One year after the NFL salary cap decreased for the first time since the cap was implemented in 1994 – $198.2 million in 2020 to $182.5 million in 2021 – it increased by approximately 14% for 2022 ($208.2). The increase set the stage for several blockbuster moves that have included hundreds of millions of dollars and shifted Super Bowl odds at the online sportsbook.
As of late June, no player is set to sniff Dak Prescott’s record $75-million total cash number from 2021, but, for the first time in league history, five players will earn at least $40 million in total cash.
By total cash, here are the highest-paid NFL players for 2022:
|1||Matthew Stafford||Rams||$61.5 million|
|2||Josh Allen||Bills||$50 million|
|3||Deshaun Watson||Browns||$46 million|
|4||Aaron Rodgers||Packers||$42 million|
|5||Kirk Cousins||Vikings||$40 million|
|6||Aaron Donald||Rams||$31.5 million|
|7||Jaire Alexander||Packers||$31.1 million|
|8(t)||Tom Brady||Bucs||$30 million|
|8(t)||Cooper Kupp||Rams||$30 million|
|10||Patrick Mahomes||Chiefs||$29.5 million|
|11||Ryan Tannehill||Titans||$29 million|
|12||Carson Wentz||Commanders||$28.3 million|
|13(t)||Mike Williams||Chargers||$28 million|
|13(t)||J.C. Jackson||Chargers||$28 million|
|15||Tyreek Hill||Dolphins||$26.6 million|
|16||Jared Goff||Lions||$26.2 million|
|17||Jimmy Garoppolo||49ers||$25.6 million|
|18||Travon Walker||Jaguars||$25.1 million|
|19||Derek Carr||Raiders||$25 million|
|20||Matt Ryan||Colts||$24.7 million|
|21||Stefon Diggs||Bills||$24.6 million|
|22||A.J. Brown||Eagles||$24.2 million|
|23||Marshon Lattimore||Saints||$24.1 million|
|24(t)||T.J. Watt||Steelers||$24 million|
|24(t)||Russell Wilson||Broncos||$24 million|
|26||Aidan Hutchinson||Lions||$23.9 million|
|27||Davante Adams||Raiders||$23.4 million|
|28||Derek Stingley Jr.||Texans||$23.1 million|
|29||Lamar Jackson||Ravens||$23 million|
|30||Christian Kirk||Jaguars||$22.5 million|
|31||Chris Jones||Chiefs||$22.4 million|
|32||Ahmad Gardner||Jets||$22.2 million|
|33||Minkah Fitzpatrick||Steelers||$22.1 million|
|34||Joey Bosa||Chargers||$21.3 million|
|35||Denzel Ward||Browns||$21 million|
|36||Frank Ragnow||Lions||$20.8 million|
|37||D.J. Moore||Panthers||$20.7 million|
|38||Kayvon Thibodeaux||Giants||$20.7 million|
|39||Harold Landry||Titans||$20.3 million|
|40(t)||Dak Prescott||Cowboys||$20 million|
|40(t)||Chris Godwin||Bucs||$20 million|
|40(t)||Amari Cooper||Browns||$20 million|
1. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford signed the largest rookie contract in NFL history after he was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. And while Sam Bradford topped Stafford just one year later – the final year before the NFL’s rookie wage scale was implemented – Stafford’s six-year, $72-million still ranks as the second-largest rookie deal in NFL history.
Matthew Stafford career earnings: $239,306,037
2. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen’s cap hit is only $16.4 million in 2022, but the fifth-year quarterback is receiving an option bonus of $42.5 million in the final year before a new six-year, $258-million deal – signed in August 2021 – begins in 2023.
Josh Allen career earnings: $38,114,794
3. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
In the first year of a five-year, $230-million deal signed shortly after being dealt to the Browns, Deshaun Watson has a miniscule base salary ($1.035 million) but a total cash number of $46 million thanks to a signing bonus – paid in 2022 but spread out over the next five years of the salary cap – of nearly $45 million.
