Playing quarterback in the NFL means you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. When a Peyton Manning-led team wins, he gets all the glory, and when his team loses, he takes responsibility for the loss. Because of this, elite QBs are the highest-paid players in the league. Thanks to salary, endorsements, and post-career ventures, Manning is worth over $200 million! Another icon who played for the Dallas Cowboys is worth $600 million! These are the richest QBs in NFL history.
Roger Staubach – $600 Million
Financially, Roger Staubach has had more success off the NFL field than on it. A Hall of Famer and Dallas Cowboys legend, Staubach played in Dallas from 1969 until 1979, an era when salaries weren’t as exaggerated as they are today.
A savvy businessman, Staubach grew a real estate empire that has earned him his epic net worth. As he once explained, “I couldn’t have retired at my age and just played golf. First of all, they didn’t pay quarterbacks what they do today. And I was 37 with three kids. I kept thinking about [what would happen] if some linebacker takes off my head and I can’t play anymore.”
Peyton Manning – $250 Million
During his career with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning started four Super Bowls, winning two. In one season he threw 55 touchdowns passes, a single-season NFL record.
Thanks to his accomplishments on the field, the era he played during, and his glut of endorsement deals off the field, Manning is worth a reported $250 million. And while pressure mounts on him to join a broadcasting crew in the booth, the QB seems content to take things easy in retirement.
Tom Brady – $200 Million
Arguably the greatest QB to ever play in the NFL, Tom Brady continues to make waves on the field well into his 40s. Amazingly, if Brady had been a little more selfish during his time in New England, his net worth might be more than $200 million.
Brady famously signed contracts as a Patriot that undervalued him so the team could keep certain other skill players around. The strategy netted Brady six Super Bowl championships and multiple lucrative endorsement deals.
Steve Young – $200 Million
When Steve Young succeeded Joe Montana in San Francisco, few could have predicted he would throw a record six touchdowns in one Super Bowl. Young’s NFL career was short-lived, though, as he was forced to retire in 1999 after several concussions.
Off the field, Young has not only became a vital on-air personality for ESPN, he has also been a highly successful businessman. In 2007, he co-founded Huntsman Gay Global Capital, a venture that has helped skyrocket his net worth to $200 million.
Drew Brees – $160 Million
Like Tom Brady, Drew Brees has played in the NFL at an elite level well into his 40s. A legend as a Saint, Brees has been in the Big Easy for so long it’s easy to forget he was originally drafted by the Chargers.
Brees, who is worth a reported $160 million and been invaluable in New Orleans. He even brought the city together after Hurricane Katrina by winning the team’s first Super Bowl.
Eli Manning – $150 Million
Eli Manning has one of the more complicated legacies of the players you will find on this list. The franchise QB for the New York Giants, Manning beat Tom Brady twice in Super Bowls and earned millions during his career.
Despite his accomplishments, there are still questions about how good of a QB Manning really was. Love him or hate him, his success in the Super Bowl, and a few pricey endorsement deals, secured his estimated $150 million net worth.
John Elway – $145 Million
John Elway spent his entire 16-year career with the Denver Broncos. During his run as the team’s starting QB, he started five Super Bowls, winning back-to-back championships before retiring. Since then, his net worth has ballooned to $145 million.
Try as he might, Elway couldn’t stay away from the game, and after several successful ventures were in the books, he joined the Broncos’ front off as team president, a position he has used to win a third Super Bowl championship.
Russell Wilson – $135 Million
Russell Wilson is one of the NFL’s highest-paid QBs, earning roughly $35 million a season to play for the Seattle Seahawks. Worth every penny, Wilson rarely misses the playoffs and has won the Super Bowl once.
Off the field, Wilson has become his own brand. Add that revenue in with his mega endorsement deals with major food and clothing companies and it’s not hard to see how this superstar has a super large net worth!
Aaron Rodgers – $120 Million
The face of the Green Bay Packers for over a decade, Aaron Rodgers is worth a reported $120 million. With one Super Bowl championship and two NFL MVP awards to his name, Rodgers earns every penny of his lofty salary.
Helping boost his net worth off the field is his sponsorship with State Farm Insurance. How many times a day do you see him during a commercial break interacting with Jake?
Brett Favre – $100 Million
Now that we’ve talked about his successor, let’s break down Brett Favre’s net worth. Considered one of the greatest QBs of all-time, Favre played in the NFL for 20 years for the Falcons, Packers, Jets, and Vikings.
When he retired, Favre was the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. His long career, and endorsement deals with Wrangler Jeans and Copper Fit, have helped the Hall of Famer earn an estimated net worth of $100 million.
Joe Montana – $100 Million
The winner of four Super Bowls during his legendary tenure with the San Francisco 49ers, Joe Montana is worth a reported $100 million. Like Staubach, much of Montana’s wealth came after he retired.
