Quick Bit: Aaron Rodgers has overtaken Patrick Mahomes to become the NFL’s highest-paid player. Here’s a list of the 25 biggest contracts and salaries around the NFL.

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Every March, NFL free agency arrives. And every year, like clockwork, NFL teams dole out hundreds of millions of dollars in an effort to improve their squads and compete for a Super Bowl.

The 2022 NFL offseason will be no different, and as a result, the list of the league’s highest-paid players will surely change.

Some of the changes to the list of highest-paid players from 2021 will come via the free-agent market. That said, more of them will come via extensions or reworked contracts for top talents around the league.

For example, Aaron Rodgers has already signed a lucrative extension, and it will pay him more than $50 million per year. Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford is underpaid after leading the Rams to a Super Bowl victory and seems likely to be paid commensurately soon.

The exploding quarterback market will surely yield some new highly paid signal-callers, but don’t sleep on the market for top-tier pass rushers. Aaron Donald and Nick Bosa could soon agree to record-breaking deals while several quality receivers like Deebo Samuel are eligible for high-value extensions.

Defining the highest-paid NFL players can be an inexact science. You can focus on what a player is making in guarantees, what they are making in any given season or what they make on an average annual basis during the duration of their contract. Typically though, sorting it by annual value is the best way to go.

Here’s a look at the league’s highest-paid players for 2022, with all salary information coming via Spotrac.com.

This story will be updated as contracts are signed throughout the 2022 offseason.

1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

Annual salary: $50.3 million

Rodgers signed a three-year extension with the Packers that will make him the NFL’s highest-paid player in 2022. The two-time reigning MVP will be the first NFL player to earn more than $50 million per season, and his $150.6 million in guaranteed money is the most for an NFL player in history as well. Rodgers has completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 8,414 combined yards, 85 touchdowns and nine interceptions over the last two seasons. He has won one Super Bowl during his 17-year career with the Packers.

2. Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals

Annual salary: $46.1 million

Murray inked a five-year, $230.5 million extension with the Cards this offseason, locking him down for the foreseeable future. At just 24 years old, the talented hurler has improved his passer rating every season since entering the league back in 2019. And although he has had some playoff struggles, Murray is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league. Now, he’ll be paid like one.

3. Deshaun Watson, QB, Browns

Annual salary: $46 million

The Cleveland QB, who has been accused in 22 civil lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints of sexual misconduct and sexual assault, signed a five-year, $230 million deal with the Browns after arriving via trade earlier in the offseason. The contract is fully guaranteed, so despite uncertainty about whether Watson will play this season, he stands to make a significant amount of money.

4. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs

Annual salary: $45 million

Mahomes has been to two Super Bowls in his four years as a starter and has never failed to make at least the AFC Championship Game. He has averaged 5,129 yards, 41 pass TDs and 10 interceptions per 17 games played during his career. It doesn’t look like the Chiefs are going to regret giving him the NFL’s richest contract — 10 years, $450 million — any time soon.

5. Josh Allen, QB, Bills

Annual salary: $43 million

Allen signed a contract in August of 2021 that will paid him $150 million in guarantees, the most in NFL history before Rodgers’ latest deal. He has markedly improved in each of his four NFL seasons and has led the Bills to double-digit wins and playoff appearances in three consecutive seasons. He had 42 total touchdowns and a career-high 763 rushing yards in 2021. He also threw for 637 yards and nine touchdowns in two 2022 postseason games before the Bills were eliminated by the Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs.

6. Derek Carr, QB, Raiders

Annual salary: $40.5 million

Carr has found lots of success with the Raiders in recent years, leading them to a playoff appearance in 2021. For his efforts, the former second-round pick was rewarded with a three-year, $121.5 million extension earlier in the offseason.

T-7. Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys

Annual salary: $40 million

Prescott returned from a devastating ankle injury suffered in 2020 and posted a career-high 68.8 completion percentage and 37 passing touchdowns in 2021. He has a career record of 53-32 as a starter but he has gone just 1-3 in four postseason starts. That includes a 23-17 loss against the 49ers during last year’s playoffs.

