Top 10 Highest Paid NFL players of 2016

The professional sports world has changed tremendously. When athletes first decided to “go pro”, they were lucky to bring home a small amount of money, but the athletes were happy participating in the game or sport they love. Today, how much an athlete gets paid for their athletic abilities has started to become a competition of its own. The NFL has one of the largest stages for big money contracts. Here are the top 10 highest paid NFL players of 2016.

  1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers$20,760,000

Cam Newton is not the traditional pocket passer quarterback that the NFL has seen for so many years. He shocked the league when he was drafted in 2011 by being one of the first quarterbacks to be a mobile quarterback with plays that were designed runs for him specifically.

Cam Newton dabbing as he celebrates reaching the end zone.
  1. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers– $20,812,500

Philip Rivers has been with the Chargers since he was drafted. He was able to play alongside one of the best running backs to ever enter the league in Ladainian Tomlinson, better known as LT. He has taken the Chargers to the postseason 5 times in his almost 20 season career.

Even though Philip Rivers has few good quality receiving targets to throw to, he manages to throw for almost 300 yards a game.
  1. Eli Manning, New York Giants– $21,000,000

Eli Manning, the younger brother of Peyton Manning, has had ups and downs throughout his career. As of late, he has had more struggles than successes. He does have two Super Bowl rings and two Super Bowl MVP awards.

While he still has 2 Super Bowl rings, he still is overlooked because of his older brother and future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.
  1. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers– $21,850,000

Big Ben Roethlisberger has had a decent career. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion, a five-time Pro Bowler and led the team to the post season 9 times since he was drafted in 2004. With as much Ben has done for the Steelers team, he should be getting paid more, but he is not the type of player to ask for money if he puts up big numbers in one season.

One of the toughest quarterbacks to bring down, Ben Roethlisberger has earned the nickname “Big Ben”.
  1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks– $21,900,000

Russell Wilson, another mobile quarterback, continues to impress NFL analysts. For being a third-round pick, he has already piled up quite the awards. In his second season, he took his team to the Super Bowl and won. He is a two-time NFC champion in back to back  seasons, a three-time pro bowler, and the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year.

In only his second season, he took the Seahawks to the Super Bowl, where they defeated the Denver Broncos 43-8.
  1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers– $22,000,000

Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and will go down as one of the greats. No one in the league can throw a better “Hail-Mary” pass than he can. He also has a few records under his belt. He has the highest career passer rating, the single season passer rating, and the best career touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Currently the only quarterback who has thrown multiple successful Hail Mary passes, one of the hardest passes to complete.
  1. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens– $22,133,133

Joe Flacco is an interesting story. He was drafted in 18th in the 2008 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens, earning Rookie of the Year. He took the Ravens to the playoffs in 5 consecutive seasons between 2008-2012 and finally winning in the 2012 season. In his last season in 2016, he completed 64.8% of his passes, threw for over 4,300 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions.

Even though, Joe Flacco is one of the highest paid players in the NFL, he only has 3 awards to show for it.
  1. Drew Brees, New Orleans– $24,250,000

Drew Brees was drafted with the 32nd pick of the 2001 draft by the San Diego Chargers where he spent 5 seasons and then signed a contract with the New Orleans Saints in the offseason in 2006. Three years after signing that contract, the Saints won the Super Bowl, just 4 years after the city of New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. He holds the record for best career completion percentage and the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass.

Drew Brees is one of the most under-rated quarterbacks in the NFL. If he was on a team with better receivers, he would be considered more for league MVP.
  1. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals– $24,350,000

Carson Palmer was drafted first overall in the 2003 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals where he spent 8 seasons and entered initial retirement in 2010. He signed with the Oakland Raiders in 2011 where he spent 2 seasons before signing with the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 where he currently is the starting quarterback. He has only been to the playoffs three times, twice with Cincinnati and once with Arizona. He has set numerous franchise records for both the Bengals and Cardinals. He is also a Heisman Trophy winner.

Carson Palmer is now on his third team, has been in the league since 2003 and has yet to make it to the Super Bowl.
  1. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts– $24,594,000

Andrew Luck, by far, had the highest expectations of the 2012 draft. He is a combination of a pocket passer as well as a mobile quarterback. He is a three-time pro bowler, and took the Colts to the playoffs for the first three seasons of his professional career, where he has a three win, three loss record.

Taken with the first pick of the 2012 draft, Luck has shown glimpses of greatness. He will eventually be one of the premier quarterbacks of the NFL.

Lately, how much you make in the NFL has surpassed the athletic ability of the player. Usually, if you play well, you get paid well. Yes, there are some over-paid players in the league, and there are also some highly underpaid players as well. It really comes down to how much the owners of a team think you are worth as a player. What was not included in these figures was how much these players make in endorsements.

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