The NFL’s Highest-Paid Quarterbacks (Updated 2024): Where Do Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Brock Purdy Land?

Who are the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league in the 2023-2024 season, and what is the AAV of each of the top 10 QBs on the list?

Quarterback is the most critical position in sports, and NFL signal-callers are paid handsomely for their performance. As the league’s salary cap continues to increase, QB salaries have skyrocketed, with average annual value (AAV), total value, and guaranteed money on the rise. Who is the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, and who else makes up the top 10?

Who Is the Highest-Paid Quarterback in the NFL?

After working out an extension with the Cincinnati Bengals in Sept. 2023, Joe Burrow became the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. He signed a five-year, $275 million contract that averages $55 million per season, blowing past the previous high-water mark of $52.5 million annually.

Burrow received $219.01 million in total guarantees, the second-most in NFL history behind Deshaun Watson’s $230 million.

Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, had been under contract through 2024 after the Bengals exercised his fifth-year option. His extension will keep him in Cincinnati through 2029.

Highest-Paid Quarterbacks 2-10

2) Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers | AAV: $52.5 million

Justin Herbert was the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback for roughly six weeks until being usurped by Burrow. He inked a five-year, $262.5 million deal, setting a $52.5 million average that Burrow’s team used in negotiations with the Bengals.

Herbert’s new contract contains $133.7 million fully guaranteed and an injury guarantee of $193.7 million. His guarantees include his base salaries from 2023-25 and option bonuses in 2024 and 2025.

Herbert has option bonuses in each season of his deal until its conclusion in 2029. His cap chargers will stay below $20 million next season before ballooning to $37 million and counting in 2025.

3) Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens | AAV: $52 million

The Baltimore Ravens initially deployed the franchise tag on Lamar Jackson to retain him last offseason, but they ultimately agreed to a long-term pact with their former MVP quarterback. Jackson received a five-year, $260 million contract, making him the league’s highest-paid signal-caller for several months.

Jackson’s accord came with a $185 million total guarantee and a $135 million injury guarantee. His 2024 salary, 2024 roster bonus, and 2024 and 2025 option bonuses are fully guaranteed for injury.

Jackson will collect $51.25 million base salaries in 2026 and 2027, when his cap charges will reach nearly $75 million. However, his contract is essentially designed to be restructured and give the Ravens cap relief at a later date.

4) Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles | AAV: $51 million

Jalen Hurts had the mantle as the highest-paid QB for a brief time after agreeing to a five-year, $255 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles in April 2023.

In addition to his $51 million average annual salary, Hurts received $179.304 million in guarantees and a no-trade clause. He’ll get $110 fully guaranteed and $126.5 million before Year 2 of the deal, while he can earn another $15 million via incentives. Hurts is under contract through 2028.

The Eagles used a triple-option bonus structure with Hurts’ deal to keep his cap charges low for now. But like Lamar’s contract, Hurts’ extension is intended to be reworked in the future.

5) Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos | AAV: $49 million

After being traded to the Denver Broncos in 2022, Russell Wilson signed a five-year contract extension worth $49 million a year. The contract contained $124 million fully guaranteed and $161 million in total guarantees.

Needless to say, neither trading for Wilson nor extending him has worked out for the Broncos. Fearful that a late-season injury could lock in future guaranteed money, Denver benched Wilson for the final two games of the 2023 regular season.

If Wilson is still on the Broncos’ roster on the fifth day of the 2024 league year in March, his 2025 base salary ($37 million) will become guaranteed. Denver won’t let that happen, so Wilson will be released if he doesn’t agree to a revised deal.

6) Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals | AAV: $46.1 million

Kyler Murray signed a five-year contract extension worth $46.1 million with the Arizona Cardinals during the 2022 offseason. Murray’s contract contained $103.3 million fully guaranteed at signing and $189.5 million in total guarantees.

While Murray’s cap charge was just $16 million in 2023, his salary cap figure will jump to $51+ million in 2024. Meanwhile, his 2025 salary and roster bonus (total price: $29.9 million) will become fully guaranteed on March 18, 2024.

Arizona’s new regime could choose to move on from Murray, but his contract is structured in such a way that a release is nearly impossible before 2024. However, the Cardinals could probably find a willing trade partner.

7) Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns | AAV: $46 million

Deshaun Watson’s contract completely altered the quarterback market. In order to convince Watson to waive his no-trade clause and choose them as his next destination, the Cleveland Browns gave Watson guaranteed all $230 million of his deal.

