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20 highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL: From Joe Burrow to Jordan Love

Who are the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL right now? Have these signal-callers lived up to expectations?

With the 2023 regular season now into December, a lot will be made of NFL quarterback contracts and how the highest paid perform. The lowest-paid starting quarterback in the NFL, San Francisco 49ers’ Brock Purdy, is playing like one of the best signal callers in the NFL. The league’s highest-paid quarterbac, Joe Burrow, is lost for the season after yet another injury.

Below, we look at the 20 highest-paid quarterbacks in the league today with a focus of those who are also on their rookie deals at the bottom, including Purdy and rookie No. 1 pick Bryce Young.

Related: Unlock Fantasy Sports Success! Get FREE Insights & Tips From Dr. Roto and His Team Of Big-Money Fantasy Winners!

Highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL

1. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals — highest-paid player in the NFL

joe burrow
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Joe Burrow is now the highest-paid player in NFL history after inking his contract extension with the Bengals right as the 2023 season got going. Burrow’s $275 million in total value ranks No. 1 as does his average salary of $55 million. In terms of total guarantees, he’s now second behind Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns.

Burrow, 26, struggled as he dealt with a calf injury through the first four games of the season (two touchdowns, two interceptions). After turning it around, he was lost for the remainder of the season with a wrist injury that has the Bengals under scrutiny from the NFL. It’s his second season-ending injury in four years.

2. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

nfl quarterback contracts: patrick mahomes
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  • Patrick Mahomes contract: 4 years, $210.6 million ($210.6 million in guarantees)
  • Average salary: $52.6 million

It had been expected for some time. Reigning NFL and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes signing a restructured contract that once again makes him among the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league.

Mahomes’ new deal allows for him to potentially negotiate a new contract with Kansas City after the 2026 season. He had previously agreed to a 10-year, $450 million contract back 2020. With the way the NFL QB market continues to reset itself, it made sense for the Chiefs to take care of the reigning NFL and Super Bowl MVP. They have done just that.

Read More: Recreating the Z-Man Sandwich – Patrick Mahomes’ Favorite Food

3. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

justin herbert
Corey Perrine / USA TODAY NETWORK

When Herbert signed his deal with the Chargers back in July of 2023, he became the highest-paid player in the NFL. That lasted all of six weeks before Joe Burrow one-upped him. Either way, we’re talking about two quarterbacks who will be doing battle in the AFC for years to come. Through his first 57 career starts, Herbert has posted 114 touchdowns compared to 41 interceptions. Unfortunately, the Chargers are 29-31 in these starts. The next step is team-wide success in Southern California. That will likely come without Brandon Staley coaching him.

Related: Most Valuable Justin Herbert Rookie Cards

4. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

highest paid quarterbacks: lamar jackson
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Jackson’s deal surpassed the five-year, $255 million extension Jalen Hurts signed with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier in the 2023 NFL offseason. His $185 million in total guarantees now ranks fourth among NFL players behind Deshaun Watson, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert.

Since Baltimore made Jackson a late first-round pick back in 2018, he has posted a 54-19 record as its starting quarterback. With him sidelined during this span, the Ravens are a mere 8-13. That tells us what we need to know about his value to the team. Now with his best supporting cast in memory, Jackson is playing at an MVP level.

5. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

highest-paid nfl quarterbacks: jalen hurts
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  • Jalen Hurts contract: 5 years, $255 million ($179.3 million in guarantees)
  • Average annual salary: $51 million

Just over two months after leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a surprise Super Bowl appearance, Hurts became the highest-paid player in the NFL. His $255 million deal surpassed Aaron Rodgers on a per-year basis by less than one million. His total guarantees are now the fifth-most in league history. Even with Burrow, Herbert and Jackson having topped him more recently, Hurts’ contract was very player friendly.

It’s paying off for Philadelphia. Since the start of the 2022 season, Hurts has posted a 24-2 regular season record. He’s also accounted for 64 total touchdowns and 16 interceptions. That seems pretty good.

6. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

highest-paid quarterbacks: russell wilson
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  • Russell Wilson contract: 5 years, $245 million ($161.1 million in guarantees)
  • Russell Wilson salary: $8 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: $50 million
  • Average annual salary: $48.52 million

Wilson’s first season with the Denver after a blockbuster trade from the Seattle Seahawks did not go according to plan. The team won just four of his 15 starts. Head coach Nathaniel Hackett was fired after less than a full season. For his part, Wilson put up the worst statistical performance of his career.

Wilson has been much better this season under new head coach Sean Payton (20 TD, 4 INT in 11 starts). He also has Denver in the midst of a five-game winning streak. Have the Broncos finally turned it around?

7. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

highest-paid quarterbacks: kyler murray
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  • Kyler Murray contract: 5 years, $230.5 million ($189.5 million in guarantees)
  • Kyler Murray salary: $2 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: $29.04 million
  • Average annual salary: $46.1 million

The contract Murray signed back in the 2022 offseason made him one of the NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks. However, the details were not to friendly for the former No. 1 overall pick. His deal called for just $103 million fully guaranteed. That was less than half of what Deshaun Watson received months before.

If Murray’s 2022 performance, he might not be long for Arizona. Now that Murray has returned after suffering a torn ACL last season, he has an opportunity to prove himself all over again. In three starts since his return, Murray has tallied five total touchdowns compared to two interceptions.

8. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns

highest-paid quarterbacks: deshaun watson
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  • Deshaun Watson contract: 5 years, $230 million ($230 million fully guaranteed)
  • Deshaun Watson salary: $1.16 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: $44.96 million
  • Average salary: $46 million

Where to start with Watson? Prior to suiting up Week 13 of last season against his former Houston Texans team, the multi-time Pro Bowler had not seen action in nearly two calendar years. That came after he faced allegations from more than 20 women of sexual misconduct. Cleveland then opted to send multiple first-round picks to Houston for Watson after he was not charged criminally. The deal included the first fully guaranteed contract in NFL history.

Since then, it’s been a real struggle for Watson (14 touchdowns, 9 INT) in 12 starts with Cleveland. He’s now also lost for the season after dealing with a shoulder injury since September. This contract has disaster written all over it.

9. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

highest-paid quarterbacks in the nfl: josh allen
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  • Josh Allen contract: 6 years, $258.03 million ($100 million guaranteed)
  • Josh Allen salary: $27.5 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: $16.5 million
  • Average salary: $43 million

It was somewhat of a surprise to see the Bills sign Allen to his massive extension in August of 2021. The contract called for $150 million in total guarantees and an average annual salary that was then second behind Mahomes. This came after his first real breakout campaign in the NFL.

Josh Allen stats (2020): 69% completion, 4,544 passing yards, 421 rushing yards, 43 total touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 107.2 rating

Allen followed this up by leading Buffalo to the playoffs for a third consecutive season in 2022. Unfortunately, that campaign came to an end with an ugly loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. Over the course of his final 12 starts, postseason included, Allen accounted for an eye-opening 17 giveaways. He has the Bills at a mere 6-6 this season while tallying 33 total touchdowns with 16 giveaways.

10. Daniel Jones, New York Giants

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
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  • Daniel Jones contract: 4 years, $160 million ($81 million guaranteed)
  • Daniel Jones salary (2023): $9.5 million
  • Signing bonus: $36 million
  • Average salary: $40 million

Jones inked this contract with New York on the eve of NFL free agency opening this past March. It came after he led the Giants to a surprise playoff appearance despite throwing a mere 15 touchdowns.

To say that things have not gone swimmingly for Jones and the Giants in 2023 would be an understatement. The team finds itself at 2-7 on the campaign. Meanwhile, Jones is sidelined for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. His future in Jersey is now firmly up in the air.

11. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Kansas City Chiefs
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  • Matthew Stafford contract: 4 years, $160 million ($135 million guaranteed)
  • Matthew Stafford salary: $1.5 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: $60 million
  • Average salary: $40 million

Stafford inked his current deal mere months after leading the Rams to the Super Bowl title in his first season with the organization. At that point, it seemed to be a win-win for everyone involved.

