Heading into 2014, Ben Roethlisberger, veteran quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is slated to be the highest-earning player in the AFC. Roethlisberger’s 2014 base salary is an impressive $12.1 million with $6.7 million in incentives. Assuming the University of Miami grad hits all the notes, he’ll gross a respectable 18.8 million clams.
Who will his pocket-stuffing counterpart from the NFC be?
According to Sports Illustrated, the average NFL salary in 2013 for a quarterback was $3.8 million. For defensive ends: $2.5 million, defensive tackles: $1.8 million,
wide receivers: $1.8 million and linebackers: $1.8 million. As for running backs, they make less on average than kickers and punters ($1.6 million) at only $1.5 million.
While these numbers may seem counter-intuitive, we saw multiple team-leading earners of the defensive end and lineman varieties in the AFC edition of this ranking.
As I said in the previous chapter of this exposé: We’ll assume here that the stars align for these players. We’ll expect they collect every variety of incentive, bonus and escalator, and earn every penny of non-guaranteed money possible. We are after all optimists, and we hope for riches for all.
So, who’s the highest-paid carrier, catcher, protector, or pursuer of the pigskin on your favorite NFL team? We’ve got the complete breakdown of the heftiest salaries on each team in the NFC.
Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo, Quarterback: $21.7 million
The Cowboys’ 33-year-old gunslinger is in the midst of a seven-year, $119.5 million contract. As an element of the contract, Tony Romo is entitled to a $25 million signing bonus, distributed across five seasons. In 2014, Romo is due to receive a $13.5 million base salary, and the aforementioned $5 million bonus. Additionally, No.9 is eligible for $3.2 in incentives in 2014.
New York Giants: Eli Manning, Quarterback: $20.4 million
The highest-earning player at any position in the NFL in 2013, Eli Manning will reprise that role in 2014. The younger Manning brother inked a seven-year $106.9 million contract in 2009 after a 2008 season in which he completed 60.3 percent of his passes, threw for more than 3,200 yards, and completed 21 touchdown passes. Eli could earn as much as $20.4 million in 2014, with a $15.15 million base salary.
Philadelphia Eagles: DeSean Jackson, Wide Receiver: $12.5 million
The 5’9’’ receiver from Cali signed a five-year, $47 million contract in 2012. DeSean Jackson’s 2014 contract assures him a base salary of $10.2 million, $2 million of his signing bonus, and the possibility of $250,000 in additional incentives. D-Jax was the sixth highest-paid wideout in the NFL in 2013.
Washington Redskins: Trent Williams, Left Tackle: $10.9 million
The second-highest-paid Washington Redskin in 2013, Trent Williams could earn $10.9 million in 2014. The fourth overall pick in 2010 out of Oklahoma, Williams signed a six-year, $60 million contract in 2010. Although the 6’5’’ tackle is raking it in, he was only the sixth-highest-earning LT in the NFL in 2013.
Chicago Bears: Julius Peppers, Defensive End: $18.1 million
The former Carolina Panther, who notched 11.5 sacks in 2012, is slated to earn a base salary of $13.9 million in 2014. With incentives, Julius Peppers could earn more than $18 million. The 2002 Defensive Rookie of the Year, who signed an $84 million contract in 2010, joins Jared Allen and Mario Williams as the highest-paid defensive ends in the NFL.
Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, Defensive Tackle: $21.4 million
Ndamukong Suh paid out nearly $140,000 in fines in 2013. However, as he’s in the midst of a five-year, $65 million contract, the former University of Nebraska standout isn’t likely too concerned. Suh, as a function of a 2012 contract restructuring, is due to receive a base salary of $11.5 million in 2014, with a possible $9.8 million in bonus money coming his way.
Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rogers, Quarterback: $17.9 million
The 24th overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft, Aaron Rogers signed a seven-year, $130 million contract in 2013 on the strength of five standout seasons after taking over the reigns from Brett Favre. Prior to 2013, Rogers had rarely missed a start, throwing for more than 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns every year, in addition to leading his team to a Super Bowl victory.
Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson, Running Back: $14.4 million
Adrain Peterson deservingly received the biggest paycheck of 2013 among NFL running backs. A.P. has averaged 5 yards per carry across his career, in addition to running for more than 2,000 yards in 2012 after coming back from a career-threatening ACL and MCL tear. In 2014, the Oklahoma alum is due a base salary of $11.7 million, plus a $2.4 signing bonus, and a potential $250,000 in incentives.
Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan, Quarterback: $17.5 million
Matty Ice signed a six year extension worth $113.7 million with the Atlanta Falcons in 2013. The Boston College alum is slated to receive a $9.5 million base salary in 2014 with a potential $8 million in escalators. Indeed, $42 million of Matt Ryan’s $113.7 million is fully guaranteed.
Carolina Panthers: Charles Johnson, Defensive End: $16.4 million
It’s not Cam Newton that will be collecting the most coin from the Carolina Panthers in 2014. Rather, defensive end Charles Johnson, who forced a ridiculous seven fumbles in 2012, could earn as much as $16.4 million.
New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees, Quarterback: $18.4 million
As excited as he must be to be the pitchman for NyQuil, Drew Brees is likely happier about the five-year, $100 million contract he signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012. Brees could earn as much as $18.4 million in 2014, with $10.7 guaranteed.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Darrelle Revis, Cornerback: $16 million
Darrelle Revis is due to set the GDP of Revis Island at a minimum of $13 million in 2014. With incentives, the former New York Jet could earn $16 million. In 2013, Revis beat out Cortland Finnegan to become the top-earning defensive back of the year.
Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, Wide Receiver: $18 million
The second-highest-paid wide receiver in the league behind Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans, 30-year-old Larry Fitzgerald is due to receive a base salary of $12.7 million in 2014. With incentives, the former Pitt standout could gross $18 million for the year.
St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, Quarterback: $17.6 million
Sam Bradford suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2013. Before that, though, he was off to a solid start: The former Oklahoma standout completed 60 percent of his passes and tossed 14 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions. The Rams, then, are happy to hand Bradford a base salary of $14 million in 2014.
San Francisco 49ers: Carlos Rogers, Cornerback: $8 million
It’s not Colin Kaepernick who will collect the fattest paycheck in 2014—the 49ers are actually getting incredible value from Kap, whose four-year, $5 million contract was signed when the player was an unproven backup—rather, it’s cornerback Carlos Rogers who could earn as much as $8 million in 2014.
Seattle Seahawks: Percy Harvin, Wide Receiver: $13.4 million
When former Minnesota Viking, Percy Harvin joined with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013, the speedster signed a six-year, $64 million contract. However, the oft-injured Harvin only played in one game in 2013, making it likely the Seahawks won’t be keen on keeping him around for a base salary of $11 million in 2014. Of all the salaries on this list, this has to be the least sensible payout.
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