In the 2023 NFL league year, the top 10 highest-earning players collectively brought in a staggering $508 million (pre-tax and agent fees). This represents a 4 percent increase compared to the previous year's record earnings of $489 million. However, it's worth noting that the off-field earnings for these top athletes dropped to $69 million in 2023, a significant decrease from the $120 million they generated in 2022.
Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow is the highest-paid athlete of 2023 on annual basis, but Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes ranks as the NFL's most marketable player, estimated to have earned around $20 million in off-field endorsements and ventures. Burrow could be out of the eagerly awaited Tuesday clash against the Rams due to injury.
What's particularly noteworthy is that among the top ten highest-paid NFL players, six of them are black athletes, with Lamar Jackson holding the distinction of being the league's highest-paid player. Forbes arrived at these figures by considering the players' on-field earnings, which encompass salaries and bonuses paid either in 2023 or associated with the 2023 season, for contracts that were inked as of September 9, 2023.
As the season heats up, you can bet on your favourite NFL team from the 32 teams represented in the 2023 season. However, with so many available betting sites to pick from, some expert opinion can be crucial. Check out a list of the top NFL betting sites with the best odds as reviewed by Legit Gambling Sites. Below is a list of the highest-paid athletes:
Forbes ranks Lamar Jackson as the highest-paid NFL player due to his remarkable five-year contract extension with the Ravens, totaling $260 million. Notably, he secured an NFL record-breaking $72.5 million signing bonus as part of this deal, and it includes $185 million in guaranteed money. Jackson, a 26-year-old quarterback, remarkably negotiated this historic contract on his own.
Jackson's contract was influenced by other notable deals in the league, such as Deshaun Watson's $230 million move to the Cleveland Browns and Kyler Murray's $189.5 million contract as part of his $230.5 million deal with the Cardinals.
Lamar Jackson, drafted by the Ravens five years ago, pledged to Ravens fans that they would achieve a Super Bowl with him on the team. Under his leadership, the Ravens, who had previously missed three consecutive playoffs, experienced a revival. He even earned the rare distinction of being the second unanimous NFL MVP selection in his first full season as a starter.
Joe Burrow Secures Title of NFL's Highest-Paid Player with Mega Deal— FirstSportz NFL (@FirstSportz_NFL) September 8, 2023
Check out the NFL's Top 5 Highest-Paid Quarterbacks of 2023:
1. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals: $55 million
2. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers: $52.5 million
3. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore… pic.twitter.com/KDF9ZrYTyU
Moving on to Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, he holds the NFL record for the largest contract, a ten-year, $450 million deal signed in 2020. In addition to his on-field earnings of $40.5 million, Mahomes also rakes in $20 million off the field through endorsement deals with nearly 20 brands. He's also made investments in sports ventures, including the National Women's Soccer League's Kansas City Current and a Major League Pickleball team.
Deshaun Watson, the sixth highest-paid NFL player and third highest-paid Black NFL player according to Forbes, earns $46 million on-field and a modest $0.5 million off-field. He faced a challenging period in 2020 when more than 20 women accused him of sexual harassment, resulting in the loss of his endorsements. Despite maintaining his innocence and avoiding prosecution, he incurred a $5 million NFL fine and an 11-game suspension last season.
Dak Prescott, a 30-year-old quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, ranks as the fourth highest-paid Black NFL player. He earns $31 million on the field and an additional $13 million off the field. Prescott achieved a record NFL signing bonus of $66 million through his four-year, $160 million contract with the Cowboys in 2021. He boasts 15 sponsors, including the likes of Nike's Jordan Brand, Bud Light, and AT&T. Moreover, he received the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his philanthropic endeavors.
Kyler Murray, a 26-year-old quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, earns $39 million on-field and $3.5 million off-field. He has corporate partnerships with notable brands like Nike, BodyArmor, and the esports powerhouse FaZe Clan. Forbes also noted his ventures as an investor, including a $6 million investment in Myna Swap, a marketplace facilitating the sale of physical collectibles through corresponding NFTs.
Finally, Russell Wilson, renowned as one of the NFL's top quarterbacks, recently secured a contract extension with the Denver Broncos, cementing his status as one of the league's highest-paid players. This five-year extension is worth $245 million, with $165 million guaranteed. Forbes reports that Wilson earns $28 million on-field and an additional $13 million off-field. While he was briefly ranked as the third highest-paid NFL player, he now occupies the 10th position after the aforementioned contracts and developments in the league.