Stafford then missed the end of last season with a spinal cord injury. Los Angeles found itself starting Baker Mayfield to close out the lost season. Upon his return in 2023, the former No. 1 pick struggled to an extent for an otherwise average Rams team (13 TD, 9 INT).

Related: Get more Los Angeles Rams news here

12. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

highest-paid quarterbacks in the nfl: dak prescott
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  • Dak Prescott contract: 4 years, $160 million ($126 million guaranteed)
  • Dak Prescott salary: $1.7 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: $66 million
  • Average salary: $40 million

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones continues to indicate that he believes Prescott can lead the team to a Super Bowl title. But his performances in big games do not equate to the lofty contract the big-name signal caller is playing under. That included throwing three interceptions in a blowout Week 5 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

The good news here is that Prescott has turned things around recently for a streaking Cowboys team. Since that loss to San Francisco, he’s tallied 20 total touchdowns against two interceptions while leading the ‘Boys to a 4-1 record. Dak is currently playing the best ball of his career.

13. Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints

highest-paid quarterbacks in the nfl: derek carr
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
  • Derek Carr contract: 4 years, $150 million ($100 million guaranteed)
  • Derek Carr salary: $1.5 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: $28.5 million
  • Average salary: $37.5 million

After nine up-and-down seasons with the Raiders, Carr found himself released following the 2022 campaign. It did not take him long to latch on with a Saints team that needed to find a major upgrade under center.

Whether that’s the case very much remains to be seen. Through his first 11 starts with the Saints, Carr has thrown for 2,535 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s also struggled big time in the red zone with New Orleans at 5-6 on the season.

14. Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets

highest-paid quarterbacks in the nfl: aaron rodgers
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  • Aaron Rodgers contract: 3 years, $112.5 million ($75.0 million in guarantees)
  • Aaron Rodgers salary: $1.84 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: N/A
  • Average annual salary: $37.5 million

It’s brutal for Rodgers. He was traded to the New York Jets after a brilliant 18-year wun with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers than restructured his contract in order to help what was then a Super Bowl-contending Jets team build out their roster.

Then, four snaps into his career in Jersey, Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles. No one wants to see a great player like this deal with something like that. The future Hall of Famer has made it clear he plans on returning. He just saw his 21-day practice window open up and could return Christmas Eve. Whether that happens depends on the Jets’ standings in the NFL Playoff race. They are currently 4-7 on the season.

15. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

highest-paid quarterbacks in the nfl: kirk cousins
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  • Kirk Cousins contract: 1 year, $35 million ($35 million guaranteed)
  • Kirk Cousins salary: $10 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: $25 million
  • Average annual salary: $35 million

Minnesota pushed back against signing Cousins to a contract extension this past offseason, meaning that the veteran Pro Bowler will hit free agency in March of 2024.

Given that he’s sidelined for the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles, it remains to be seen if Cousins has played his final game with the Vikes. He’s an impending free agent. If so, he’ll have a ton of interest from other quarterback-needy teams given the veteran’s performance in 2023 prior to going down.

  • Kirk Cousins stats (2023): 70% completion, 2,331 yards, 18 TD, 5 INT

Related: Nick Mullens expected to be Minnesota Vikings QB1 after bye

16. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions

highest-paid quarterbacks in the nfl: jared goff
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  • Jared Goff contract: 4 years, $134 million ($110 million guaranteed)
  • Jared Goff salary: $20.98 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: $25 million
  • Average annual salary: $33.5 million

Goff, 28, was a throw-in as part of the trade that sent Matthew Stafford from the Lions to the Rams ahead of the 2021 season. About that? The former No. 1 pick has since morphed into a franchise signal caller for a Lions team that’s now Super Bowl contenders.

  • Jared Goff stats (2022-23): 66% completion, 7,513 yards, 47 TD, 15 INT, 98.3 QB rating

Lions general manager Brad Holmes has indicated multiple times in the recent past that they’d like to sign Goff to a contract extension. The quarterback’s deal runs through next season and he’s vastly outplayed his current figure.

17. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

highest-paid quarterbacks in the nfl: ryan tannehill
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  • Ryan Tannehill contract: 4 years, $118 million ($91 million guaranteed)
  • Ryan Tannehill salary: $27 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: $20 million
  • Average annual salary: $29.5 million

There was speculation that the Titans would simply release Tannehill rather than him being the highest-paid quarterback from a salary standpoint in 2023. In reality, the former Pro Bowler has regressed big time over the past couple seasons (15 TD, 12 INT).

Set to become a free agent next March, Tannehill has been benched in favor of rookie quarterback Will Levis. Look for him to latch on with a team as a backup in free agency this coming March.

18. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks

highest-paid quarterbacks in the nfl: geno smith
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  • Geno Smith contract: 3 years, $75 million ($40 million guaranteed)
  • Geno Smith salary: $1.2 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: N/A
  • Average annual salary: $25 million

The reigning NFL Comeback Player of the Year was absolutely brilliant in replacing Russell Wilson in Seattle last season (70% completion, 4,282 yards, 30 TD, 11 INT). Unfortunately, he’s struggled big time recently by accounting for four touchdowns and eight giveaways over the past four games.

How team-friendly was Smith’s deal with the Seahawks? It enables Seattle to get out from under the deal with a near $14 million cap savings after the 2023 campaign. Though, that’s highly unlikely to happen given the shortage of starter-caliber signal callers in the NFL today.

19. Jimmy Garoppolo, Las Vegas Raiders

highest-paid quarterbacks in the nfl: jimmy garoppolo
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  • Jimmy Garoppolo contract: 3 years, $72.75 million ($45 million guaranteed)
  • Jimmy Garoppolo salary: $1.17 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: N/A
  • Average annual salary: $24.25 million

Garoppolo’s numbers were never great during his near six-year run with the San Francisco 49ers. But he was able to post a resounding 38-17 record as a starter in Northern California. It led to the Raiders believing that GQ could be their answer at quarterback. That has not been the case.

  • Jimmy Garoppolo stats (2023): 66% completion, 1,205 yards, 7 TD, 9 INT, 78.1 QB rating

Once the Raiders decided to fire Josh McDaniels, interim head coach Antonio Pierce benched Garoppolo and replaced him with rookie Aidan O’Connell. The veteran has likely played his final snap in a Raiders uniform. Talk about a major free agent bust.

20. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers

highest paid quarterbacks: jordan love
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • Jordan Love contract: 1 year, $13.5 million ($13 million in guarantees)
  • Jordan Love salary: $1.01 million (2023)
  • Signing bonus: $9.8 million
  • Average annual salary: $13.5 million

Love inked a contract extension with Green Bay entering his first season as Aaron Rodgers’ heir-apparent. It gave him a bit of a raise upfront while enabling the Packers to avoid the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

After throwing six touchdowns against zero interceptions in the first two games, Love has struggled big time. He tallied three picks in an ugly Week 5 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. The jury is still very much out on this youngster.


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Highest-paid quarterbacks on rookie deals

NFL: Preseason-Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers
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A focus on NFL quarterback contracts would not be complete without looking at those on their rookie deals. For many teams, this has acted like a competitive advantage.

Patrick Mahomes leading the Kansas City Chiefs to the Lombardi Trophy while on his rookie deal following the 2019 season is a prime example of this. Now that Joe Burrow has inked his deal, rookie No. 1 pick Bryce Young is the highest-paid NFL quarterback on a rookie contract.

Here’s a look at NFL quarterbacks on their rookie contracts and how they rank from an average annual salary perspective.

Highest-paid quarterbacks (FAQs)

Who is the highest-paid quarterback of all-time? Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady comes in at No. 1 all-time with $332.96 million earned throughout his recently concluded career. Aaron Rodgers of the New York Jets ($305.61 million) will overtake that spot once the 2023 season comes to a conclusion.

Who was the highest-paid quarterback 2022? Ryan Tannehill of the Tennessee Titans was the highest-paid with a base salary of $29 million in 2022. Playing under the franchise tag, Lamar Jackson ($23.02 million) ranked second.

Who is the highest-paid quarterback 2023? Tannehill is again the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL on a base salary basis this season. Jared Goff of the Detroit Lions comes in at No. 2 ($20 million).

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