Who is the highest-paid NFL player? Aaron Rodgers, Kyler Murray sit at the top

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Aaron Rodgers is the highest-paid player in the NFL after inking a three-year, $150 million deal in March. The back-to-back league MVP and star quarterback returns to the Green Bay Packers after considering retirement or seeking a trade to a new team.

Rodgers knocked Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes from the top spot. Rodgers will bag more than $50 million per year.

Mahomes was bumped down to second on the highest-paid list after the Rodgers deal and then to third after the Cleveland Browns traded for quarterback Deshaun Watson and signed him to a fully guaranteed $230 million deal that will pay him $46 million per year despite accusations of sexual misconduct made against Watson by 24 women.

Then, the Chiefs quarterback was dropped down to fourth when quarterback Kyler Murray reached a five-year, $230.5 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals. Murray is now the second-highest-paid player in football. 

The busy offseason has reasserted a basic truth in American football: If you want to make the big bucks in the sport, play quarterback.

The top ten highest-paid NFL players are all quarterbacks. Rodgers sits atop the list earning an annual average salary of $50 million, followed by Murray, Watson and Mahomes. Fifth is Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen who has an average salary of $43 million on a six-year contract.

Aaron Rodgers makes a throw while Jordan Love looks on during Green Bay Packers minicamp on June 7.
Aaron Rodgers makes a throw while Jordan Love looks on during Green Bay Packers minicamp on June 7.

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Here is Over The Cap's full list of the top 10 earners in the league by annual average salary.

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: $50.2 million

2. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals: $46.1 million

3. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns: $46 million

4. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs; $45 million

5. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills: $43 million

6. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders: $40.5 million

7T. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys: $40 million

7T. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams: $40 million

9T. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos: $35 million

9T. Kirk Cousins; Minnesota Vikings: $35 million

11. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions: $33.5 million

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Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are headed to their third consecutive Super Bowl.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are headed to their third consecutive Super Bowl.

Rodgers’ historic contract will also shake up the rankings for highest-paid NFL players accounting for off-the-field earnings, which Forbes tracks every season.

Last year, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott topped the list largely due to his massive $66 million signing bonus in combination with the $12 million he made from deals off the field.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who said he is returning for another season less than two months after he announced his retirement, came in at second on the list.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL's highest paid player: Rodgers, Murray pass Mahomes in 2022