The quarterback is probably the most important player on the football field. He calls out the plays and changes it based on his reading of the situation. A team usually lives or dies by its quarterback and the great ones will forever be remembered. Some of the best of all time include the likes of Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, John Elway, Bart Starr, Dan Marino and Otto Graham.
It comes as no surprise that quarterbacks are the top-paid players. The six highest earners in the NFL are all quarterbacks, as they usually command not only the best salaries, but also get a lot of endorsement deals. If based only on the average salary per year of their contracts, which players are raking in the most? Here now is a list of the top 10 highest earning quarterbacks in 2013 based on the contract average.
10 Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers - $15.3 million
Philip Rivers is the quarterback of the San Diego Chargers. He was chosen fourth overall in 2004 by the New York Giants, but was promptly traded to the Chargers for the first pick, Eli Manning. He became the starter after Drew Brees moved to New Orleans and immediately led the Chargers to a 14-2 record. He has been to the Pro Bowl four times. He signed a $91.8 million contract with the Chargers that will expire in 2016, with 41.6 percent of the money guaranteed.
9 Matt Schaub, Houston Texans - $15.5 million
Matt Schaub is the quarterback of the Houston Texans. The Atlanta Falcons drafted him in the third round before he moved to the Texans in 2007. A two-time Pro Bowler, he was the passing yards leader in 2009 and he holds every team passing record. He has a $62 million contract to expire in 2017, with 47 percent of the money guaranteed.
8 Eli Manning, New York Giants - $16.25 million
Eli Manning is the quarterback of the New York Giants. He was chosen first overall by the Chargers in 2004 and the Giants immediately traded for him. He has won the Super Bowl twice, winning MVP award both times. He holds the NFL record for most fourth quarter touchdown passes in a season, most game-winning drives in a season, and most road wins in a season/postseason by a starting quarterback. His $97.5 million contract expires on 2016, with 35.9 percent of the money guaranteed.
7 Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions - $17.67 million
Matt Stafford is the quarterback of the Detroit Lions. He was the first pick in the 2009 draft. He holds the record for most passing touchdowns by a rookie in a game, and was also the fourth quarterback to pass for more than 5,000 yards in a season. He has a $53 million contract until 2018, with 78.3 percent guaranteed.
6 Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys - $18 million
Tony Romo is the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. He was undrafted out of college but became the quarterback of the Cowboys in 2006. He has been to the Pro Bowl three times. He has a $108 million contract until 2020, with 37 percent of the money guaranteed.
5 Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos - $19.2 million
Peyton Manning is the quarterback of the Denver Broncos. The Indianapolis Colts made him the first pick in the 1998 draft. He led the team to a Super Bowl, even as he became the fastest to reach 50,000 passing yards, 4,000 completions and 400 passing touchdowns. He is also a four-time MVP and 12-time Pro Bowler. A neck injury forced him out of the 2011 season. The Colts released him, but the Broncos signed him up last season to a $96 million contract up to 2017, with 18.8 percent of the money guaranteed.
4 Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints - $20 million
Drew Brees is the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints. The Chargers drafted him in 2001, but he transferred to the Saints in 2006. He has won the Super Bowl and has been to the Pro Bowl seven times. He holds the record for most passing yards in a season and most consecutive games with a passing touchdown. He has also been twice named as the league’s Offensive Player of the Year. His $100 million contract runs until 2017, with 40 percent of the money guaranteed.
3 Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens - $20.1 million
Joe Flacco is the quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, which chose him in the 2008 draft. He was the Rookie of the Year for that season. He then won the Super Bowl last season in a great postseason run in which he tied the great Joe Montana for most touchdown passes in a single postseason without an interception. He cashed in with a $120.6 million contract until 2019, with 24 percent of the money guaranteed.
2 Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons - $20.75 million
Matt Ryan is the quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, which chose him third overall in the 2008 draft. He holds the team record for single season touchdowns; passing yards; pass attempts; and completions. He was named the league Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2008. He led the Falcons to the best record in the conference last season, but lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the conference championship. He has a $103.75 million contract until 2019, with 40.5 percent guaranteed.
1 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers - $22 million
Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, which picked him in the 2005 draft. He backed up Brett Favre in his first three years, but by 2010, he was already leading the team to the Super Bowl. He is the all-time league leader in regular season passer rating and third in postseason passer rating. He also owns the single season passer rating record. He has a $110 million contract that will expire in 2020, of which 49.1 percent of the money is guaranteed.
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