The top 10 highest paid NFL players in 2017 based on their cap hit include 8 quarterbacks and two defensive players. The Washington Redskins are the only team with two players on the list, also including the only franchise tagged player on the list, Kirk Cousins. Below the top 10 is a list of the highest paid players in the league based on total cash.
9 (tied). Josh Norman, Washington Redskins: $20,000,000
A Pro Bowler in 2015, Norman is entering his second season with the Redskins, joining them before last season from Carolina. He signed a 5-year, $75 million deal with just under half of it fully guaranteed after putting the ink down. He played in all 16 games last season, and his base salary for 2017 is $16.5 million.
9 (tied). Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers: $20,000,000
Rivers, who will turn 36 in December, is about to start his 14th NFL season, all with the Chargers, although this will be the first in LA. A 6-time Pro Bowler, including last season, Rivers is signed through 2019 via a four-year extension he signed in 2015 worth $83.25 million. This year Rivers makes $14 million in base salary.
8. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: $20,166,666
Newton, 28, had a rough landing from his MVP season in 2015, as did the entire Panthers team. He’s signed with the Panthers through the 2020 season, following a five-year, $103.8 million extension he signed in 2015. He’ll get $13.1 million in base salary this season, and his cap hit is 12.1% of the team’s cap.
6 (tied). Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: $20,300,000
Tannehill, drafted by the Dolphins in 2012, will be making just under $18 million in base salary next season. However, there’s very little chance of him playing in 2017. The Dolphins signed Jay Cutler to take his place and try to lead the team into the playoffs for the second straight season. Tannehill did most of the work last season, but was injured for the playoff game. The problem for him is that cutting him after this season won’t be too much of a financial hit for the Dolphins ($4.6 million in dead money, $15.2 million in cap savings).
6 (tied). Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: $20,300,000
A two-time regular season MVP and one-time Super Bowl MVP, Rodgers is heading into season number 13 as a quarterback on the Packers and his 10th as a starter. In 2013, Rodgers signed a 5-year, $110 million extension, and is signed through the 2019 season. He’ll make $12.55 million in base salary this season.
5. Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs: $22,100,000
Houston is a 4-time Pro Bowl selection, one-time 1st team All-Pro and the NFL sacks leader in 2014 (sacking QBs 22 times). However, he played just 5 games last season had completed all 16 games just once in the last four seasons. He signed a 6-year, $101 million extension with the Chiefs in 2015, and will make $16.3 million in base salary this season.
4. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: $23,750,000
Matt Ryan is coming off an MVP season and leading the Falcons to the franchise’s second Super Bowl, which started off wonderfully and ended in… well… this. Ryan signed a 5-year, $103 million extension with the Falcons in 2013, which means he’ll probably get a big one coming up soon. He’ll make $15.75 million in base salary this season.
3. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins: $23,946,600
Recently celebrating his 29th birthday, Cousins is the only player on the list without a long-term deal. He became the first QB in history to be franchise-tagged two straight seasons. His salary will take up 14.4% of the Redskins’ cap next season.
2. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals: $24,125,000
Palmer and the Cards had a rough 2016. He’ll be turning 38 this season, and will make $15.5 million in base salary. His contract is up after the 2018 season, so there’s a lot at stake, especially for one of the oldest QBs in the league.
1. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: $24,550,000
The QB with the biggest cap hit in the NFL (14.7% of the cap), but a back problem could mean bigger problems for the Ravens. Flacco is signed through 2021, adding 3 years to the deal through an extension worth $66 million. He’ll make $6 million in base salary this season.
And for the top 10 highest paid NFL players based on total cash:
- Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: $54,000,000
- Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: $27,000,000
- Kawann Short, Carolina Panthers: $26,000,000
- Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: $25,175,000
- Josh Norman, Washington Redskins: $24,000,000
- Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins: $23,943,000
- Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: $23,666,666
- Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots: $22,968,750
- Melvin Ingram, Los Angeles Chargers: $22,750,000
- Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants: $22,250,000