Top 10 Richest NFL Players Of All Time (Forbes Highest-Paid NFL Players In 2023) – Thedistin (2023)

Who are therichest NFL playersin the world? Here’s a list of the wealthiest and highest-paid NFL players in 2023.

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league that has captured the hearts of millions of fans across the United States and around the world. The NFL is known for its fast-paced, hard-hitting action, as well as the incredible skill and athleticism of its players.

With the growing popularity of the sport, the financial rewards for top NFL players have also increased dramatically.

In this article, TheDistin will take a closer look at the current richest and highest-paid NFL players, exploring their careers, earnings, and what makes them stand out in the world of professional football.

Top 10 NFL Players in the world

It’s a pretty well-known fact that NFL players are paid astronomical salaries, plus the opportunities for sponsorships and promotions only add another large chunk of money to their ever-expanding bank balances.

But who exactly are the richest NFL players of all time? Do any of the current crops make it onto the list? And how many million exactly does it take to become one of the wealthiest NFL players around?

Find out below, starting with the ‘poorest’…

10. John Elway – $145 Million

Top 10 Richest NFL Players Of All Time (Forbes Highest-Paid NFL Players In 2023) – Thedistin (1)

There aren’t many bigger names in Denver than John Elway. The quarterback spent his entire career at the Broncos, leading them to two Super Bowls, and is now the general manager and executive vice president of football operations.

Elway earns a cool salary of around $3.75 million per year at the Broncos. Much of his money has come from savvy business deals, though. He owns four steakhouses and also owned five auto dealerships, which he sold in 1997 for $82.5 million.

Let’s also not forget his many endorsement deals too, including for Chevrolet, Sprint, and Nestle.

9. Eli Manning – $160 Million

Top 10 Richest NFL Players Of All Time (Forbes Highest-Paid NFL Players In 2023) – Thedistin (2)

The second Manning on the list, Eli spent his entire career with the New York Giants, before retiring in January 2020. In his time at the Giants, he won the Super Bowl twice, being named Super Bowl MVP on both occasions.

Eli Manning is a retired American professional football quarterback who has a net worth of $160 million.

Manning is one of thehighest-paidNFL players of all time, earning a total of $18 million from salary alone over his career. He has also been sponsored by a number of high-profile companies, including Samsung, Reebok, and Kraft.

At one point, he was earning around $8 million to $10 million per year from just endorsements.

8. Drew Brees – $160 Million

Top 10 Richest NFL Players Of All Time (Forbes Highest-Paid NFL Players In 2023) – Thedistin (3)

Next up, we come to Drew Brees, the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints.

Brees has been in the NFL since 2001 and has played in Louisiana since 2006. His career highlight so far is winning Super Bowl XLIV and being named Super Bowl MVP.

Brees recently agreed on a new contract with the Saints, which will be worth $50 million over two seasons. His wealth also comes from themany different restaurantshe owns.

He owns 25% of Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar, plus he’s a Jimmy John’s franchise owner.

As of 2023, according to Celebrity Net Worth, Drew Brees has an approximate net worth of $160 million. The player is the 22nd richest athlete in the world.

7. Russell Wilson – $165 Million

Top 10 Richest NFL Players Of All Time (Forbes Highest-Paid NFL Players In 2023) – Thedistin (4)

The Seattle Seahawks QB who led the franchise to its first and only Super Bowl win back in 2014,Russell Wilsonis among the highest-paid NFL players. He was drafted by the Seahawks in 2012 and has been there ever since.

What is Russell Wilson’s net worth? Russell Wilson is an American professional football player who has a net worth of $165 million and earns around $22 million annually.

Wilson currently heads the list of the highest-paid NFL players, earning around$35 million a seasonfrom the Seahawks.

He also has endorsement deals with some of the biggest companies on the planet, including Nike, Bose, and Mercedes. Wilson also has a number of lucrative business investments.

6. Steve Young – $200 Million

Top 10 Richest NFL Players Of All Time (Forbes Highest-Paid NFL Players In 2023) – Thedistin (5)

Next up we have Steve Young, another quarterback. He played with the 49ers for 13 seasons, winning the Super Bowl three times while there.

He was backup to Joe Montana for the first two Super Bowls, however, was MVP in Super Bowl XXIX.

Young earned a lot of cash during his playing career, but most of his riches came after he retired.

He is the co-founder and managing director of Huntsman Gay Global Capital, a private equity firm that now has assets worth approximately $4.3 billion.

What is Steve Young’s net worth? Steve Young is a retired American Football quarterback, investor, and sports commentator who has a net worth of $200 million.

