April 23, 2020
BY Lance Cartelli

The 10 Highest-Paid NFL Players in 2020, Ranked

It’s a good time to be an NFL player. 

With the new CBA signed, sealed and delivered, NFL contracts are expected to explode once the new TV contracts are finished. Before we see Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes break the bank on what’s expected to be the largest contract in NFL history, let’s look at the 10 highest-paid NFL players in the 2020 season, according to Spotrac. 

You’ll notice that former New England Patriots star Tom Brady isn’t on the list. His $25 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just misses the cut. But let’s start with his former understudy in Foxboro.

10. Jimmy Garoppolo: $25.2 million

What does Jimmy G get for taking the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl a year after suffering a season-ending knee injury? Just questions about whether 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan should replace him with Tom Brady. Well, that and more than $25.2 million in his bank account. So don’t feel too bad for the Niners’ golden boy. 

This will be a make-or-break year for Jimmy G, though. This should be the season he takes a Matt Ryan-like leap in Shanahan’s high-flying offense. If Garoppolo doesn’t improve, the Niners can easily get out of the QB’s contract by eating less than $3 million in dead cap space. 

The pressure is on for a repeat performance in San Francisco.

8 (tie). Byron Jones: $26 million

Departing the Dallas Cowboys sure does pay off. The corpse of Jason Witten is making a whopping $4.5 million in Las Vegas, Tony Romo inked a $17 million per year deal to play golf and predict the future — and Byron Jones scored an $82.5 million deal to take his talents to South Beach and play for the Miami Dolphins

The supposed shutdown corner — who has just two career interceptions — will earn $40 million in the first two years of the pact. He also received $54.4 million guaranteed as part of the deal. 

If Jones’ stock sinks in Miami, the ‘Fins can cut bait in 2023. And it would only cost the franchise a $6 million dead cap hit.

8 (tie). Ben Roethlisberger: $26 million

Roethlisberger didn’t even last two weeks into the 2019 campaign before suffering a season-ending elbow injury that sadly subjected the football-watching public to Mason Rudolph, who is just a slightly shorter version of Brock Osweiler. 

Recovering from offseason surgery, Roethlisberger has finally graduated to throwing a football. He told The Athletic that he’ll “be ready when it's time.” But how much longer can the Steelers rely on Big Ben? 

The two-time Super Bowl champion will pocket an even $26 million in 2020. However, the Steelers can get out of the three-year deal after this season.

In other words, the clock is ticking on Big Ben.

7. Frank Clark: $28.4 million

After being traded from the Seahawks to the Chiefs, Clark signed a five-year, $104 million deal with Kansas City. That seems to have paid off nicely for the Super Bowl champions. 

The Pro Bowl pass rusher tallied just eight sacks in his first season with the Chiefs, but he came up big in the Super Bowl LIV. The former Michigan star sacked Garoppolo late in the fourth quarter of the Chiefs’ comeback victory. 

Clark is under contract through the 2023 campaign. 

6. Jared Goff: $31 million

The Rams’ spending spree over the past few seasons has really come back to bite them in the butt this offseason. 

Overpaying Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks — along with signing Goff to a four-year, $134 million extension — has forced the Rams into salary-cap hell. 

The Rams were able to get rid of Cooks and Gurley, sure, but they won’t be able to do that with Goff until at least 2023.

We'll see if Sean McVay can work his magic and get Goff to regain his old form. 

5. Dak Prescott: $31.4 million

The Cowboys franchise-tagged quarterback lands at No. 5 on the list… for now. That’s because Prescott could land a massive contract extension any day now. That’s if he stops throwing quarantine parties with teammates

If the ‘Boys and the former Mississippi State product can’t agree to a long-term deal, then the Prescott will play on a one-year, $31.4 million pact.

Prescott has his sights sets on making even more in 2020. The question is, will the Cowboys finally break the bank? 

4. Ryan Tannehill: $37.5 million

Tannehill is the one name on this list that sticks out like a sore thumb. But the Titans clearly believe in the former Dolphins quarterback. 

Tennessee signed Tannehill to a four-year, $118 million extension with $91 million guaranteed. 

Tannehill starred in the Titans’ run-first offense, thanks to Derrick Henry Hulk-smashing defenses and rookie phenom A.J. Brown running wild on scared secondaries.

Will Tannehill be able to duplicate that success in his second year with the Titans? He’s being paid like it.

3. Carson Wentz: $39.4 million

For the first time since his rookie season, Wentz played — and started — all 16 games for the Philadelphia Eagles. That was the biggest knock on the man that the Eagles gave a four-year, $128 million deal to in 2019. 

Still just 27, the Eagles passer should be close to hitting his prime. Unfortunately for him, the Eagles haven’t been able to surround him with enough talent on offense. 

The former North Dakota State star is under contract through the 2024 campaign.

2. Kirk Cousins: $40 million

Say what you want about the Vikings quarterback, but he sure does know how to secure the bag. 

After transforming from a lowly fourth-round pick to the Redskins starter, Cousins made sure to squeeze every penny he could from Washington. That led to multiple franchise tags and a fully-guaranteed three-year deal from Minnesota. Now, Cousins is locked up for an additional two years. He’ll also be able to strike gold again after the 2022 season. 

And you know that Cousins LIKES THAT!

1. Russell Wilson: $53 million

Wilson almost single-handedly carries the Seahawks’ offense on a yearly basis, and he’s sure paid like it, too. 

The highest-paid player in the NFL will pocket more than $50 million in 2020.

Wilson’s four-year, $140 million extension includes $107 million guaranteed and a full no-trade clause. So that means Wilson will be proclaiming “Go ‘Hawks!” through the 2023 season. Prepare your eardrums.

Photo: Getty Images