The NFL's 25 highest-paid players in 2023, from Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes to Geno Smith

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Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes
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The NFL has managed to turn its free-agent shopping into an offseason spectacle, and it's easy to see why.

Every March, NFL teams dole out hundreds of millions of dollars to players with one goal in mind: building their team into a Super Bowl champion. As the salary cap has risen, so, too, has the overall amounts of NFL contracts. That has created a rotating crop of highest-paid players.

The 2023 NFL offseason has continued that carousel. For a handful of days, Jalen Hurts was the league's highest-paid player. Then, it was Lamar Jackson.

That power structure lasted about three months until Justin Herbert signed a five-year extension with the Chargers. Some wondered how long was to remain the NFL's highest-paid player — and along came Joe Burrow's contract.

But either way, Burrow, Herbert, Hurts, Jackson, Derek Carr, Daniel Jones and Geno Smith have all agreed to massive deals this offseason. So too has Nick Bosa, who is now the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. That has created a great deal of change from the list of the NFL's highest-paid players as of the close of the 2022 season.

MORE: Breaking down the NFL's highest-paid quarterbacks for 2023

Here's a look at the league's highest-paid players for 2023, with all salary information coming via

This story will be updated as contracts are signed throughout the 2023 offseason.

NFL's highest-paid players 2023

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1. Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals 

  • Annual salary: $55 million

"Joe Brrr" caught some cold, hard, cash on the opening night of the 2023 NFL season, signing a five-year, $275 million contract with the Bengals, locking him under center in Cincy for years to come. His deal was worth $12.5 million more than Justin Herbert's deal on total value

While the total value is insane, so is the guaranteed money for Burrow. His deal includes $219.01 million in guaranteed money, and he is now the highest paid player in NFL history. 

Burrow has ascended quickly since being taken No. 1 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. He's helped guide the Bengals to a Super Bowl and an AFC championship game appearance in his last two seasons. In 2022, he threw 35 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, with 4,475 passing yards in the process.

2. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs

  • Annual salary: $52.65 million

Mahomes was the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL in terms of total contract value thanks to the 10-year, $450 million deal he inked with the Chiefs in 2021, and that quickly became a steal. Evidently, the Chiefs realized that, as they restructured the veteran quarterback's contract two weeks into the 2023 NFL season.

Mahomes' deal is now worth $52.65 million from 2023 to 2026, all guaranteed. And while Mahomes' contract still technically runs through 2031, he and the Chiefs plan to revisit his deal in 2026.

Mahomes won his second MVP award in 2022 after posting 5,250 yards, 41 touchdowns and 12 interceptions even without Tyreek Hill. Clearly, he is well worth the money Kansas City is giving him, so it's no surprise that the Chiefs are working to make him one of the NFL's highest-paid players in the league.

3. Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers

  • Annual salary: $52.5 million

Three months after Lamar Jackson surpassed Jalen Hurts as the NFL's highest-paid player, Justin Herbert inked a five-year contract worth $262.5 million to remain with the Chargers. That is worth $2.5 million more in total value than Jackson's deal and $7.5 million more than Hurts' contract. Herbert's deal includes $218.7 million in guarantees.

It's easy to see why the Chargers paid Herbert. The No. 6 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft has posted prolific passing numbers during his career. His 14,089 passing yards are the most by a quarterback in the first three years of his career while his 94 passing touchdowns are second to only Dan Marino.

In 2023, Herbert completed 68.2 percent of his passes for 4,739 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He led the Chargers to a playoff berth for the first time in his career, too, but they lost in the wild-card round of the Jaguars.

Next up for Herbert will be getting a playoff victory to further show improvement and justify his massive payday.

4. Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens

  • Annual salary: $52 million

Just over a week after Jalen Hurts became the highest-paid quarterback in terms of average annual value, Lamar Jackson came in over the top to defeat him. Jackson's new deal is a five-year pact like that of Hurts, but while the Eagles' QB's contract is worth $255 million, Jackson's is worth $260 million.

Jackson's contract will include $185 million in guarantees — good for the third-most in NFL history behind only Deshaun Watson's $230 million and Herbert's $218.7 million — and will tie him to Baltimore through the 2027 season. The 2019 MVP has earned it with his performance when healthy, but he will need to avoid injury to fully live up to the big-money contract. He has missed five games in each of the last two five seasons due to a variety of injuries.

Even despite missing time with the injury, Jackson threw for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2022. He adding 764 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in his 12 starts.

5. Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles

  • Annual salary: $51 million

Hurts signed one of the most lucrative deals in NFL history in the 2023 offseason: a five-year extension totaling $255 million, with $179.3 million in guaranteed money. It ranks third all-time in total money, fourth in guarantees and third in average annual salary ($51 million).