Deshaun Watson career earnings: $51,395,478
4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers’ base salary ($1.15 million) is tied for the 11th-highest on the Packers, but a fat roster bonus of $40.8 million, which was due to be paid in full on Dec. 31 but was instead split into two payments of $20.8 million and $20 million. The first payment was made on June 20, and the second is scheduled for September 30.
Aaron Rodgers career earnings: $263,608,010
5. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins enters his eighth season as a full-time NFL starting quarterback with one career playoff win and nearly $162 million in career earnings. His total cash number for 2022 ($40 million) is more than double that of Danielle Hunter ($19.7 million), who owns the next-highest total of any Vikings’ player.
Kirk Cousins career earnings: $161,669,486
6. Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
Instead of retiring, Aaron Donald became the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history. His three-year, $95-million deal includes a signing bonus of $13 million and roster bonus of $5 million this season, the ninth for the eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Aaron Donald career earnings: $97,114,238.
7. Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers
Jaire Alexander made $2.1 million last season, his fourth with the Packers after his first-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. He’ll make more than $31 million this season after signing a four-year, $84-million contract that included $30 million guaranteed.
Jaire Alexander career earnings: $12,220,229
8(t). Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
Cooper Kupp’s sensational 2021 season earned him the biggest contract guarantee ($75 million) for a wide receiver and non-quarterback offensive player in NFL history. His total cash number in 2022 ($30 million) is bigger than his five-year career earnings and 4700% more than his earnings in 2018 ($640,000).
Cooper Kupp career earnings: $23,648,331
8(t). Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Tom Brady’s retirement dance didn’t change his contract, a two-year, $50-million signed in 2021 that essentially reset the original two-year, $50-million deal signed prior to his arrival in Tampa a year earlier. Nearly all of his 2022 total cash will come from a signing bonus of $28.88 million.
Tom Brady career earnings: $302,962,392
10. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes’ sixth NFL season is the first of a 10-year, $450-million contract signed prior to his fourth NFL season. He has a roster bonus of at least $22.9 million in each of the next nine seasons, including $27.4 million in 2022.
Patrick Mahomes career earnings: $47,454,472
11. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
In the third year of a four-year, $118-million contract signed in March 2020, Ryan Tannehill has a base salary of $29 million that accounts for his entire total cash number. His cap hit of $38.6 million is the highest in the league.
Ryan Tannehill career earnings: $139,975,979
12. Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders
Carson Wentz is now playing for a third team under the same contract signed with the Philadelphia Eagles before the 2019 season. His four-year, $128-million deal followed him to Indianapolis and Washington, where his total cash number of $28.2 million is nearly $18 million more than that of the next-highest player, William Jackson.
Carson Wentz career earnings: $100,365,221
13(t). Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers retained Mike Williams in March 2022 with a three-year, $60-million contract that includes $40 million guaranteed, all of which is due in the first two years of the deal. His cash number plummets to $12 million in 2023 before jumping to $20 million in 2024.
Mike Williams career earnings: $35,588,155
13(t). J.C. Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers
An undrafted free agent who made $490,000 in his rookie season – and just $1.6 million over his first two years – J.C. Jackson cashed in with a five-year, $82.5-million contract in free agency after 2021, his fourth and final season with the Patriots.
J.C. Jackson career earnings: $5,695,632
15. Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins
In his first season with Miami, Tyreek Hill has a base salary barely over $1 million and a cap hit of approximately $6.5 million. But in 2023 and beyond, the former fifth-round pick has big numbers across the board, including a base salary of $43.9 million in 2026 if an opt-out isn’t exercised.
Tyreek Hill career earnings: $40,254,171
16. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
After the Rams paid $2.5 million for Jared Goff to play for the Detroit Lions in 2021, the Lions are footing Goff’s entire bill of $26.15 million in 2022.
