rating is extremely high, but on the other hand, he never seems to finish a season. If you’re also prone to injury, be like Bradford and get rich while you’re at it.
Jerry Rice – $55 Million
If you think Jerry Rice is the greatest wide receiver who ever played the game, you’re far from the only one. Indeed, he’s often ranked as the greatest player who ever played the game, period.
He holds pretty much all the major records for a wide receiver, has won three Superbowls with the San Fransisco 49ers, and was selected to 13 Pro Bowls. In addition to making his money with the 49ers, he also made money playing for the Seattle Seahawks, the Oakland Raiders, and the Denver Broncos.
Michael Strahan – $65 Million
The former defensive end for the New York Giants is one of the best defensive players who ever played. He set a record in 2001 for most sacks in a single season, which he still holds.
The Giants shut down the undefeated Patriots at the Superbowl in 2007 and he won his ring before retiring. Since then, he has been on Fox NFL Sunday and Good Morning America, which is really no surprise. Look at how charming he looks with that multi-million dollar smile!
Kurt Warner – $30 Million
Kurt Warner’s story is widely considered to be among the best in the NFL. Passed over by NFL teams at the start of his career, he played so well in lesser leagues that he was eventually picked up by the St. Louis Rams.
It was there that he broke through as part of “the greatest show on turf.” With the Rams, he won one Superbowl and lost another. Later in his career, he led the Arizona Cardinals to another Superbowl, which they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Brett Favre – $100 Million
One of the most legendary players of the modern era, Brett Favre’s career has been set apart not only by the sheer number of records he set throughout his playing years, but also due to the incredible length of his professional career.
Favre spent the majority of his two decades playing and winning for the Green Bay Packers, but in his final few years before his ultimate retirement, Favre also played with the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings.
Tom Brady – $180 Million
Whether or not you believe that Tom Brady is the greatest player in the NFL or a cheater who just managed to scour away the evidence, he still has an impressive net worth.
Though he was underestimated in the early days of his career, his win at the Super Bowl in his second year helped to cement him as the face of the modern-day New England Patriots. In addition to his NFL salary, Brady has boosted his net worth with celebrity endorsements. In 2008, it was reported that Brady purchased a $50 million Gulfstream private jet.
Khalil Mack – $9.6 Million
From the beginning of his career with the Oakland Raiders, Khalil Mack has shown more than just potential. In only a couple of years, he’s racked up numerous accolades for his skill in not one, but two different positions – defensive end and outside linebacker.
While Mack’s net worth might not seem to compare to those of famous quarterbacks, with his recent $141 extension deal, he’s become the highest paid defensive player in the entire history of the NFL.
Jay Cutler – $50 Million
After 12 years of professional play, Jay Cutler was ready to hang up his uniform once and for all. His plans went awry when he came out of retirement only a year later, which has brought Cutler’s talents to his third NFL team.
After beginning his career with the Denver Broncos, Cutler spent the bulk of his career playing for the Chicago Bears. He spent last year with the Miami Dolphins, a deal which earned him the sweet sum of a $10 million salary.
Peyton Manning – $200 Million
With one of the longest football careers on record, it’s no wonder Peyton Manning has one of the highest net worths of any NFL player.
Manning played in the most consecutive seasons of any player in history, which also included several Super Bowl wins. He’s the only player to have ever won on two separate teams with two separate coaches, and the oldest quarterback to win a Supr Bowl. Even so, it’s Manning’s work doing endorsements that have really earned him the big bucks.