Two weeks into the season and the NFL is already experiencing some frenzied and passionate discussions and debates. The Seattle Seahawks seem to be the real deal, while Peyton Manning’s performance so far looks straight out of a video game as he threw for seven touchdowns in week 1.
But the lineups are still very fluid, so it is hard to get a grasp of the final rosters of each team. This means that it is also difficult to point out each team’s exact payroll. Ryan Clady, who had just signed a massive $57.5 million contract with the Denver Broncos, got injured in week 2 and will be out for the rest of the season, so that will also impact on the team’s payroll.
Since it is not yet possible to pinpoint the actual total team salaries, it is prudent to just look at the amount each team will pay for their top 51 base salaries. Based on this criterion, here now is a list of the top 10 NFL teams with the highest payrolls. Signing and other bonuses, as well as dead money allocated for players no longer with the team, are not included.
10. Indianapolis Colts – $75.8 million
The Indianapolis Colts let go of future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning after he missed the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury. Manning has been lighting it up with gaudy numbers with his new team, but it is not as if the Colts were left with nothing. They got Andrew Luck, but it seems like they will have to ride their luck on their quarterback all the way. The defense has been horrible so far and need to start holding their opponents down.
9. Denver Broncos – $77 million
The Denver Broncos could not have had a worse start to their schedule, as they were tasked to meet the last two Super Bowl champions for their first two games. But guess what? Two games into the season, and two champions have fallen by the wayside of the Broncos’ amazing runs. Peyton Manning beat the Baltimore Ravens in week 1 with his touchdown passes. In week 2, he was not able to match the seven touchdown passes, but it was still more than enough to easily beat his brother Eli and the New York Giants. Considering that the team is still without Von Miller due to suspension, the Broncos are looking mighty good right now. Once Miller and Champ Bailey get back in the fold, the absence of Ryan Clady might not be felt anymore.
8. San Diego Chargers – $77.2 million
The San Diego Chargers is slowly turning the corner and becoming a good team. In its first game this season, they lost to the Houston Texans after starting out hot in the game, only to die down towards the end. The following week, the team was able to limit the Philadelphia Eagles’ passing game even as their offense continued to show the way in the first half. The second half saw them sputtering again, but this time, they were able to hold on. Winning the tough games will serve the Chargers in good stead.
7. Houston Texans – $81.7 million
The Houston Texans are showing the league that they know how to win, no matter what. In two games this season, they started out real slow, only to creep up and do just well enough to get a victory in the end. Their fans don’t care about how they start, so long as they finish strongly.
6. Kansas City Chiefs – $83.2 million
The Kansas City Chiefs won two games last season. Two games in for this year, and the Chiefs have matched that record. Andy Reid really must have some kind of magic. He has a decent quarterback in Alex Smith and a decent defense as well. Reid knows how to manage what he has got, and he has managed it well enough to score a quality win over the Dallas Cowboys.
5. Tennessee Titans – $83.3 million
The Tennessee Titans brought down the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 1. In week 2, they almost brought down another top team in the Texans if only Jake Locker did not miss a pass to Kenny Britt, or if only the secondary held its ground. Still, the Titans are surprising a lot of people with their decent performance.
4. Minnesota Vikings – $87.5 million
The Minnesota Vikings made the playoffs in 2012, but this season has not started out very well for them. In week 2, the team was on track to record a victory. It scored 30 points, yet key mistakes by quarterback Christian Ponder did them in. None was more crucial than the pass intercepted and returned by Tim Jennings for a touchdown. But aside from Ponder, the coaching staff has to ponder about what to do with the secondary. Only Harrison Smith has performed creditably so far.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $91.9 million
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one of the highest base salaries in the NFL, but that fact has not been enough to stave off two heart-wrenching defeats in the first two weeks of the season. They lost in the last seconds to the New York Jets, and followed it up with another defeat to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints after playing 55 minutes of rock solid defense.
2. Chicago Bears – $93.8 million
The Chicago Bears have been getting good breaks the first couple of weeks of the season. The Cincinnati Bengals committed an atrocious penalty towards the end of the game that helped allow the Bears to win. The secondary of the Vikings also practically handed the Bears a victory on a silver platter. Jay Cutler has done well and he hopes to keep up his level of play.
1. Seattle Seahawks – $95.1 million
The Seattle Seahawks showed off their title aspirations early in the season by beating the defending conference champions San Francisco 49ers. Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch took care of business, and it get scary to think that Percy Harvin is not even there yet.
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