Jared Goff career earnings: $108,891,068
17. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo is in the final year of the five-year, $137.5-million contract he signed after the 2017 season, his first with the 49ers after arriving via trade in October 2017. His total cash number of $24.55 million is more than the combined cash totals for George Kittle, Nick Bosa, and Deebo Samuel.
Jimmy Garoppolo career earnings: $114,164,507
18. Travon Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars
More than 65% of Travon Walker’s total cash with his four-year rookie deal will come in his first season. His signing bonus of $24.4 million is spread evenly through his first four seasons, $6.1 million per season.
Travon Walker career earnings: $0
19. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr’s three-year, $121.5-million contract extension doesn’t kick in until 2023. He’ll have total cash numbers of at least $33 million and base salaries of at least $32.9 million each year from 2023-25.
Derek Carr career earnings: $110,666,395
20. Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts
The Atlanta Falcons ate $50.53 million in dead money, the biggest dead salary cap hit in NFL history, by trading Matt Ryan to the Colts. He’s still playing with a five-year, $150-million deal signed with the Falcons in May 2018.
Matt Ryan career earnings: $267,007,749
21. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
Stefon Diggs’ contract extension signed in April 2022 added four years and $96 million to the remaining two years and $25 million on his previous deal. He’s the only Bills’ receiver with a total cash number ($24.58 million) greater than $3 million for 2022.
Stefon Diggs career earnings: $24,580,000
22. A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
A.J. Brown’s four-year, $100-million deal he signed upon arriving in Philadelphia doesn’t officially start until 2023, though his 2022 total cash amount is the highest until 2026 ($31 million).
A.J. Brown career earnings: $4,386,590
23. Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints
Marshon Lattimore’s five-year contract extension – signed in September 2021 – runs from 2022-25 and includes an average annual salary of nearly $20 million. He’s one of 10 players on the Saints with a total cash number greater than $10 million, a group that includes core special-teamer Taysom Hill.
Marshon Lattimore career earnings: $33,103,563
24(t). Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
As of late June, Russell Wilson hasn’t received a new deal from his new team and is set to play the penultimate year of his four-year, $190-million deal signed with the Seahawks. He’s one of only four Broncos’ offensive players with a total cash number greater than $4 million in 2022.
Russell Wilson career earnings: $181,362,520
24(t). T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
After earning barely $9 million over the first four seasons of his career, T.J. Watt cashed in last season ($36 million) and will continue to cash in over the remainder of his four-year, $112-million contract that pays him at least $20 million annually through 2025.
T.J. Watt career earnings: $45,852,038
26. Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions
Another year, another fat rookie deal for a top-10 draft pick in Detroit. Aidan Hutchinson’s four-year (with the typical fifth-year option for all first-rounders) includes $35.7 million guaranteed.
Aidan Hutchinson career earnings: $0
27. Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders
The NFL’s best receiver has modest contract numbers across the board for his first season in Las Vegas. Davante Adams’ total cash number doesn’t exceed $27 million until the fourth year of the five-year, $140-million deal. Entering this year, he’s only once earned more than $13 million in a season – $18.9 million in 2017.
Davante Adams career earnings: $61,968,141
28. Derek Stingley Jr., Houston Texans
Derek Stingley Jr. has the typical contract of a highly drafted player with a fat wad of cash upfront ($23.1 million in total cash for 2022), followed by low base salaries and cash totals over the next three seasons. More than 50 players on the Texans’ roster, as of late June, have a higher base salary than Stingley ($705,000) for 2022.
Derek Stingley Jr. career earnings: $0
29. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
More than a year after his fifth-year option was exercised by the Baltimore Ravens, Lamar Jackson has yet to sign a new deal. The entirety of his $23-million total cash number is base salary, which all counts against the Ravens’ cap.
