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The NFL’s 25 highest-paid players in 2023, from Aaron Rodgers to Patrick Mahomes to Geno Smith

The NFL has managed to turn its free-agent shopping into an offseason spectacle, and it’s easy to see why.

Every March, NFL teams dole out hundreds of millions of dollars to players with one goal in mind: building their team into a Super Bowl champion. As the salary cap has risen, so, too, has the overall amounts of NFL contracts. That has created a rotating crop of highest-paid players.

The 2023 NFL offseason is expected to be no different. Several quarterbacks are in line for lucrative, long-term extensions, including Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson.

Already, Derek Carr, Daniel Jones and Geno Smith have agreed to nine-figure deals. That has created a great deal of change from the list of the NFL’s highest-paid players as of the close of the 2022 season.

Of course, these massive contracts aren’t just signed around the start of the free-agent period. In fact, a lot of them are agreed upon in the summer as contract extensions. But the new league year does serve as the catalyst for these deals, and fans will surely be thinking a lot about the NFL’s top-paid players in the coming weeks.

Here’s a look at the league’s highest-paid players for 2023, with all salary information coming via

This story will be updated as contracts are signed throughout the 2023 offseason.

NFL’s highest-paid players 2023

1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

  • Annual salary: $50.3 million

Rodgers remains the NFL’s highest-paid player entering the 2023 NFL offseason, but will that last? A potential Lamar Jackson extension could surpass this total, and Rodgers himself could end his reign by retiring. Rodgers took a small step back in 2022 after back-to-back MVP campaigns. He completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 3,695 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while leading the Packers to an 8-9 record. He will get another chance to live up to his contract during his Age 39 season.

2. Russell Wilson, QB, Broncos

  • Annual salary: $48.5 million

The Broncos are regretting the massive extension they handed Wilson after acquiring him from the Seahawks last year. Denver was 4-11 in his starts, and Wilson completed a career-low 60.5 percent of his passes, for 3,524 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Denver is hoping that Sean Payton can resurrect Wilson’s career after the Nathaniel Hackett disaster, but it would take a dramatic improvement for him to provide a solid return on the team’s investment.

3. Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals

  • Annual salary: $46.1 million

Murray also struggled to live up to his contract extension in 2022. The Cardinals were 3-8 in his starts, and Murray posted a career-worst 87.2 passer rating before suffering a torn ACL against the Patriots. It isn’t clear whether Murray will be back for the start of the 2023 NFL season, so Cardinals fans may have to wait until 2024 to see if he can put together a full season as a solid starter.

4. Deshaun Watson, QB, Browns

  • Annual salary: $46 million

Watson got a fully guaranteed $230 million contract from the Browns but played just six games during the 2022 NFL season because of a league suspension. He completed just 58.2 percent of his passes for 1,102 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions as the Browns went 3-3 in those six games. He was largely outperformed by Jacoby Brissett, the starter for Cleveland’s first 11 games, but it’s worth noting that Watson had been out of action for almost two years when he returned to the lineup. He could improve in 2023 as he continues to shake off the rust.

5. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs

  • Annual salary: $45 million

Whoever thought that a $450 million contract would look like a steal? Mahomes is the NFL’s best quarterback right now and is fresh off his second Super Bowl title in his five-year run as a starter. He won his second MVP award in 2022 after posting 5,250 yards, 41 touchdowns and 12 interceptions even without Tyreek Hill. Clearly, he is well worth the money Kansas City is giving him, and in reality, he should be the NFL’s highest-paid player.

Josh Allen

6. Josh Allen, QB, Bills

  • Annual salary: $43 million

Like Mahomes, Allen is looking like a bit of a bargain after some of the recent quarterback signings. He hasn’t had nearly as much postseason success as Mahomes, but Allen was in the MVP race for most of last year and performed well before being slowed by an elbow injury. Overall, he completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 4,238 yards, 35 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while adding 762 yards and seven scores on the ground. If he can cut down on the picks, he will have a chance to be win an MVP in the not-so-distant future.

