Who Are the Highest Paid NFL Players in 2023? The past offseason saw some of the biggest contracts in NFL history signed, leading to some year-over-year changes in the highest-paid NFL players of 2023.
That could lead to some surprises when it comes to the highest NFL salaries right now. After all, the best players don’t always make the most money.
Highest Paid NFL Players 2023
Of course, given the highest-paid NFL players in 2023, teams typically don’t have to worry about using the franchise tag. On the other hand, if those players don’t train, it could result in one of the biggest NFL cap hits of all time.
But let’s put all that aside for a minute and count down the players who will make the most money in the NFL in the 2023 season.
T9. Matthew Stafford, $40 million
The Rams, who gave Matthew Stafford a four-year, $160 million contract extension before last season, could be the perfect example of a team paying a player for past accomplishments rather than future promises. Stafford definitely deserved to be compensated by the Rams for winning the Super Bowl. But even before he got injured last year, he showed he wasn’t a $40 million quarterback anymore.
The Rams were only 3-6 in their games last year. Even the year they won the Super Bowl, Stafford led the league in interceptions. He might have won it all two seasons ago, but the Rams are still paying big money to a turnover-prone quarterback in 2023.
T9. Daniel Jones, $40 million
A year ago it seemed impossible that Daniel Jones would one day rank among the top 10 highest paid NFL players. Honestly, it’s still hard to understand how he can make $40 million a season.
Even though he helped the Giants win a playoff game last year, Jones only had 15 touchdown passes. To his credit, Jones has reduced his turnovers and has become a competent game manager who can make plays with his legs. But that’s not exactly the kind of quarterback that deserves a salary like that.
T9. Dak Prescott, $40 million
If he could just stay healthy, Dak Prescott would probably be worth his $40 million salary. He missed five games last year and only played five games in the 2020 season.
Of course, Prescott still led the NFL with 15 interceptions in 12 games last year. In his defence, Stafford was also unable to play a full season. When he’s at his best, Prescott earns his $40 million salary. But the cowboys know all too well that’s not always the case.
8. Josh Allen, $43 million
With the six-year extension Josh Allen received ahead of the 2021 season, he is expected to make $43 million this year. For a player so easily recruited after high school, that’s probably far more than he ever expected to earn as a professional athlete.
Of course, if Allen can give the Bills a Super Bowl win, people in Buffalo will see his salary as a bargain. His contract runs through the 2028 season, although Allen’s fine performances are making even Bills fans grow impatient.
7. Patrick Mahomes, $45 million
It’s crazy to think that Patrick Mahomes is only the seventh-highest paid player in the NFL this season. He is undoubtedly the best player in the league and is a two-time MVP and two-time Super Bowl winner.
However, Mahomes is the only player on this list who has been given a 10-year contract. The entire contract could ultimately be worth up to $503 million, so the annual salary Mahomes earns isn’t that big of a deal.
6. Deshaun Watson, $46 million
This is probably the year we found out with certainty whether or not Cleveland’s investment in Deshaun Watson was worth it. Recall that the Browns gave up three first-round picks for Watson and then gave him a five-year, $230 million contract.
Though it was surpassed multiple times, it was the largest contract and highest guaranteed money in league history at the time. After being sidelined for a year and a half and struggling with self-inflicted issues off the field, Watson looked like he wasn’t worth $46 million in 2022. The Browns can only hope that changes in 2023 and beyond.
5. Kyler Murray, $46.1 million
It’s safe to say that the Cardinals didn’t get their money’s worth at Kyler Murray last year, and they probably won’t get it again this year. Murray was just 3-8 before being sidelined for the rest of the season with a cruciate ligament tear.
It is now unlikely that he will be able to play a full season in 2023. But after signing a five-year, $230.5 million contract ahead of the 2022 season, Murray is still Arizona’s long-term quarterback, meaning there won’t be any time for him to recover quickly from his injury, especially since the Cardinals are not prepared for success this year, even if Murray were healthy.
4. Russell Wilson, $49 million
He was so bad in 2022 that it’s almost forgotten that Russell Wilson currently has one of the highest NFL salaries. Around this time last year, the Broncos had just signed Wilson to a five-year, $245 million contract, believing he was the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle that could give them another Super Bowl win.
Unfortunately, Wilson’s first season in Denver was a disaster in its first week. The positive thing about his contract is that Wilson has a few more years to turn the tide and get the season behind him. But if that doesn’t happen, it could be one of the worst contracts in professional sports.
3. Aaron Rodgers, $50.27 million
A four-time MVP, Aaron Rodgers is likely to be one of the highest-paid NFL players of 2023. His salary is part of a three-year, $150.8 million deal he signed ahead of the 2022 season.
Like the players before him on this list, Rodgers was once the highest-paid player in league history based on annual income. Of course, it will be the Jets that pay Rodgers in 2023. Because of his new team, salary and track record, Rodgers is arguably under more pressure in 2023 than any other player.
2. Jalen Hurts, $51 million
After a brilliant 2022 season that ended in a Super Bowl entry, the Eagles had no choice but to grant Jalen Hurts a generous extension. Hurts was given a five-year contract valued at $255 million.
At the time, it was the highest annual salary ever paid to an NFL player, although that record didn’t last long. Of course, $51 million is still a lot of money for a player who’s only been in the league for three seasons and was selected in the second round. The Eagles also made Hurts the first player in franchise history to receive a no-trade clause, meaning the Eagles trust him with their future.
1. Lamar Jackson, $52 million
For a while, it looked like Lamar Jackson might not even play for the Ravens in 2023. After Baltimore awarded him the franchise tag, Jackson requested a swap after lengthy negotiations yielded no result.
However, in late April, the two sides finally agreed on the terms, with Jackson earning a five-year, $260 million contract. That means Jackson earns $52 million per season, making him the highest-paid player in league history.
Jackson was fortunate to sign his contract less than two weeks after Hurts signed his new contract, allowing the former MVP to surpass Hurts and earn some extra cash. The only question is how long Jackson will remain the highest-paid player in the NFL.