No other quarterback has come close to matching Watson’s full guarantee, and his contract became divisive, especially among rival NFL owners hoping to sign their own quarterbacks to new deals. Subsequent QB extensions have followed traditional structures instead of using Watson’s fully guaranteed pact as a model.

Cleveland converted $45 million of Watson’s 2023 base salary into a signing bonus before last season, adding a void year in 2027 and spreading his prorated money over the next five seasons.

8) Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs | AAV: $45 million

Patrick Mahomes’ 10-year contract extension highlights the myriad ways to value NFL contracts. If we ranked these deals by total value, Mahomes would be —  by far — the highest-paid QB in the league, with a total value in excess of $450 million.

The length and structure of Mahomes’ contract differ from anything previously seen in the NFL. Mahomes’ contract contains rolling guarantees that make it nearly impossible for the Chiefs to cut him in the future without taking on massive amounts of dead money.

But the deal is also team-friendly in other ways. Kansas City gained cost certainty and locked in an AAV that has already fallen below the rest of the QB market. And Mahomes’ cash flows — just $116 million through the first three years — trailed most other significant quarterback contracts.

The Chiefs gave Mahomes a revised contract in Sept. 2023 that moved money into the near term. The reworked deal essentially allowed Mahomes to collect $48 million annually from 2023-26, added two void years, and tweaked the two-time MVP’s incentive structure.

9) Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills | AAV: $43 million

The fact that Josh Allen’s contract — with an AAV of $43 million — is ninth on this list indicates how the QB landscape has changed in the past few years. When Allen signed this deal in 2021, he was the NFL’s second-highest-paid QB.

Allen’s six-year contract is worth $258.034 million, with $100.039 million fully guaranteed at signing and $150 million in total guarantees.

The Bills restructured Allen’s deal for the first time in 2023, converting $26.42 million of his base salary into a signing bonus. As such, his cap charge for last season was just $18.6 million. However, Allen’s cap number will jump to $47.1 million in 2024 and $56.6 million in 2025.

T-10) Daniel Jones, New York Giants | AAV: $40 million

The New York Giants faced a decision point in the 2023 offseason, when both Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley were scheduled to hit the open market. Big Blue reached an extension four-year, $160 million deal with Jones just before the franchise tag deadline, allowing the Giants to deploy the tender on Barkley instead.

Jones received $81 million fully guaranteed at signing, including a $36 million signing bonus. New York restructured his deal this offseason, so his cap charges will leap to $40 million beginning in 2024.

The Giants will have to decide on Jones before 2026, the final year of his contract, as his cap number will rise to an untenable $58.6 million. He appeared in just six games in 2023 and will enter next season coming off a torn ACL.

T-10) Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams | AAV: $40 million

After winning Super Bowl 56, the Los Angeles Rams signed Matthew Stafford to a four-year contract extension worth $160 million. Stafford received $63 million in total guarantees, including a $60 million signing bonus.

Because Stafford was on LA’s roster on the third day of the 2023 league year, a further $57 million became guaranteed ($26 million option bonus and $31 million base salary in 2024).

Unless they’re willing to absorb $50 million in dead money, the Rams can’t realistically get out of Stafford’s contract until after the 2024 campaign. But given that Los Angeles rounded in 2023 and made the playoffs, it doesn’t have a reason to get rid of its veteran passer.

T-10) Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys | AAV: $40 million

It doesn’t seem that long ago when Dak Prescott signed a four-year contract worth $160 million, but 2024 will be the final year of the deal. The pact contains $126 million in total guarantees, which included a $66 million signing bonus.

The Dallas Cowboys restructured Prescott’s deal over the 2023 offseason. While that helped the club create needed cap space, it also increased his 2024 cap charge to $59.5 million, giving Dak tremendous leverage in extension negotiations with the Cowboys.

Who Is the Lowest-Paid Starting Quarterback in the NFL?

The final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers’ Brock Purdy is the lowest-paid starting quarterback in the NFL (min. eight starts). Purdy collected an $870,000 base salary in his second pro campaign, while his cap charge was just $889,253.

The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement stipulates that the 49ers cannot extend Purdy’s contract until after his third NFL season in 2024. Had San Francisco signed Purdy as an undrafted free agent instead of making him Mr. Irrelevant, it could have signed Purdy to an extension at the end of the 2023 regular season.

Purdy will collect additional cash for each 49ers playoff victory thanks to the NFL’s postseason pay plan. He is also in line to earn more than $500,000 from the league’s performance-based pay program, while Purdy’s 2024 salary will increase because he’s already made the Pro Bowl.

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