Additional details per indicate Hurts' deal includes $110 million fully guaranteed at signing, incentives that can earn him up to $274.3 million through 2028 — including money he is owed through the remainder of his rookie contract — and the first no-trade clause in Eagles history.

That follows a season in which Hurts, 24, completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns to six interceptions. He also rushed for 760 yards and another 13 scores as he led the Eagles to the Super Bowl.

6. Russell Wilson, QB, Broncos

  • Annual salary: $48.5 million

The Broncos are regretting the massive extension they handed Wilson after acquiring him from the Seahawks last year. Denver was 4-11 in his starts, and Wilson completed a career-low 60.5 percent of his passes, for 3,524 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Denver is hoping that Sean Payton can resurrect Wilson's career after the Nathaniel Hackett disaster, but it would take a dramatic improvement for him to provide a solid return on the team's investment.

7. Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals

  • Annual salary: $46.1 million

Murray also struggled to live up to his contract extension in 2022. The Cardinals were 3-8 in his starts, and Murray posted a career-worst 87.2 passer rating before suffering a torn ACL against the Patriots. It isn't clear whether Murray will be back for the start of the 2023 NFL season, so Cardinals fans may have to wait until 2024 to see if he can put together a full season as a solid starter.

Deshaun Watson
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8. Deshaun Watson, QB, Browns

  • Annual salary: $46 million

Watson got a fully guaranteed $230 million contract from the Browns but played just six games during the 2022 NFL season because of a league suspension. He completed just 58.2 percent of his passes for 1,102 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions as the Browns went 3-3 in those six games. He was largely outperformed by Jacoby Brissett, the starter for Cleveland's first 11 games, but it's worth noting that Watson had been out of action for almost two years when he returned to the lineup. He could improve in 2023 as he continues to shake off the rust.

9. Josh Allen, QB, Bills

  • Annual salary: $43 million

Like Mahomes, Allen is looking like a bit of a bargain after some of the recent quarterback signings. He hasn't had nearly as much postseason success as Mahomes, but Allen was in the MVP race for most of last year and performed well before being slowed by an elbow injury. Overall, he completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 4,238 yards, 35 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while adding 762 yards and seven scores on the ground. If he can cut down on the picks, he will have a chance to be win an MVP in the not-so-distant future.

T-10. Matthew Stafford, QB, Rams

  • Annual salary: $40 million

Stafford got an extension last offseason after leading the Rams to a win in Super Bowl 56. His follow-up to that wasn't great; he was placed into the NFL concussion protocol twice before missing the final four games of the season with a spinal cord contusion. The 35-year-old led the Rams to a 3-6 record in nine starts in 2022 while completing 68 percent of his passes for 2,087 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

T-10. Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys

  • Annual salary: $40 million

Prescott is paid the same annually as Stafford, but the Cowboys starter had a better season in 2022. He wasn't spotless, as evidenced by his league-leading 15 interceptions, but he helped lead Dallas to a 12-5 record despite missing four games. Jerry Jones has mentioned working out an extension with Prescott, so expect the veteran to remain in Dallas long term.

Daniel Jones
(Getty Images)

T-10. Daniel Jones, QB, Giants

  • Annual salary: $40 million

Jones is coming off a breakout season that saw him complete 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,205 yards, 15 touchdowns and five interceptions while running for 708 yards and seven touchdowns. Jones will need to prove that his great season wasn't a fluke, but his massive decrease in turnovers from year to year is a great sign for his future.

MORE: Daniel Jones contract details: Giants QB gets giant extension

T-13. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Jets

  • Annual salary: $37.5 million

Rodgers entered the 2023 NFL offseason as the league's highest-paid player. Eventually, however, he was surpassed by three new quarterback deals before he restructured his contract to a two-year, $75 million pact to give the Jets more flexibility to add talent around him.

Rodgers took a small step back in 2022 after back-to-back MVP campaigns. He completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 3,695 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while leading the Packers to an 8-9 record. He will get another chance to live up to his contract during his age-39 season.

T-13. Derek Carr, QB, Saints

  • Annual salary: $37.5 million

Carr was the first quarterback domino of the 2023 NFL offseason to fall. He agreed to a four-year, $150 million deal with the Saints after being released by the Raiders. That reunited him with Dennis Allen, who named him the Raiders' starter in 2014. Carr will hope to bounce back after a down year during which he completed just 60.8 percent of his passes and matched his career high with 14 interceptions.

15. Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings

  • Annual salary: $35 million

Cousins has been among the highest-paid quarterbacks since joining the Vikings as a free agent five years ago. He has been consistently productive for Minnesota, averaging 4,448 yards, 33 touchdowns and 11 interceptions per 17 games played with the team. Despite his statistical success, Cousins has led the Vikings to just one playoff win; the team will hope that total increases greatly in 2023.

