NFL's highest paid players by position: Rankings for 2021 NFL season

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic

One look at the list of the highest paid players in the NFL by position shows the premium that NFL teams put on quarterbacks.

The highest paid player in the league at that position, the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, is also the highest paid player in the league, making $45 million per season (yes, $45 million per season in average annual salary).

Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt now makes $28 million in average annual salary after agreeing to an extension, making him the highest-paid defender in the league.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins makes $27.3 million per season, making him the highest paid offensive player who is not a quarterback in the league.

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Some offensive linemen also make a lot of money, led by the San Francisco 49ers' Trent Williams at more than $23 million.

Click on each highlighted position for a breakdown of that position's highest paid players for the 2021 season.

The Arizona Cardinals' DeAndre Hopkins is the highest paid non-quarterback in the NFL for the 2021 season.

NFL's highest paid players by position (average annual salary):

  • Quarterback: Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes - $45 million
  • Edge rusher: Pittsburgh Steelers' T.J. Watt - $28 million
  • Wide receiver: Arizona Cardinals' DeAndre Hopkins - $27.3 million
  • Offensive lineman: San Francisco 49ers' Trent Williams - $23.01 million
  • Interior defensive lineman: Los Angeles Rams' Aaron Donald- $22.5 million
  • Cornerback: Los Angeles Rams' Jalen Ramsey: $21 million
  • Linebacker: Indianapolis Colts' Darius Leonard - $19.7 million
  • Safety: Seattle Seahawks' Jamal Adams: $17 million
  • Running back: Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey: $16 million
  • Tight end: San Francisco 49ers' George Kittle - $15 million
  • Fullback: San Francisco 49ers' Kyle Juszczyk - $5.4 million
  • Kicker: Baltimore Ravens' Justin Tucker - $5 million
  • Punter: Los Angeles Rams' Johnny Hekker - $3.75 million
  • Long snapper: Buffalo Bills' Reid Ferguson - $1.33 million

- Source: overthecap.com

What changed?:NFL's highest paid players by position rankings for 2020 season