T-7. Matthew Stafford, QB, Rams

  • Annual salary: $40 million

Stafford got an extension last offseason after leading the Rams to a win in Super Bowl 56. His follow-up to that wasn’t great; he was placed into the NFL concussion protocol twice before missing the final four games of the season with a spinal cord contusion. The 35-year-old led the Rams to a 3-6 record in nine starts in 2022 while completing 68 percent of his passes for 2,087 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

T-7. Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys

  • Annual salary: $40 million

Prescott is paid the same annually as Stafford, but the Cowboys starter had a better season in 2022. He wasn’t spotless, as evidenced by his league-leading 15 interceptions, but he helped lead Dallas to a 12-5 record despite missing four games. Jerry Jones has mentioned working out an extension with Prescott, so expect the veteran to remain in Dallas long term.

T-7. Daniel Jones, QB, Giants

  • Annual salary: $40 million

Jones and Prescott are, for the moment, tied for highest-paid quarterback in the NFC East. Jones is coming off a breakout season that saw him complete 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,205 yards, 15 touchdowns and five interceptions while running for 708 yards and seven touchdowns. Jones will need to prove that his great season wasn’t a fluke, but his massive decrease in turnovers from year to year is a great sign for his future.

10. Derek Carr, QB, Saints

  • Annual salary: $37.5 million

Carr was the first quarterback domino of the 2023 NFL offseason to fall. He agreed to a four-year, $150 million deal with the Saints after being released by the Raiders. That reunited him with Dennis Allen, who named him the Raiders’ starter in 2014. Carr will hope to bounce back after a down year during which he completed just 60.8 percent of his passes and matched his career high with 14 interceptions.

Kirk Cousins

11. Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings

  • Annual salary: $35 million

Cousins has been among the highest-paid quarterbacks since joining the Vikings as a free agent five years ago. He has been consistently productive for Minnesota, averaging 4,448 yards, 33 touchdowns and 11 interceptions per 17 games played with the team. Despite his statistical success, Cousins has led the Vikings to just one playoff win; the team will hope that total increases greatly in 2023.

12. Jared Goff, QB, Lions

  • Annual salary: $33.5 million

Goff was the Rams’ starting quarterback during Sean McVay’s first trip to the Super Bowl in 2019. He got a big-time deal after that but became much-maligned because of his penchant for turnovers. He was sent to the Lions as part of the Matthew Stafford trade and has since improved his perception under Dan Campbell. Goff completed 65.1 percent of his passes for 4,438 yards, 29 touchdowns and a career-low seven interceptions while leading Detroit to a 9-8 record last year. He will give the Lions a chance to make the playoffs if he continues to thrive in Ben Johnson’s offense.

13. Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens

  • Annual salary: $32.4 million

The Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, and that will make him one of the highest-paid players at his position in 2023. His one-year tender will pay him $32.4 million; for context, he made $32.8 million in his first eight seasons combined. Jackson is looking for a long-term deal — and a fully guaranteed one, at that — but it isn’t clear whether he will get it. The 2019 MVP threw for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2022 while adding 764 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in 12 starts.

14. Aaron Donald, DT, Rams

  • Annual salary: $31.7 million

There was some uncertainty about whether Donald would return for the 2023 NFL season, but the seven-time All-Pro hasn’t retired yet. He is coming off a down year during which he played in only 11 games due to an ankle injury and had a career-low five sacks. Still, he is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and has 103 career sacks, so he is well worth his price tag.

T-15. Tyreek Hill, WR, Dolphins

  • Annual salary: $30 million

Hill was traded from the Chiefs to the Dolphins last offseason and was given a contract that made him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. Hill lived up to the deal, posting career highs in receptions (119) and receiving yards (1,710) while finishing ninth in MVP voting. The four-time All-Pro will continue to serve as a No. 1 receiver in Miami while forming one of the best receiver duos in the league alongside Jaylen Waddle.

Matt Ryan

T-15. Matt Ryan, QB, Colts

  • Annual salary: $30 million

Ryan wasn’t nearly as effective as Hill in 2022 even though they are being paid the same amount. He threw a career-low 14 touchdowns while throwing 13 interceptions and fumbling a whopping 15 times. Ryan will turn 38 in May, his best days are behind him and there are questions about whether he will retire. If he doesn’t, then the Colts will almost certainly cut him in advance of free agency.

17. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans

  • Annual salary: $29.5 million

Tannehill has been mostly efficient, albeit unspectacular, as the Titans’ starter since signing a long-term extension with the team. There were questions about whether Tennessee would keep him as the starter entering the 2023 offseason after a season-ending ankle injury, but it seems as if it will keep him for at least one more season. In 2022, Tannehill posted 2,536 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions in 12 starts (6-6 record).

18. T.J. Watt, EDGE, Steelers

  • Annual salary: $28 million

How important was Watt to the Steelers’ success in 2022? In the 10 games that he played, the Steelers went 8-2. In the seven that he missed, the team was 1-6. Watt is a three-time All-Pro and led the NFL in sacks in 2020 and 2021. He tied the NFL’s single-season sack record in the latter campaign and was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as a result. He is well worth his deal. He will hope to improve upon his 5.5 sacks from last season.

19. Davante Adams, WR, Raiders

  • Annual salary: $28 million

Like Hill, Adams was traded during the 2022 offseason and signed a big contract to become one of the NFL’s highest-paid receivers. He also enjoyed a strong season, catching 100 passes for 1,516 yards and a league-high 14 touchdowns. He has been an All-Pro in three consecutive seasons and should continue to be the Raiders’ No. 1 receiver regardless of who plays quarterback for the team in 2023.

20. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Cardinals

  • Annual salary: $27.25 million

Hopkins may be the next receiver to get traded as the Cardinals navigate a mini-rebuild after Kyler Murray’s ACL injury. Hopkins is a talented receiver but has struggled to stay on the field the past two seasons; he has played in just 19 of Arizona’s last 34 games due to injuries and a suspension. Still, he was on pace for 121 catches, 1,354 yards and six touchdowns had he played a full season, so perhaps a change of scenery could spark a bounce-back.

Joey Bosa

21. Joey Bosa, EDGE, Chargers

  • Annual salary: $27 million

Bosa played in just five games (four starts) last season for the Chargers, but he was still able to log 2.5 sacks. That has been the story of his career; he has averaged 0.72 sacks per game but has only played a full season twice in his six NFL seasons. The 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year will need to stay healthy in 2023 or risk being a cap casualty in the ensuing offseason.

22. Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams

  • Annual salary: $26.7 million

Kupp signed a monster extension with the Rams after he led the league in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16) during the 2021 season. He was an All-Pro, finished third in MVP voting and helped lead the Rams to a Super Bowl win over the Bengals. He played in just nine games during the 2022 season before suffering an ankle injury that helped to keep him out for the rest of the campaign. Even still, he was on pace for 142 catches, 1,534 yards and 11 touchdowns, so he is well worth his contract.

T-23. Geno Smith, QB, Seahawks

  • Annual salary: $25 million

Smith was one of the NFL’s best stories in 2022. The Seahawks shocked many by naming him the starter over Drew Lock before the start of the season after he had largely been a backup since 2014. Smith responded by leading the Seahawks to a surprising 9-8 record and a playoff berth. He earned his first Pro Bowl nod at 32. Smith will now look to prove his NFL-best 69.8 completion percentage, 4,282 passing yards and 30 touchdowns were no fluke as he enters the first year of a three-year extension with Seattle.

T-23. Myles Garrett, EDGE, Browns

  • Annual salary: $25 million

Garrett has long been one of the NFL’s most unblockable players. He has posted double-digit sacks in five consecutive seasons and has totaled 74.5 sacks in 84 career games since being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. You could make the case that he is the NFL’s best pass-rusher, so the 27-year-old has certainly earned the $25 million per season he is making.

T-23. A.J. Brown, WR, Eagles

  • Annual salary: $25 million

Brown was traded to the Eagles during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft in a move that ended up being a great one for both parties. The Eagles got Brown, who posted career-best marks of 88 receptions, 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns while helping Philadelphia reach the Super Bowl. Brown, meanwhile, was given a deal worth $25 million per season after failing to reach an extension with Tennessee. “Swole Batman” will continue to be a key part of the Eagles’ offense thanks to his excellent relationship with Jalen Hurts.

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