Forbes released its annual list of the NFL’s highest-paid players on Friday, and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott led the way with a whopping $87 million in earnings for 2021.
Prescott beat out the likes of Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady and Kansas City Chiefs signal-caller Patrick Mahomes for the top spot. That was largely thanks to the $66 million signing bonus Prescott received for the massive, multi-year contract extension he signed this past offseason.
Here’s a look at the list of top 10 highest-paid NFL players from Forbes‘ list, including how their on- and off-field earnings compare:
|Rank||Player||On-Field Earnings||Off-Field Earnings||Total Earnings (2021)|
|1||Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys||$75 million||$12 million||$87 million|
|2||Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers||$27.5 million||$45 million||$72.5 million|
|3||Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs||$22.8 million||$22 million||$44.8 million|
|4||Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers||$22.4 million||$11 million||$33.4 million|
|5||Trent Williams, OT, San Francisco 49ers||$32.3 million||$1 million||$33.3 million|
|6||Jonathan Allen, DL, |
Washington Football Team
|$31.1 million||$100,000||$31.2 million|
|7||Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks||$19 million||$12 million||$31 million|
|8||Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars||$24.8 million||$6 million||$30.8 million|
|9||Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions||$25.7 million||$2 million||$27.7 million|
|10||Leonard Williams, DL, New York Giants||$26 million||$200,000||$26.2 million|
Prescott may not be quite on the level of the first four field generals beneath him on this prestigious top 10, but he’s darn close. If he can successfully come off last year’s season-ending ankle injury and put up massive numbers, Prescott’s endorsement potential will only continue to grow as the leader of America’s Team.
Thanks largely to Brady’s epic legacy of seven Super Bowl wins and status as the GOAT, endorsements come his way with ease. That’s part of the reason why he can continue taking pay cuts.
Brady’s sacrifice in that department helped the Bucs bring back every starter on offense and defense from the team that just beat Mahomes and the Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV. Tampa Bay’s title defense begins in Week 1’s kickoff game, as Brady and Prescott go head-to-head.
Speaking of Mahomes, for those stunned that he’s No. 3 here despite that record 10-year contract he signed, the way his contract is structured means he’ll likely rise to the top of this list before long. He’s only a cap hit of $7.43 million for Kansas City in 2021, but as Mahomes’ deal stands right now, that figure will rise to almost $35.8 million next year.
For a list you’d expect to be mostly dominated by QBs based on the Monopoly money that’s thrown at them these days when they sign their contracts — Green Bay Packers reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers does check in at No. 4, too — there are several surprises.
San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams did become the highest-paid tackle in football this offseason, so that’s not a total shock. Nevertheless, it goes to show just how serious the Niners were about securing that cornerstone position — and is particularly impressive on Williams’ part, since he sat out the entire 2019 campaign.
Jonathan Allen is part of the Washington Football Team’s elite defensive front, and his $30 million signing bonus from a four-year, $72 million contract extension accounts for almost all of his earnings. As deep as Washington is in the trenches, the front office wasn’t even entertaining the notion of letting Allen get loose in free agency.
No. 1 overall picks get huge signing bonuses, which accounts for former Clemson star and new Jacksonville Jaguars face of the franchise Trevor Lawrence being featured at No. 8, just behind Seattle Seahawks signal-caller Russell Wilson.
No matter what happens going forward, Goff already inked a massive extension before exiting LA. Fun fact: The Rams ate $24.7 million in dead money to essentially pay Goff not to play for them in 2021.
Finally, the $22.5 million signing bonus Leonard Williams secured as part of his extension with the New York Giants makes him a fixture on this list. Williams played for the neighboring Jets to begin his NFL career, but has really hit his stride with Big Blue, logging 11.5 sacks last season to secure his big bag.