5. John Madden – $200 Million

Top 10 Richest NFL Players Of All Time (Forbes Highest-Paid NFL Players In 2023) – Thedistin (6)

There’s no doubting the fact that John Madden is one of the most famous football coaches of all time. He makes this list though as he was also a part of the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad in the 1958 season.

Madden is on this list for one main reason: his association with the hit game franchise from EA Sports.

He also earned considerable sums of money from broadcasting, plus he starred in commercials for a variety of companies, including Verizon Wireless, Miller Lite, and Outback Steakhouse.

What was John Madden’s net worth? John Madden was a legendary NFL player, sportscaster, and entrepreneur who had a net worth of $200 millionat the time of his death and earned around $10 million annually.

4. Tom Brady – $250 Million

Top 10 Richest NFL Players Of All Time (Forbes Highest-Paid NFL Players In 2023) – Thedistin (7)

The GOAT spent 19 seasons with the New England Patriots, winning a record six Super Bowls.

He has recently signed for the Buccaneers and is now one of the highest-paid NFL players.

Brady’s contract with the Buccaneers is worth aguaranteed $50 millionover two years. That’s not all though, as he could earn an extra $4.5 million per year through incentives.

The superstar quarterback also earns money through endorsements with big-name brands like Aston Martin, Under Armour, and Movado.

What is Tom Brady’s net worth? Tom Brady is an American professional football quarterback, spokesman, and entrepreneur. Tom Brady has a net worth of $250 million and makes around $30 million annually.

3. Peyton Manning – $250 Million

Top 10 Richest NFL Players Of All Time (Forbes Highest-Paid NFL Players In 2023) – Thedistin (8)

Pretty much everyone in the US has heard of Peyton Manning. The two-time Super Bowl winner and 14 x Pro Bowl player spent most of his career as a quarterback at the Indianapolis Colts, before spending his final few playing years in Denver.

Peyton Manning loves endorsements and has earned money from a huge number of companies, including ESPN, MasterCard, and Reebok. He also owns 21 Papa John’s franchises.

It has recently been strongly suggested that Manning will turn to commentary soon, which would see him earning an eight-figure salary. Watch this space…

What is Peyton Manning’s net worth? American NFL quarterback, Peyton Manning has a net worth of $250 million and makes a salary of 18 million annually.

2. Roger Staubach – $600 Million

Top 10 Richest NFL Players Of All Time (Forbes Highest-Paid NFL Players In 2023) – Thedistin (9)

Next up is someone you probably didn’t expect to be so rich – Roger Staubach.

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback (you’ll find a lot of QBs in this list) and two-time Super Bowl winner played for 10 years, retiring in 1979.

While Staubach certainly made a good living from the Cowboys, most of his riches have come from other businesses. The Staubach Company was a real estate business he was a partner in, and it sold for$613 millionin 2008.

He has also earned money from advertisements and color commentary.

What is Roger Staubach’s net worth? American former professional football quarterback, Roger Staubach has a net worth of $600 million.

1.Jerry Richardson – $2 Billion

Top 10 Richest NFL Players Of All Time (Forbes Highest-Paid NFL Players In 2023) – Thedistin (10)

Who is the richest NFL player of all time? American entrepreneur and NFL club owner Jerry Richardson have a $2 billion dollar networth. This makes him the wealthiest NFL player of all time even though he has passed on.

The former owner of the Carolina Panthers – a franchise that was sold for$2.3 billionin 2018 amid misconduct allegations – was a player back in the late 1950s, taking to the field for the Baltimore Colts, with whom he won the NFL Championship.

Richardson didn’t get rich from football though. Instead, he earned money via Hardee’s franchises, with his first coming in 1961.

He would end up owning 50% of Hardee’s, as well as having interests in many other businesses. By 1993, he was rich enough to establish the Carolina Panthers, the NFL’s 29thfranchise.

What is Jerry Richardson’s net worth? Jerry Richardson is an American businessman and NFL team owner who has a net worth of $2 billion dollars.


The richest NFL players have made names for themselves in the sporting world with their numerous wins. These athletes started their careers at tender ages and have grown into the world’s best athletes.

The top 10 richest NFL players in 2023 and their current net worth are;

  1. Jerry Richardson – $2 Billion
  2. Roger Staubach – $600 Million
  3. Peyton Manning – $250 Million
  4. Tom Brady – $250 Million
  5. John Madden – $200 Million
  6. Steve Young – $200 Million
  7. Russell Wilson – $165 Million
  8. Drew Brees – $160 Million
  9. Eli Manning – $160 Million
  10. John Elway – $145 Million

How Much Do NFL Players Make?

