This Season’s 25 Richest NFL Players (10-1)

10. Matt Schaub

Image: Mark C. Austin/Flickr

Salary: $17 million
Endorsements: $300,000
Total: $17 million

Contract: $48 million

Soon after starting with the Houston Texans, QB Schaub landed them their first 2-0 start ever. Despite injuries, he has continued to make the Texans a better team. This year, he was chosen for the Pro Bowl for the first time. The Texans are proud of their best QB ever, and for good reason.

9. Kelvin Hayden

Image: DrSpiegel14/Flickr

Salary: $17.48 million
Total: $17.5 million

Contract: $43 million

The Indianapolos Colts cornerback has been with the team since 2005. His first NFL interception happened during Super Bowl XLI in 2007. The beautiful interception scored the Colts a crucial touchdown, helping them win over the Bears. At only 26, Hayden is all potential—and he’s getting paid handsomely for it.

8. Drew Brees


Salary: $12.99 million
Endorsements: $5 million (est.)
Total: $18 million

Contract: $60 million

Drew Brees could be the nicest guy in football. Tantrums, yelling, and general idiocy seem foreign to the New Orleans Saints QB. After several years with the San Diego Chargers, Brees joined the Saints, where he broke 7 single-season and career team records. The Saints aren’t doing too bad, either. In his spare time, “Breesus” helps out with charity efforts, including his Dream Foundation, which mentors kids, helps with child care, and rebuilds playgrounds. No wonder he’s going to be this year’s Mardi Gras King of Bacchus.

7. Tom Brady

Image: Keith Allison/Flickr

Salary: $8 million
Endorsements: $10 million
Total: 18 million

Contract: $60 million

Pretty boy Tom Brady balances out his relatively meager Patriots salary with endorsements by Glaceau Smartwater, Stetson cologne, and Movado watches, to name a few. He’s also endorsed by supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen, whose $25 million salary doesn’t exactly hurt the couple’s net worth. Now, they’re spending it on pretty babies.

6. Chris Long

Image: minds-eye/Flickr

Salary: $19.1 million
Total: $19.1 million

Contract: $56.5 million

St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long was just drafted in 2008, but already commands one of the biggest contracts in the NFL. Maybe being NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long’s son has something to do with it, but Chris, a college football superstar, has proven he can hold his own on the field. Just this year, he received his first NFL fine for head-butting the 49ers tackle Chris Patrick. He’s well on his way.

5. Kurt Warner

Image: John Trainor/Flickr

Salary: $19 million
Endorsements: $500,000 (est.)
Total: $19.5 million

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Contract: $23 million

Kurt Warner has led two teams to the Super Bowl. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in terms of career passes, completion percentage, and raw skill. And he has one man to thank for it all: Jesus. He said his “Lord and Savior up above” was to thank for the St. Louis Rams win the 1999 Superbowl. Jesus also helped bring the Arizona Cardinals to the 2009 Superbowl and sustain Warner’s career. Something must be working, because after more than a decade, Warner is still going pretty strong.

4. Donovan McNabb


Salary: $25 million
Total: $25 million

Contract: $115 million

Eagles QB McNabb has helped the team to five NFC Championships and one Super Bowl during his decade-long tenure. But what makes McNabb stand out most? The fact that he’s Donovan McNabb. That’s Mr. Campbell’s Chunky to you. Or the guy who picked up the phone during a game with the Giants. The guy who said that black quarterbacks are under more pressure. McNabb keeps things interesting just by opening his mouth.

3. Phil Rivers

Image: Whodeyrevolution

Salary: $25.5 million
Endorsements: $500,000 (est.)
Total: $26 million

Contract: $92 million

Rivers boasts the second-highest quarterback rating of all time (95.8). The QB’s ever-improving passing helped the Chargers be recognized as a real football team beginning in 2006. Rivers is also renowned for his goofy facial expressions and for taking snaps in the shower wearing next to nothing.

2. Eli Manning

Image: Alexa627/Flickr

Salary: $20.5 million
Endorsements: $7 million
Total: $27 million

Contract: $106.9 million

When the New York Giants replaced Kurt Warner with Eli Manning, Peyton’s introverted younger brother, in 2005, fans were rife with doubt. That ambiguity disappeared in 2007 when Eli took the Giants to Super Bowl XLII victory, gaining the MVP title for himself. The younger Manning continues to prove that he’s a force to be reckoned with on the field.

1. Peyton Manning

Image: mind-eye/Flickr

Salary: $14 million
Endorsements: $14 million
Total: $28 million

Contract: $92 million

The Indianapolis Colts QB has proven himself as one of the best quarterbacks of all time. He has four MVPs, two NFL records, and five Colts team records. His outgoing personality also makes him extremely marketable. He wasn’t kidding when he said he’d appeared in half of America’s TV commercials while hosting SNL in 2007. With ten or more major corporate sponsors at a time, plus a handsome salary and contract, Manning enjoys superstar status—and serious moola.

Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.