The NFL’s Highest-Paid Players of 2016


It pays to be a quarterback in the NFL.

Forbes released their annual list of the highest-paid players in the league, and to the surprise of almost nobody, the list is dominated by the most valuable position in American sports: quarterback.

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The list combines salary with off-field earnings, putting 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton at the top of the list after making $53.1 million, while New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning came in second with $45 million. The top five players on the list—Newton, Manning, Joe Flacco, Tom Brady, and Russell Wilson—all are quarterbacks. The first non-quarterback, Bills defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, doesn’t show up until no. 7.

Newton’s profile has been rising for years and after having a fantastic season in 2015 while leading the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl, he’s been able to cash-in with his off-the-field earnings. Newton signed five-year, $103.8 million contract extension before the 2015 season while racking up $12 million in endorsements.

Manning signed a four-year, $84 million contract extension before last season, while also securing endorsements worth nearly $10 million with companies like Citizen, Gatorade, Nike, Toyota, and DirecTV. Flacco, Brady, and Wilson are all Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, helping raise their profiles even more, while Philip Rivers comes in at number six.

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One interesting fluke: Peyton Manning came in at eight behind Dareus, even though he retired after winning Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green came in at ninth, while Saints quarterback Drew Brees rounded out the top 10.

Check out the rest of the Forbes list here.

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