16. Nick Bosa, EDGE, 49ers

  • Annual salary: $34 million

Bosa became the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history on eve of the 2023 season when he signed a five-year, $170 million deal to stay with the 49ers. He tops the list in terms of AAV, total guarantees and total contract value among defenders. It's hard to argue with the 49ers' decision considering that he has 43 sacks in 51 career games. That includes a league-high 18.5 during the 2022 season.

MORE: History of NFL QBs on the non-exclusive franchise tag

17. Jared Goff, QB, Lions

  • Annual salary: $33.5 million

Goff was the Rams' starting quarterback during Sean McVay's first trip to the Super Bowl in 2019. He got a big-time deal after that but became much-maligned because of his penchant for turnovers. He was sent to the Lions as part of the Matthew Stafford trade and has since improved his perception under Dan Campbell. Goff completed 65.1 percent of his passes for 4,438 yards, 29 touchdowns and a career-low seven interceptions while leading Detroit to a 9-8 record last year. He will give the Lions a chance to make the playoffs if he continues to thrive in Ben Johnson's offense.

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18. Aaron Donald, DT, Rams

  • Annual salary: $31.7 million

There was some uncertainty about whether Donald would return for the 2023 NFL season, but the seven-time All-Pro hasn't retired yet. He is coming off a down year during which he played in only 11 games due to an ankle injury and had a career-low five sacks. Still, he is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and has 103 career sacks, so he is well worth his price tag.

19. Tyreek Hill, WR, Dolphins

  • Annual salary: $30 million

Hill was traded from the Chiefs to the Dolphins last offseason and was given a contract that made him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. Hill lived up to the deal, posting career highs in receptions (119) and receiving yards (1,710) while finishing ninth in MVP voting. The four-time All-Pro will continue to serve as a No. 1 receiver in Miami while forming one of the best receiver duos in the league alongside Jaylen Waddle.

20. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans

  • Annual salary: $29.5 million

Tannehill has been mostly efficient, albeit unspectacular, as the Titans' starter since signing a long-term extension with the team. There were questions about whether Tennessee would keep him as the starter entering the 2023 offseason after a season-ending ankle injury, but it seems as if it will keep him for at least one more season. In 2022, Tannehill posted 2,536 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions in 12 starts (6-6 record).

21. T.J. Watt, EDGE, Steelers

  • Annual salary: $28 million

How important was Watt to the Steelers' success in 2022? In the 10 games that he played, the Steelers went 8-2. In the seven that he missed, the team was 1-6. Watt is a three-time All-Pro and led the NFL in sacks in 2020 and 2021. He tied the NFL's single-season sack record in the latter campaign and was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year as a result. He is well worth his deal. He will hope to improve upon his 5.5 sacks from last season.

22. Davante Adams, WR, Raiders

  • Annual salary: $28 million

Like Hill, Adams was traded during the 2022 offseason and signed a big contract to become one of the NFL's highest-paid receivers. He also enjoyed a strong season, catching 100 passes for 1,516 yards and a league-high 14 touchdowns. He has been an All-Pro in three consecutive seasons and should continue to be the Raiders' No. 1 receiver regardless of who plays quarterback for the team in 2023.

23. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Titans

  • Annual salary: $27.25 million

Hopkins is a talented receiver but has struggled to stay on the field the past two seasons; he played in just 19 of Arizona's last 34 games due to injuries and a suspension. Still, he was on pace for 121 catches, 1,354 yards and six touchdowns had he played a full season, so perhaps a change of scenery with the Titans could spark a bounce-back.

24. Joey Bosa, EDGE, Chargers

  • Annual salary: $27 million

Bosa played in just five games (four starts) last season for the Chargers, but he was still able to log 2.5 sacks. That has been the story of his career; he has averaged 0.72 sacks per game but has only played a full season twice in his six NFL seasons. The 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year will need to stay healthy in 2023 or risk being a cap casualty in the ensuing offseason.

MORE: Nick Bosa eyes chance to play alongside brother Joey in NFL

25. Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams

  • Annual salary: $26.7 million

Kupp signed a monster extension with the Rams after he led the league in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16) during the 2021 season. He was an All-Pro, finished third in MVP voting and helped lead the Rams to a Super Bowl win over the Bengals. He played in just nine games during the 2022 season before suffering an ankle injury that helped to keep him out for the rest of the campaign. Even still, he was on pace for 142 catches, 1,534 yards and 11 touchdowns, so he is well worth his contract.

Jacob Camenker Photo

Jacob Camenker is a senior content producer at The Sporting News.