Cam Newton signed one of the biggest deals in NFL history this week, agreeing to a new contract with the Carolina Panthers worth $103.8 million over five years. The deal makes the 26-year-old one of the richest players in the league, but he still won’t be making the most money of any quarterback in the 2015 season.
The likes of Ndamukong Suh and J.J. Watt will be among the highest-paid NFL players next year, but the majority of the league’s richest stars play under center. Quarterback is the most important position in the NFL, and teams pay their signal callers accordingly, even if they haven’t been consistent winners.
Aaron Rodgers’ five-year, $110 million contract gives him the highest average yearly salary, but he’s not one of the top paid quarterbacks in 2015 because he received $40 million in the first year, and his highest base salaries are scheduled for 2018 and 2019. Four-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady isn’t even close to being the top paid quarterback, having recently restructured his deal, and he's set to make $8 million in base salary next year.
Below is a look at the the 10 quarterbacks with the highest salaries of the 2015 NFL season.
1) Ben Roethlisberger, $35.25 million
Roethlisberger will have the highest salary among quarterbacks or any NFL player next year, set to make more than $35 million. The Pittsburgh Steelers signal caller doesn’t have the most lucrative contract in the league, but the five-year, $99-million deal that he signed this offseason will pay him $53 million over the next two seasons. Roethlisberger won two Super Bowls since being drafted in 2004, reaching the championship game three times.
2) Cam Newton, $31 million
The Panthers made Newton the No.1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and they appear to be pleased with how the quarterback has produced. His new contract worth $103.8 million over five years this offseason raised a lot of eyebrows around the league. Newton will be paid $67.6 million over the next three years.
3) Matt Ryan, $23.5 million
Ryan was awarded a $103.75-million contract in the 2013 offseason, making him the league’s second-highest paid player at the time the deal was signed. Being paid $63 million over the first three years of the deal, the Atlanta Falcons hoped the quarterback could help them win their first ever Super Bowl. But since signing the deal, Ryan has led Atlanta to a 10-22 record with no playoff appearances.
4) Jay Cutler, $20.5 million
The veteran was given a seven-year contract worth $126 million after the 2014 season, $54 million of which was guaranteed. It didn’t take long before the Chicago Bears reportedly were suffering from “buyer’s remorse,” as Cutler was benched for a game last year. But with no better option at signal caller, the Bears have little choice but to start Cutler in 2015.
5) Drew Brees, $19 million
Setting the NFL record for passing yards in a season earned Brees a big payday, and he signed a five-year, $100-million contract in the 2012 offseason. With a $37 million signing bonus, the quarterback made $40 million in the first year of the deal. But the big contract hasn’t resulted in wins for the New Orleans Saints, who have just one postseason appearance and a sub-.500 record in the last three years.
6) Eli Manning, $17.5 million
The two-time Super Bowl winner is entering the final year of his contract with the New York Giants. The deal was signed in 2009 for $97.5 million, though it was restructured in 2012 to give the Giants some salary cap relief.
7) Tony Romo, $17 million
The Dallas Cowboys gave Romo a six-year deal worth $108 million in 2013, including $55 million in guaranteed money. Romo is the highest paid player in the history of the organization, and he’s been the team’s starting quarterback since the 2006 season. He restructured his deal in April, turning almost his entire 2015 salary into a signing bonus.
8) Philip Rivers, $15.75 million
Rivers’ 2015 salary makes him the third quarterback drafted in 2004 to make the list. He’s looking to rank even higher in 2016 when he becomes a free agent. Rivers signed a six-year, $91-million contract in 2009, and he hasn’t missed a start for the San Diego Chargers since.
9) Peyton Manning, $15 million
When Peyton Manning left the Indianapolis Colts and joined the Denver Broncos in 2012, he signed a five-year deal worth $96 million. Set to make $19 million in 2015, Manning agreed to take a $4 million pay cut for the upcoming season, allowing the team to try to re-sign a few of their free agents.
10) Sam Bradford, $12.985 million
Bradford has achieved the least amount of success of the quarterbacks on this list, and he’s the only one who will be playing for a new team in 2015. He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles on the first day of free agency, and he’s entering the final year of his record-setting rookie contract. The deal totaled more than $78 million, $50 million of which was guaranteed.