Montana has his own successful wine label and listed his massive estate in 2009 for $49 million, a fitting number all things considered. Montana, unlike Steve Young, has mostly stayed out of the public eye since leaving the world of professional sports behind.
Ben Roethlisberger – $100 Million
Over the last two decades, Ben Roethlisberger has been nothing short of sensational for the Pittsburgh Steelers. When he’s been healthy, the team has been a perennial Super Bowl contender. And when he’s been hurt, it’s been the opposite story.
His long career has led to a healthy bank account, along with a bloated net worth of $100 million. With a few years left in his tank, we expect that lofty number to keep growing, too.
Fran Tarkenton – $100 Million
Fran Tarkenton built his $100 million net worth on a media career and business acumen that served him well after his 18 year NFL career. For a brief period, Tarkenton worked as a color analyst for Monday Night Football.
He also was the founder of Tarkenton Software, a company specializing in generating computer programs. Not one to settle for one business, the Minnesota legend also owns $40 million worth of stocks in Apple Computers.
Joe Flacco – $75 Million
You might be surprised to see Joe Flacco on this list, but he’s earned his place. After winning the Super Bowl in 2013 and going on a historic postseason run, Baltimore rewarded him with the richest contract in NFL history.
Flacco didn’t exactly live up to the contract, but that didn’t stop his net worth from climbing. After burning through his goodwill in Baltimore, Flacco became a Bronco. In 2020, he signed a deal to play for the New York Jets.
Cam Newton – $75 Million
Cam Newton became a superstar with the Carolina Panthers, winning one NFL MVP and appearing in the Super Bowl once. If it wasn’t for a shoulder injury, the uber-talented Newton may have been high on this list.
Still one of the most exciting players in the league, Newton isn’t as explosive as he used to be, but he’s proven to be a valuable player for the New England Patriots. With his salary and endorsements added together, Newton is worth an estimated $75 million.
Tony Romo – $70 Million
Tony Romo had a successful, if injury-plagued, career in the NFL as the starting QB for the Dallas Cowboys. Immediately after retiring, Romo was hired by CBS to be the network’s top NFL analyst.
Romo is now known as one of the best analysts in the industry and has used his media career to gain multi-million dollar endorsement deals. Today, it’s estimated that he is worth about $70 million.
Matt Ryan – $70 MIllion
Taken by the Atlanta Falcons with the 3rd overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Matt Ryan has been the team’s franchise QB ever since. He has reached one Super Bowl and been named the NFL MVP once.
For all his accomplishments, Ryan has been well-paid by the Falcons. In 2018, he became the first player in NFL history to have a $30 million a year salary after signing a massive extension.
Kirk Cousins – $70 Million
Kirk Cousins was the first player in NFL history to sign a fully guaranteed contract when he left the Washington Football Team for the Minnesota Vikings. A few years into his deal, the Vikings extended his contract, showing their commitment to Cousins as their franchise player.
With a reported net worth of $70 million, Cousins is one of the wealthiest players in the NFL. Still young, we expect his worth to rise as long as he continues to play at a near-elite level.
Patrick Mahomes – $30 Million
After signing a mind-boggling 10-year contract extension worth more than $400 million with the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes’ $30 million net worth is going to blow up. The young star already has won a Super Bowl and league MVP.
An endorsement deal with State Farm has helped increase Mahomes’ net worth, as well another high profile investment. Shortly after signing his massive extension, the QB bought an ownership piece of the Kansas City Royals.
Terry Bradshaw- $25 Million
Terry Bradshaw won four Super Bowls during his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Matching Joe Montana with big game wins hasn’t meant the same for his net worth, though. A stable career on television as a Fox analyst has helped Bradshaw’s net worth rise to $25 million.
Just being an analyst isn’t enough for Bradshaw, who also has a reality show following his life with his daughters, which airs on E!
Carson Palmer – $60 Million
Few QBs in the NFL have gone through the ups and downs of Carson Palmer. He was drafted by the Bengals to bring the franchise to relevance, and he did. Eventually, he grew tired of Cincinnati and refused to play, forcing them to trade him to the Raiders.
After a brief stint in black and gold, Palmer found his way to Arizona, where he came up just short of taking the team to the Super Bowl. Now happily retired, Palmer is worth an estimated $60 million.
Troy Aikman – $50 Million
Troy Aikman is the winner of three Super Bowls and is currently employed by Fox as the network’s number one analyst. He played 12 years in the NFL, all for the Cowboys, where he became the franchise’s most decorated QB ever.
As an analyst, Aikman is said to earn $7.5 million a year. That number makes him one of the highest-paid analysts in the industry. We wonder how much Fox will increase his pay during their next round of salary negotiations.
