Posted 12/16/14 by Miles Young in Sports

4 Highest Paid NFL Players of 2014

Top NFL players can make staggering amounts of money. Determining exactly how much they make is often difficult, though, because they have multiple revenue streams including their salaries, bonuses, and endorsements. The player with the highest salary isn’t always the one with the largest income. Still, it’s clear that these four NFL players make more money than most professionals in the league.

1. Matt Ryan


Image via Flickr by Keith Allison

Salary: $42 million

Total: $43.8 million

The Atlanta Falcons drafted Matt Ryan in 2008 to play quarterback. He made a big impact by scoring a touchdown on his very first NFL pass. Since then, he has become a team leader who holds several NFL records. In 2013, he became the franchise leader in passing yards even though the Falcons faced a difficult season with numerous players sitting out because of injuries.

When the Falcons extended Ryan’s contract in 2013, he immediately became one of the NFL players with the highest salaries. In 2014, he’s expected to earn $42 million in salary and bonuses. Ryan also earned $1.8 million in endorsements, which predominantly came from Nike and AirTran.

Ryan has always earned an exceptional salary from the Falcons. The contract that he signed during his rookie year promised him $72 million over six years. This made him the fourth highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. Some sports commentators were outraged by a rookie earning so much, and they called for a review of the NFL’s salary cap. Considering that Ryan received a total of about $43.8 million in 2014, those industry experts obviously haven’t gotten their wish.

2. Matthew Stafford

Salary: $31.5 million

Total: $33.0 million

The Detroit Lions signed Matthew Stafford during the 2008 draft. His contract granted him $41.7 million over his first six years. At the time, it was the most promised to any NFL player. Today, Stafford makes exceptionally more. The contract that he signed in 2013 promises $53 million over three years. After bonuses, his 2014 salary comes to about $31.5 million. He also made about $1.5 million from endorsements from Nike, PepsiCo, and a few other companies.

Some argue that Stafford deserves his robust NFL salary. He holds numerous NFL records, including most passing attempts in a season and faster player to accumulate 17,000 passing yards in his career.

3. Peyton Manning

Salary: $15.1 million

Total: $27.1 million

Peyton Manning, the oldest player on this list, holds dozens of NFL records. Oddly enough, his experience doesn’t earn him more money than a couple of rookies. Still, at $15.1 million, he earns more than most NFL quarterbacks.

The bulk of Peyton’s money comes from endorsements with Gatorade, Buick, DirecTV, and Papa John’s. He even owns 21 Papa John’s locations in the Denver area. His combined earnings for 2014 come to more than $27 million.

He may not earn the most, but a younger version of him would definitely appear in College Football Picks. Manning, after all, won numerous awards during his senior year at the University of Tennessee. During that year, he received the Johnny Unitas Award, the Maxwell Award, and the Best College Player ESPY Award.

4. Darrelle Revis

Salary: $23 million

Total: $23.8 million

Like Peyton Manning, Darrelle Revis proves that experience doesn’t always equal a higher salary in the NFL. His 2014 salary is $23 million, nearly half what Matt Ryan makes. After endorsements, Revis makes just under $24 million a year.

Revis is the only cornerback on the list of highest paid NFL players of 2014. Regardless of his position and experience, it’s hard to complain about making more than $23 million in one year.

Revis has slowly worked himself up to this salary. He started playing with the New York Jets in 2007. He joined the Buccaneers in 2013, but only stayed for one year before he was recruited by the Patriots.

How much money does your favorite player earn? Even if he isn’t on this list, he probably earns millions of dollars each season since the average NFL player makes $1.9 million per year. Do you think these players are overpaid, underpaid, or making the perfect amounts?

Miles Young

Miles Young is a freelance writer with a passion for sports, music, and pop culture. When he's not working on his latest feature story, he's out walking his dog or catching up on Game of Thrones.