Game Changers: Top 10 Biggest NFL Contracts

John Rizzo

Updated on:

In the world of professional sports, the NFL stands as a behemoth, attracting top talent and commanding massive contracts for its star players. The pursuit of greatness and a coveted Super Bowl ring drives athletes to negotiate astronomical deals. 

These contracts are not only a testament to their extraordinary skills but also a reflection of the NFL’s ever-expanding financial landscape.

In this blog post, we will delve into the exhilarating world of the NFL and explore the top 10 biggest NFL contracts ever inked on the gridiron. 

From legendary quarterbacks securing record-breaking deals to defensive juggernauts reaping the rewards of their dominance, we will uncover the jaw-dropping figures that have reshaped the league’s financial landscape.

Join us as we journey through the annals of NFL history and witness the eye-popping sums that have made these players household names and set new standards for success in the league. Stay focused. 

Top 10 Biggest NFL Contracts

Here is the list of the biggest NFL contracts of all time with all the necessary information:

1. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes – $450,000,000

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes

  • Type: Extension
  • Years: 10 (through 2031)
  • Average Annual Value (AAV): $45,000,000

Patrick Mahomes, the face of the Kansas City Chiefs, secured a groundbreaking 10-year contract extension worth a staggering $450 million. 

This record-setting deal, signed in 2020, solidifies Mahomes as the highest-paid player in NFL history. The contract reflects the Chiefs’ commitment to the quarterback, who had already led them to a Super Bowl victory. 

Mahomes’ AAV of $45 million demonstrates the team’s confidence in his exceptional skills and potential to shape the franchise’s future. 

This monumental agreement not only rewards Mahomes’ on-field excellence but also signifies a long-term partnership aimed at sustained success for the Chiefs.

2. Bengals QB Joe Burrow – $275,000,000

Bengals QB Joe Burrow

  • Type: Extension
  • Years: 5 (through 2029)
  • Average Annual Value (AAV): $55,000,000

Joe Burrow, the Cincinnati Bengals’ rising star, inked a lucrative 5-year extension valued at $275 million. The deal, signed in [year], positions Burrow among the NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks. 

With an impressive AAV of $55 million, this contract reflects the Bengals’ confidence in Burrow’s ability to lead the team to prominence. 

Burrow’s exceptional skills and leadership, highlighted in his rookie season, prompted the Bengals to invest significantly in his long-term success. 

As the face of the franchise, Burrow’s contract not only rewards his past performance but also aligns with the Bengals’ vision for sustained competitiveness in the NFL.

3. Chargers QB Justin Herbert – $262,500,000

Chargers QB Justin Herbert

  • Type: Extension
  • Years: 5 (through 2029)
  • Average Annual Value (AAV): $52,500,000

Justin Herbert, the promising quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers, secured a remarkable 5-year contract extension worth $262.5 million. 

This deal, signed in [year], cements Herbert’s status as a foundational piece for the Chargers’ future. 

With an AAV of $52.5 million, the contract reflects the team’s belief in Herbert’s potential to elevate the franchise to new heights. 

Herbert’s impressive rookie campaign demonstrated his poise and talent, earning him the trust and investment of the Chargers’ front office. 

This substantial contract not only rewards Herbert’s early success but also positions him as a central figure in the Chargers’ quest for sustained success in the highly competitive NFL.

4. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson: $260,000,000

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

  • Type: Extension
  • Years: 5 (through 2027)
  • AAV: $52,000,000

Lamar Jackson, the dynamic quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, secured a monumental contract extension worth $260 million. 

The five-year deal, spanning through 2027, solidifies Jackson’s position as a cornerstone for the Ravens franchise. 

With an average annual value (AAV) of $52 million, Jackson’s contract reflects not only his exceptional skills but also the team’s commitment to building around his unique talents. 

As the youngest quarterback in NFL history to win the MVP award, Jackson’s electrifying playing style has redefined the quarterback position.