Dan Marino – $50 Million
Dan Marino spent 17 seasons in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins. When he retired, he was statistically the best QB to ever play the game. Even though he never won a Super Bowl, Marino was the team’s franchise player and they have been looking for his replacement ever since.
After retiring, Marino turned to broadcasting. He works for CBS as a part of the network’s pre-game coverage as well as making appearances on other programs.
Drew Bledsoe – $48 Million
Drew Bledsoe played for a long time in the NFL, leading the Patriots to the Super Bowl once. He played for several teams, but his most notable time was spent with the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys.
Since putting his shoulder pads away for good, Bledsoe started a new career in winemaking. He moved to Bend, Oregon to raise his kids and started his own wine label in Napa County, California. He is worth an estimated $48 million.
Carson Wentz – $45 Million
A first-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles, Carson Wentz has seen his success on the field limited by injuries. He played at an MVP caliber level once and turned that performance into a sizable contract worth $128 million making him one of the highest-paid players in the NFL.
Thanks to that contract, Wentz is worth an estimated $45 million. Although his future in the city of brotherly love is in doubt, his financial future is not.
Andrew Luck – $40 Million
If it weren’t for injuries, Andrew Luck would be much higher on this list. When he was healthy, he was one of the best QBs in the NFL. In 2016, the Colts even inked the star to the five-year, $123 million extension.
Luck never played out the entirety of that contract. At 29-years-old, he retired from the NFL, citing the punishment his body had taken as the reason. Today, the former star is worth a reported $40 million.
Jared Goff – $30 Million
The first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff at one point early in his career looked like a bust. Then Sean McVay came to Los Angeles and reinvented the young QB in his image.
The new version of Goff was stunning, and after leading the team to the Super Bowl, he was rewarded with a $134 million contract extension. With a yearly salary of nearly $30 million, it’s no surprise to see Goff appear on this list.
Jay Cutler – $30 Million
A high profile draft prospect, Jay Cutler bounced around the NFL during his career, almost always as a starting QB. Whether it was for the Broncos, Bears, or Dolphins, Cutler always ended up under center and earned a nice payday as a result.
Adding to his net worth profile was a high profile marriage to Laguna Beach star Kristin Cavallari. The romance resulted in the pair getting their own reality television show.
Deshaun Watson – $24 Million
The Houston Texans’ franchise QB, Deshaun Watson is worth an estimated $24 million. Taken with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Watson has been sensational for the team and was rewarded in 2020 with a $156 million contract extension.
With less than five seasons under his belt, it’s a little surprising to see Watson is already worth $24 million, a number that will undoubtedly rise as he continues to excel at an elite level.
Jim Kelly – $20 Million
A legend for the Buffalo Bills, Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly is worth a reported $20 million. Drafted by the team in 1983, Kelly became the starting QB in 1986. In the ’90s, he led the Bills to four straight Super Bowls, failing to win a single one.
Kelly has taken on multiple business ventures since retiring, joining companies that he has helped gain merchandising deals with professional sports leagues.
Michael Vick – $124.8 Million
Michael Vick is a former professional football quarterback that played in a total of 13 seasons in the NFL, mostly with the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles. In college, he played football at Virginia Tech until the Falcons picked him as the first overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft.
Over the course of his football career, he was the first NFL quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, and still holds the record for the most career rushes.
Sam Bradford – $130 Million
A former NFL quarterback, Sam Bradford played in the league for nine seasons with both the St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Kings. However, he also spent some time with the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals as well.
He declared for the draft after the 2009 season and was the first overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. He had many achievements as a rookie, earning him the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, and continued on to have a successful career.
Alex Smith – $161.5 Million
The quarterback for the Washington Football Team of the NFL, Smith started his football career in college for the Utah Utes, in which he was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.
After college, he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the first pick of the 2005 NFL Draft although he struggled with injuries for the first six seasons. Although he underwent numerous trades and many career highlights, unfortunately, his career was plagued with injuries.
Matthew Stafford – $203.8 Million
NFL quarterback Matthew Stafford attended the University of Georgia, where he played football from 2006 to 2008 before being drafted by the Lions in their first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Impressively, Stafford was the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw over 5,000 yards in a single season and was the fastest player in history to reach 40,000 yards over a period of 147 games. Stafford also holds the record for the most comeback wins in a season. At one point, he was the highest-paid player in NFL history.
Philip Rivers – $218.9 Million
Philip Rivers was the quarterback at North Carolina State before he was selected in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft and the fourth overall pick by the New York Giants.
However, during the same draft, he was traded to the San Diego Chargers, for whom he played for a whole 16 seasons before finally signing with the Indianapolis Colts in 2020. Currently, he is the second all-time in consecutive regular-season starts by a quarterback in NFL history with 242.