T-7. Matthew Stafford, QB, Rams

Annual salary: $40 million

Stafford finally got his ring, leading the Rams to Super Bowl glory in 2021. The former first overall pick enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in the process, throwing for nearly 4,900 yards and 41 touchdowns. Stafford was subsequently compensated for his impressive play, inking four-year, $160 million deal with the Rams shortly after Los Angeles’ Super Bowl win.

(Getty Images)

T-9. Russell Wilson, QB, Broncos

Annual salary: $35 million

Wilson was traded to the Broncos during the 2022 offseason, but that won’t impact his standing among the NFL’s highest-paid players. The former Seahawk made 149 consecutive regular-season starts before missing his first game in 2021 after suffering a finger injury. Wilson has averaged 3,987 passing yards, 31 passing touchdowns and nine interceptions per 17 games played during his career. He also won a Super Bowl during his second season and was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year for 2020.

T-9. Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings

Annual salary: $35 million

Cousins was brought to Minnesota to get them over the hump. He hasn’t done that, but he has thrown for at least 4,200 yards and 33 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. However, he is just .500 in his career as a starter with a record of 59-59-2.

11. Jared Goff, QB, Lions

Annual salary: $33.5 million

Goff signed a lucrative deal with the Rams but was dealt to the Lions as a part of the 2021 Matthew Stafford trade. Goff completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,245 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions in his first season in Detroit. However, he posted just a 3-10-1 record and has a 3-17-1 career record when not coached by Sean McVay.

12. Carson Wentz, QB, Commanders

Annual salary: $32 million

Wentz signed a long-term extension with the Eagles but was traded shortly thereafter to the Colts after throwing a league-high 15 interceptions in 2020 and being benched in favor of Jalen Hurts. Wentz’s numbers were better in 2021, as he had 27 touchdowns compared to seven interceptions, but the Colts had just a 9-8 record and saw Wentz average 6.9 yards per attempt. He was traded again in 2022 and now will look to prove himself with the Commanders.

13. Aaron Donald, DT, Rams

Annual Salary: $31.6 million

Previously No. 23 on this list, Aaron Donald became the second Aaron this offseason to negotiate a huge extension. The Rams defensive tackle inked a deal to the tune of two years for $65 million with an optional third year for $30 million.

The deal comes with three years left on Donald’s existing contract, but prior to the Super Bowl and after the Rams victory, which was the first of Donald’s career, rumors continued to emerge that Donald was mulling retirement if he and the Rams couldn’t rework his deal.

Donald has 98 career sacks and just won his first Super Bowl. He has been an All-Pro seven straight seasons and has won the AP’s Defensive Player of the Year award in three of the last five years. He has never logged fewer than eight sacks in a season and once recorded a league-high 20.5 sacks — just two sacks shy of Strahan and Watt’s record of 22.5 — from the defensive tackle spot.

The restructure of Donald’s contract netted him a $40 million raise, up to $65 million over the course of the next two seasons. Donald has an opt-in for his third year that would give him an additional $30 million, bringing the total up to $95 million.

Aaron Donald’s contract makes him the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history.

T-14. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

Annual salary: $30 million

Matt Ryan’s streak of 4,000-yard seasons came to an end in 2021 when he totaled 3,968 passing yards. His 20 passing touchdowns were tied for the second-lowest of his 14-year NFL career, but his offense was devoid of receiving weapons for most of the season. Ryan isn’t the same player that won the MVP in 2016 and led the Falcons to a Super Bowl, but he is still a solid veteran quarterback.

(Getty Images)

T-14. Tyreek Hill, WR, Dolphins

Annual salary: $30 million

Cheetah got his bag this offseason, joining fellow do-it-all force Jaylon Waddle in Miami on a four-year, $120 million contract. At 28, Hill is firmly in his prime. He’s already made three All-Pro teams and has established himself as one of the most dynamic players in the league’s history.

16. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans

Annual salary: $29.5 million

Since escaping Adam Gase in Miami, Tannehill has posted an 30-13 regular-season record as a starter and has led the Titans to three straight playoff appearances. an AFC Championship Game berth. He also has a 76 to 27 TD-INT ratio in three seasons as the Titans’ primary starter.