The average NFL player earns around$2.7 million per year. While some, such as Russell Wilson and Tom Brady, earn tens of millions a year though, many rookies earn ‘just’ $480,000 per year.

It won’t surprise anyone to learn that quarterbacks demand the biggest salaries, with the average yearly wage for a quarterback being just under $5 million.

Left tackles then earn the next highest salaries, taking home an average of over $3.6 million per year.

On the defensive side, defensive ends are the biggest earners, with an average salary of over $2.8 million per year. The long snapper is the lowest-paid player, but they still earn an average of just under $890,000 per year.

NFL vs Other Sports Stars

But how do NFL players compare to other sports stars around the world? Well, the top NFL players earn about the same as thehighest-paidsoccer players, such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Most football players don’t quite have as much money as some of thehighest-paid Olympiansthough, however many NFL players not on this list still have bigger fortunes than therichest poker players.


Who is the richest NFL player in the world 2023? ›

Lamar Jackson finally has his deal with the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens and Jackson have agreed to terms on a five-year $260 million contract making him the highest-paid player in the NFL averaging $52 million-per-year.

Who is the highest paid NFL player in NFL history? ›

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (10 years, $450M) Mahomes laps the field in these rankings with the enormous 10-year pact he signed with the Chiefs prior to the 2020-21 season.

Who has the most guaranteed money per year in the NFL? ›

Most guaranteed money in contracts
PlayerGuaranteed MoneyYear Signed
Josh Allen$150 million2021
Patrick Mahomes$141.5 million2020
Matthew Stafford$130 million2022
Dak Prescott$126 milion2021
7 more rows
Apr 27, 2023

Who is the first NFL player to make over $1000000 a year? ›

Jones was ranked as the best wide receiver in the draft. The $2.1 million contract he received (equivalent to $6,900,000 in 2021) was the first in the NFL worth over a million dollars.

Who is the richest athlete in the world 2023? ›


Ronaldo tops the athlete rich list for the first time since 2017 and sits just ahead of fierce rival Lionel Messi in second. According to Forbes, the Argentine earned $130 million last year with his Paris-Saint Germain teammate Kylian Mbappé just behind on $120 million.

Who is the highest-paid athlete 2023? ›

The Top 10 list is as follows:
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer), $136 million.
  • Lionel Messi (soccer), $130 million.
  • Kylian Mbappe (soccer), $120 million.
  • LeBron James (basketball), $119.5 million.
  • Canelo Alvarez (boxing), $110 million.
  • Dustin Johnson (golf), $107 million.
  • Phil Mickelson (golf), $106 million.
May 4, 2023

Who is the highest paid athlete of all time? ›

Michael Jordan

Who is the highest paid athlete in the NFL right now? ›

Here is Over The Cap's full list of the top 11 earners in the league by annual average salary: 1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens: $52 million. 2.

Who has the highest paid football contract ever? ›

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nassr) - $200 million/year. Over 20 years into his professional career, Ronaldo has become the first man to score in five World Cups. So perhaps it's no surprise he ranks at the top of the list of highest-paid football players in the world.

What NFL team brings in the most money? ›

With 800 million U.S. dollars in revenue in 2020, the Dallas Cowboys are the highest-grossing franchise in the NFL. The Cowboys are the most valuable NFL franchise as well, as the franchise was valued at eight billion U.S. dollars in 2021.

Who is the highest paid quarterback in NFL history? ›

Just 10 days later, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson reportedly reached a record-breaking extension with a five-year deal for $260 million, making him the highest paid player in NFL history.

Who makes the most endorsement money in the NFL? ›

The top ranking NFL players in terms of endorsements during the 2021 season were: Rob Gronkowski, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Russell Wilson, and Travis Kelce. Each player has over 25 brand deals; Gronk leads the way with 30 deals leveraging his 8.7 million social followers.

What is the lowest paid NFL player? ›

While Tyrone Swoopes was the lowest paid player in the NFL in 2021, looking at the low end of league earners in 2022 isn't as transparent.

Who is the first highest paid athletes in football? ›

Topping the list is Cristiano Ronaldo, who made an estimated $136 million over the last 12 months as he jumped from England's Premier League to Saudi Arabian soccer club Al Nassr.

Who was the first athlete to make $1 million? ›

1970's: The million dollar contract

The 1970's saw the first million-dollar sporting contract signed. In 1972, NHL player Bobby Hull made a deal with the Winnipeg Jets, signing a 10-year deal worth $1 million. At the time the sum was considered absurd.

