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The NFL’s 25 highest-paid players in 2020, from Patrick Mahomes to Demarcus Lawrence

The NFL's 25 highest-paid players in 2020, from Patrick Mahomes to Demarcus Lawrence

Listing the NFL’s highest-paid players is an inexact science. Patrick Mahomes’ record contract with the Chiefs, for example, makes him the league’s highest-paid player … in terms of average annual salary and total dollars attached to the deal.

Some argue total guaranteed money at signing is the only number that matters in an NFL contract, and Mahomes does not lead the league in that category. No current NFL contract features more guaranteed money at signing than the $94.5 million the Falcons promised Matt Ryan in 2018.

MORE: The full details of Patrick Mahomes’ record contract

For the purpose of this list, though, Sports Grind Entertainment will stick with average annual salary as the determining factor in ranking the NFL’s highest-paid players and use total guaranteed money at signing as the tiebreaker. The list, as always, is subject to change.

Tip of the cap to our friends over at Overthecap.com for the contract figures.

NFL’s highest-paid players

25. Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Cowboys

  • Average annual salary: $21 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $48 million

Lawrence is in the second season of a five-year, $105 million contract he signed with the Cowboys in 2019 after having the franchise tag placed on him for the second year in a row.

24. Laremy Tunsil, LT, Texans

  • Average annual salary: $22 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $40 million

Tunsil signed a three-year contract extension with the Texans in 2020 worth $66 million in new money.

(Getty Images)

23. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons

  • Average annual salary: $22 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $64 million

Jones is in the second season of the three-year, $66 million contract extension he signed with the Falcons in 2019. The extension takes affect next season, and he is signed through 2023.

22. Aaron Donald, DL, Rams

  • Average annual salary: $22.5 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $50 million

Donald is in the third season of the six-year, $135 million contract extension he signed with the Rams in 2018. He is signed through 2024.

21. Alex Smith, QB, Redskins

  • Average annual salary: $23.5 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $55 million

Smith is in the third season of his current contract with the Redskins, which was extended with a four-year, $94 million deal after he was traded by the Chiefs in 2018. He is signed through 2022.

(Getty Images)

20. Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Bears

  • Average annual salary: $23.5 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $60 million

Mack is in the third season of his current contract with the Bears, which was extended with a six-year, $141 million deal after he was traded by the Raiders in 2018. He is signed through 2024.

T18: Philip Rivers, QB, Colts

  • Average annual salary: $25 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $25 million

Rivers signed a one-year contract with the Colts in 2020 NFL free agency. The full $25 million is guaranteed and includes a $12 million signing bonus.

T18. Drew Brees, QB, Saints

  • Average annual salary: $25 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $25 million

Brees signed a two-year contract extension with the Saints in 2020 that gave him a $23 million signing bonus. The 2022 and 2023 seasons are void years so New Orleans can prorate that signing bonus; he is under contract through 2021.

17. Derek Carr, QB, Raiders

  • Average annual salary: $25 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $40 million

Carr is in the fourth year of his current contract with the Raiders, which was extended with a five-year, $125.025 million deal in 2017.

(Getty Images)

T15. Tom Brady, QB, Buccaneers

  • Average annual salary: $25 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $50 million

Brady signed a two-year contract with the Buccaneers in 2020 NFL free agency. The full $50 million is guaranteed, not including $9 million in available incentives.

T15. Myles Garrett, DE, Browns

  • Average annual salary: $25 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $50 million

Garrett is entering the first year of his new contract with the Browns after cashing in with a five-year deal worth up to $125 million.

14. Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions

  • Average annual salary: $27 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $60.5 million

Stafford is in the fourth year of his current contract with the Lions, which was extended with a five-year, $135 million deal in 2017.

13. Joey Bosa, DE, Chargers

  • Average annual salary: $27 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $78 million

Los Angeles not only made Bosa the highest-paid NFL defender in terms of average money per year with his five year-deal, but no defensive player has ever been guaranteed more at signing.

12. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Cardinals

  • Average annual salary: $27.25 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $42.75 million

A few months after receiving Hopins in a trade with the Texans, the Cardinals extended the wide receiver’s contract with a two-year deal worth $54.5 million in new money.

(Getty Images)

11. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers

  • Average annual salary: $27.5 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $48.7 million

Garoppolo is in the third season of the five-year, $137.5 million contract he signed with the 49ers in 2018 after he was traded by the Patriots.

10. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans

  • Average annual salary: $29.5 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $62 million

Tannehill is in the first season of his current contract with the Titans, which was extended with a four-year, $118 million deal in 2020.

9. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

  • Average annual salary: $30 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $94.5 million

Ryan is in the third season of his current contract with the Falcons, which was extended with a five-year, $150 million deal in 2018. He is signed through 2023.

(Getty Images)

8. Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys

  • Average annual salary: $31.41 million (franchise tag)
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $31.41 million

The Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Prescott in 2020, and the quarterback signed the tender in late June to guarantee his full 2020 salary.

7. Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles

  • Average annual salary: $32 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $66.471 million

Wentz is in the second season of his current contract with the Eagles, which was extended with a four-year, $128 million deal in 2019. He is signed through 2024.

6. Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings

  • Average annual salary: $33 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $61 million

Cousins is in the first season of his current contract with the Vikings, which was extended with a two-year, $66 million deal in 2020. He is signed through 2022.

5. Jared Goff, QB, Rams

  • Average annual salary: $33.5 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $57.043 million

Goff is in the second season of his current contract with the Rams, which was extended with a four-year, $134 million deal in 2019. He is signed through 2024.

(Getty Images)

4. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

  • Average annual salary: $33.5 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $78.7 million

Rodgers is in the third season of his current contract with the Packers, which was extended with a four-year, $134 million deal in 2018. He is signed through 2023.

3. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers

  • Average annual salary: $34 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $37.5 million

Roethlisberger is in the second season of his current contract with the Steelers, which was extended with a two-year, $68 million deal in 2019. He is signed through 2021.

2. Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks

  • Average annual salary: $35 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $70 million

Wilson is in the second season of his current contract with the Seahawks, which was extended with a four-year, $140 million deal in 2019. He is signed through 2023.

1. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs

  • Average annual salary: $45 million
  • Total guaranteed at signing: $63.082 million

The Chiefs in 2020 signed Mahomes to a 10-year contract extension that will pay him $450 million, a record deal in the NFL.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

About the author

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Christine Watkins

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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