The Highest-Paid Non-Quarterbacks in the NFL

Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XVIII - Show

On September 1, 2014, J.J. Watt signed a six-year, $100 million contract extension with the Houston Texans, making the defensive end the highest-paid non-quarterback in the National Football League according to average salary. The contract contains just under $52 million in guarantees, setting a new record for defensive players, while $30.88 million of Watt’s extension is practically fully guaranteed at signing. In the NFL, 15 of the 20 highest-paid players in the league are quarterbacks–the top five are Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning–while only two of the top 20 are defensive players. Surprisingly, only seven of the 20 have at least Super Bowl ring. The following list is comprised of the top five highest-paid non-quarterbacks in the NFL, in order of average salary.

5. Adrian Peterson (RB) – $14.38 million

Seen by many as the greatest running back in the NFL–and possibly even one of the league’s all-time greats–it’s surprising to see Adrian Peterson entering the list at number five. A six-time Pro Bowler and 2012 MVP, Peterson was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings seventh overall in 2007 and set an NFL record for most rushing yards in a single game (296) during his rookie season. In 2010, Peterson became the fifth fastest player to run for 5,000 career rushing yards.

4. Mario Williams (DE) – $16.00 million

Selected first overall by the Houston Texans in the 2006 NFL Draft, defensive end Mario Williams spent six seasons in Houston before signing six-year deal with the Buffalo Bills. A three-time Pro Bowl selection and 2007 NFL Alumni Defensive Lineman of the Year, Williams has recorded more than 300 tackles and 76.5 sacks over the course of his eight-year career. Williams holds the Bills’ record for most most sacks in a single game (4.5) and the Texans’ record for most career sacks (53).

3. Larry Fitzgerald (WR) – $16.14 million

The second highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL, Larry Fitzgerald currently ranks fifth all-time in NFL career receiving yards per game (76.0) and became the youngest receiver in NFL history to reach 11,000 career receiving yards last season at the age of 30. Fitzgerald was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with the third overall pick in 2004 and has spent his entire 10-year career with the team. The eight-time Pro Bowler agreed to an eight-year $120 million contract extension in 2011.

2. Calvin Johnson (WR) – $16.21 million

Calvin “Megatron” Johnson was selected by the Detroit Lions with the second overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft and has spent his entire career with the franchise. On March 14, 2012, Johnson signed an eight-year, $132 million contract extension with the Lions, one of the largest sports contracts in history. That same year, the four-time Pro Bowler broke Jerry Rice’s single-season record for receiving yards–ending the season with 1,964 yards–and currently holds 13 other NFL records.

1. J.J Watt (DE) – $16.67 million 

The newly highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL, J.J. Watt, was drafted 11th overall by the Houston Texans in 2011 after two seasons at the University of Wisconsin. Watt’s sophomore NFL season was one of the greatest seasons by a defensive player in NFL history. The two-time Pro Bowler finished the 2012 season with 81 tackles, 20.5 sacks (a Texans single-season record), and 16 passes defended. The 2012 AFC Defensive Player of the Year has also made two Pro Bowl appearances.

Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Add Comment

Actors Basketball Players Bloggers Boxers Celebrities Criminals Football Coaches Football Players Golfers Hockey Coaches MMA NASCAR Olympians Politicians Skateboarders Soccer Coaches Soccer Players Tennis Wrestlers
How did Andrey Melnichenko Make His Billions?
The Richest People in Europe - Liliane Bettencourt
20 of the Richest People in Europe
10 of the Most Fiscally Corrupt Politicians in History
Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The 10 Best Affordable Luxury Cars That Are Actually Worth Owning
Rolls Royce Dawn is Named Best Luxury Car
Shelby American’s 50th Anniversary Super Snake
Jaguar Will Unveil the re-worked F-Type 400 Sport in 2017
Five Luxurious Cayman Islands Packages You’ve Got to Try
10 of the Most Luxurious Things To Do in Boston
10 of the Most Luxurious Things To Do in Boston
Top Five Hotels to Send Christmas Abroad
A $191,000 Flight is One Way to Ring in 2017
A Guide for the First-Time Rolex Buyer
Why We Love the The 2016 Rolex Air-King
Why We Love the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thing Squelette
The Top Five Michael Kors Women’s Watches
The Top Five Women’s Sneakers Brands in 2016
Five Upcoming Sneaker Collections to Check out in August
Five of the Most Expensive Sneakers at Sneakerness Berlin
Five Sneaker Brands to Look for at New York Market Week
Cheese
The Most Expensive Cheeses in the World
$1,000 Ice Cream Sundae Serendipity 3
Here’s Where You Can Enjoy a $1,000 Ice Cream Sundae In Vegas
Mauro Camusso Creates his Wine in a Disused Mineral Mine
The Top Five Red Wines of 2016
Laucala Hilltop Estate
The Five Most Expensive Hotel Suites in the World
The Place to Stay During the Sundance Film Festival
Alpe d’Huez Voted Europe’s Best Ski Resort
The Four Seasons Gorgeous New Hawaiian Resort