Who is the top 10 richest athletes? ›

  • #1 • $136 million. Cristiano Ronaldo. ...
  • #2 • $130 million. Lionel Messi. ...
  • #3 • $120 million. Kylian Mbappé ...
  • #4 • $119.5 million. LeBron James. ...
  • #5 • $110 million. Canelo Álvarez. ...
  • #6 • $107 million. Dustin Johnson. ...
  • #7 • $106 million. Phil Mickelson. ...
  • #8 • $100.4 million. Stephen Curry.
May 2, 2023

Who are the top 5 highest paid athletes in the world? ›

100 Highest-Paid Athletes in the World 2022
2022 RankAthlete2021 Rank
1LeBron James5
2Lionel Messi2
3Cristiano Ronaldo3
58 more rows

Who is the highest paid athlete by contract? ›

Highest value global sports contracts 2022

The biggest sports contract of all time, worth an estimated 674 million U.S. dollars, belonged to soccer star Lionel Messi. However, these large contracts are not limited to just soccer, but are also seen in other sports such as basketball, baseball, and American football.

Who will be the highest paid NBA player in 2023? ›

Curry Stephen Curry

Do professional athletes get overpaid? ›

Professional athletes are not overpaid. To some this may come as a shock, but just because an athlete like Lebron James, Manny Ramirez, Kobe Bryant, CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, etc... sign huge contracts for over $20 million per season doesn't necessarily mean that professional athletes are overpaid.

How much money does Ronaldo have in total? ›

Ronaldo was ranked third on Forbes' 2022 list of the highest paid athletes in the world, with earnings of $115 million (£93m), which was a reduction in $5m on the previous year.
What is Cristiano Ronaldo's net worth?
Net worth:$500 million (£363m)
Date of Birth:February 5, 1985
Country of birth:Portugal
1 more row
Jan 18, 2023

What athletes are billionaires? ›

Here are the newest sports billionaires on Forbes' 2023 World's Billionaires list, in net worth order.
  • Mark Davis. Net worth: $1.9 billion | Team: Las Vegas Raiders | Citizenship: U.S. ...
  • Amy Adams Strunk. Net worth: $1.7 billion | Team: Tennessee Titans | Citizenship: U.S. ...
  • Irving Grousbeck. ...
  • Tiger Woods. ...
  • LeBron James.
Apr 4, 2023

Who is the number 1 athlete net worth? ›

Top 10 Richest Athletes In The World (Overview)
RankAthleteNet Worth
1Vince McMahon$3 Billion USD
2Michael B. Jordan$2.2 Billion USD
3Anna Kasprzak$1.4 Billion USD
4Ion Tiriac$1. 2 Billion USD
6 more rows
May 2, 2023

What was Michael Jordan's highest paid year? ›

Michael Jordan was the first NBA player to sign a contract worth over $20 million and in fact it exceeded $30 million as well in a season (1996-97) and (1997-98) where he earned $33,140,000, both are the largest 1 year contracts in NBA history; this was a record he had held for more than 30 years, until Stephen Curry ...

Who is the highest paid pro athlete USA? ›

Stephen Curry

Curry signed a five-year, $201 million contract agreement with the Warriors in 2021, making him the league's highest paid player. This contract, together with endorsement partnerships with Under Armour and British American Tobacco, is projected to add considerably to his entire revenue.

What athlete makes the most money per year? ›

2021 list
1Conor McGregorMixed martial arts
2Lionel MessiAssociation football
3Cristiano RonaldoAssociation football
4Dak PrescottAmerican football
6 more rows

Who is the No 1 richest footballer in the world? ›

Who is the No 1 richest footballer in the world? The all-time richest footballer in the world is Brunei's prince, Faiq Bolkiah. The 24-year-old, as of 2023, has an estimated net worth of $20 billion.

Who is projected #1 QB 2023? ›

The 2023 Quarterback class by contrast has three potential stars in the shape of Ohio State's CJ Stroud, Alabama's Bryce Young, and Kentucky's Will Levis and also contains a number of future NFL players with promising starting potential. Bryce Young, the 2021 Heisman trophy winner is our top-ranked player.

How much is Tom Brady's net worth? ›

That endorsement total would put Brady's net worth around $512 million if you combine his on- and off-field earnings.

Who is number one in the NFL 2023? ›

The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl champions, grabbing the No. 1 spot in the 2023 NFL power rankings. With the 2022 NFL season over, we can now look ahead to the 2023 NFL season.


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