T-17. TJ Watt, EDGE, Steelers

Annual salary: $28 million

Watt has done an admirable job stepping out of his brother, JJ’s, shadow and establishing himself as one of the most feared edge rushers in the league. The 26-year old just finished a campaign where he recorded 22.5 sacks, tying Michael Strahan’s NFL record.

T-17. Davante Adams, WR, Raiders

Annual salary: $28 million

The Packers traded the two-time AP All-Pro first-teamer to the Raiders for first- and second-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, and the Raiders rewarded Adams by making him the NFL’s highest-paid receiver. Adams has averaged 121 catches, 1,483 yards and 14 touchdowns per 17 games played over the last five seasons. He has made the Pro Bowl during each campaign.

19. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers

Annual salary: $27.5 million

Garoppolo got the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game last season, but he seems likely to change teams this offseason. Why? Because Trey Lance is waiting in the wings to replace him. Garoppolo led the Niners on two deep playoff runs, including a trip to the 2020 Super Bowl. He has a 33-14 record as a starter and has thrown 71 touchdowns compared to 38 interceptions.

20. Joey Bosa, DE, Chargers

Annual salary: $27 million

Bosa is a great sack artist and has averaged 12 sacks per 17 games during his career. He won the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2016 and won’t turn 27 until July of 2022. He will continue to be one of the NFL’s best outside pass-rushing threats for a long time given his relative youth.

21. Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams

Annual salary: $26.7 million

Kupp got his deal after mounting one of the greatest seasons any pass catcher has ever had. The 28-year old came dangerously close to break Calvin Johnson’s record for most receiving yards in a single season and nabbed two touchdowns against the Bengals en route to a Super Bowl MVP. He then agreed new terms with Los Angeles, getting a three-year, $80.1 million deal to extend his stay in Tinseltown.

T-22. Myles Garrett, DE, Browns

Annual salary: $25 million

Garrett has been as-advertised during his NFL career. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft has totaled 58.5 sacks in five NFL seasons. He also has 11 forced fumbles during his career. He may be the NFL’s best pass rusher, so he’s certainly worth this type of money.

T-22. AJ Brown, WR, Eagles

Annual salary: $25 million

Brown was dealt from the Titans to the Eagles during the NFL Draft. He then secured a four-year, $100 million deal to become Philly’s No. 1 target. Brown was on pace for his third consecutive 1,000-yard season before injuries derailed him.

23. Stefon Diggs, WR, Bills

Annual salary: $24 million

Diggs was part of the group of wideouts who inked massive deals this offseason. The Maryland alum just completed his fourth season with 1,000+ receiving yards and earned All-Pro honors in 2020. He agreed a four-year, $96 million extension with Buffalo in the offseason.

T-24. Khalil Mack, OLB, Bears

Annual salary: $23.5 million

Mack’s streak of six consecutive Pro Bowls came to an end in 2021 after he played in just seven games due to a foot injury. Still, he has averaged 11 sacks and three forced fumbles per 17 games played during his career. He’s now over 30, but he has shown no signs of slowing down, as he posted six sacks in seven games last season.

T-24. Maxx Crosby, DE, Raiders

Annual salary: $23.5 million

Crosby has quietly established himself as one of the league’s premier pass rushing threats. Crosby has 25 sacks through his first three seasons in the Raiders’ black-and-silver. At just 24 years old, Crosby looks poised to become one of football’s most ferocious forces on the edge.

25. Trent Williams, OT, 49ers

Annual salary: $23.01 million

Williams narrowly edged David Bakhtiari as the NFL’s highest-paid offensive tackle. He is making just $10,000 per year more than the Packers’ blindside blocker. Williams has arguably been the best left tackle in the NFL since joining the 49ers in 2020 after skipping the 2019 season while embroiled in a spat with the Commanders’ front office. He was excellent in 2021 and played a massive part in the 49ers’ run to the NFC Championship Game.

Originally found on Sporting News Read More

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