Lamar Jackson career earnings: $9,758,549
30. Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars
Christian Kirk’s four-year, $72-million contract included $37 million guaranteed and a big cap hit in 2023 ($21.5 million), but the Jaguars could opt out after two years with modest dead money ($10 million) and spread $49.5 million in cash over the final three years of the deal.
Christian Kirk career earnings: $7,477,464
31. Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
Chris Jones earned a total of $6.2 million as he accumulated 33 sacks over his first four NFL seasons, all with the Chiefs. He nearly tripled that in 2020 with a $16.1-million haul and added another $21.5 million in 2021.
Chris Jones career earnings: $43,882,291
32. Ahmad Gardner, New York Jets
In three years, Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner went from a three-star receiver recruit with four Power Five offers to a $33-million NFL cornerback. About 66% of his money is coming in 2022, thanks to a $21.5-million signing bonus.
Ahmad Gardner career earnings: $0
33. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh Steelers
Just under half of Minkah Fitzpatrick’s new four-year, $73.6-million contract is guaranteed, about $22 million of which comes in 2022. The highest-paid safety in league history won’t earn more than $18 million in any of the next four years.
Minkah Fitzpatrick career earnings: $16,447,771
34. Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers
Joey Bosa has the ninth-largest cap hit in the NFL for 2022 ($28.25 million) but is buried in total cash. He received $43 million in cash in 2020, the first year of a five-year, $135-million contract that included $102 million in total guarantees and $78 million in guarantees at signing, both of which were the most in NFL history for a non-quarterback.
Joey Bosa career earnings: $82,644,417
35. Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns
Denzel Ward isn’t officially in the five-year, $100.5-million contract until 2023, but the fifth-year corner is still slated to earn more than $21 million in cash in 2022. He’ll make another $23 million in 2023.
Denzel Ward career earnings: $29,517,903
36. Frank Ragnow, Detroit Lions
The highest-paid interior linemen in the NFL, Frank Ragnow will make $20.7 million in 2022 after making only $17 million over his first four seasons combined. Despite the big jump – thanks to a four-year, $54-million deal signed in May 2021 – his base salary ($2.7 million) and cap hit ($7.5 million) remain modest.
Frank Ragnow career earnings: $17,083,401
37. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
D.J. Moore might’ve signed a three-year contract extension in May 2022 that pushed team control through the 2025 season, but his dead money plummets after the 2023 season. It drops from $35.7 million in 2022 to $10.9 million in 2023.
D.J. Moore career earnings: $11,410,079
38. Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants
Kayvon Thibodeaux didn’t slide in the 2022 draft and therefore received $31.4 million from the New York Giants. His fully guaranteed deal includes a $19.97 million signing bonus that was paid in full but is spread out over the Giants’ cap from 2022-25.
Kayvon Thibodeaux career earnings: $0
39. Harold Landry, Tennessee Titans
Harold Landry’s 12-sack season earned him a five-year, $87.5-million contract that includes annual cash of at least $15 million in each of the five years. His base salary skyrockets from 2022 ($1.25 million) to 2023 ($15 million) but total cash will decline from $20.25 million to $15 million.
Harold Landry career earnings: $7,768,458
40(t). Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns
The cash numbers of Amari Cooper’s five-year, $100-million deal are simple; he receives $20 million each season through 2024. His cap hits and base salaries, however, fluctuate. For example, Cooper has a cap hit of only $4.9 million in 2022 but $23.8 million in 2023 and 2024.
Amari Cooper career earnings: $76,672,334
40(t). Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Godwin stayed in Tampa with a three-year, $60-million deal that included an $18.75-million signing bonus – spread over the Bucs’ cap for the next five years – and $40 million in guarantees. He’ll earn $20 million in cash each year from 2022-24.
Chris Godwin career earnings: $20,631,664
40(t). Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott earned a total of approximately $5 million over his first four seasons with Dallas. He earned more than $100 million over the last two seasons and will get another $20 million in 2022.
Dak Prescott career earnings: $111,317,825
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