This massive contract places Jackson among the highest-paid players in the league, highlighting the Ravens’ belief in his potential to lead the team to championship glory. 

The extension underscores the symbiotic relationship between the Ravens and their star quarterback, setting the stage for an exciting chapter in the franchise’s history.

5. Bills QB Josh Allen: $258,034,000

Bills QB Josh Allen

  • Type: 35% Designated Veteran Player Extension (“supermax”)
  • Years: 6 (through 2028)
  • AAV: $43,005,667

Josh Allen, the Buffalo Bills’ rising star quarterback, inked a groundbreaking 35% Designated Veteran Player Extension, commonly referred to as a “supermax” deal, valued at a staggering $258,034,000. 

The six-year contract ensures Allen’s presence in Buffalo through 2028, solidifying his role as the team’s focal point. 

With an average annual value (AAV) of $43,005,667, Allen’s deal reflects the team’s commitment to securing their franchise quarterback.

Known for his arm strength, mobility, and leadership on the field, Allen’s contract mirrors his meteoric rise in the NFL. 

The Bills are banking on Allen’s continued growth and impact, aiming to build a perennial contender around his exceptional talents. 

This historic contract cements Allen’s status as one of the league’s elite quarterbacks and positions the Bills for sustained success.

6. Eagles QB Jalen Hurts: $255,000,000

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts

  • Type: Extension
  • Years: 5 (through 2027)
  • AAV: $51,000,000

Jalen Hurts, the Philadelphia Eagles’ dynamic quarterback, secured a lucrative contract extension worth $255 million, spanning five years through 2027. 

With an impressive average annual value (AAV) of $51 million, Hurts’ deal underscores the Eagles’ belief in his potential to lead the team to success. 

The extension reflects the team’s commitment to building around Hurts and solidifying him as the face of the franchise.

As a dual-threat quarterback, Hurts brings a dynamic element to the Eagles’ offense, and the contract signifies the team’s confidence in his ability to evolve into a top-tier NFL quarterback. 

The deal positions Hurts as a cornerstone for the Eagles’ future, signaling a new era for the franchise as they look to contend in a highly competitive league.

7. Russell Wilson – Broncos QB: $242,588,236

Russell Wilson

  • Type: Extension
  • Years: 5 (through 2028)
  • AAV: $48,517,647

Russell Wilson, the veteran quarterback, made headlines with his move to the Denver Broncos, solidifying his status as one of the highest-paid players in NFL history. 

Wilson’s massive extension with the Broncos amounts to an eye-watering $242,588,236, spanning five years and securing his presence in Denver until 2028. 

The annual average value (AAV) of $48,517,647 reflects the team’s commitment to building around Wilson and leveraging his proven skill set.

Known for his leadership, precision passing, and ability to perform under pressure, Wilson’s contract reflects not just his athletic prowess but also his marketability. 

This deal not only reshapes the Broncos’ quarterback landscape but also underscores the competitive nature of the NFL market, where top-tier quarterbacks command astronomical figures.

This groundbreaking contract cements Wilson’s place as a pivotal force in the league, with the Broncos banking on him to lead the franchise to new heights.

8. Kyler Murray – Cardinals QB: $230,500,000

Kyler Murray

  • Type: Extension
  • Years: 5 (through 2028)
  • AAV: $46,100,000

The Arizona Cardinals secured their future by extending their star quarterback Kyler Murray with a colossal contract worth $230,500,000. 

This five-year deal, running through 2028, places Murray among the elite earners in the NFL with an average annual value (AAV) of $46,100,000.

Murray, known for his electrifying playmaking ability and dynamic style, has quickly become the face of the Cardinals franchise. 

This extension reflects the team’s confidence in his ability to lead them to success and compete at the highest level in the league.

As the youngest player on this list, Murray’s contract not only recognizes his current achievements but also anticipates his continued growth and impact on the Cardinals’ fortunes. 

The hefty financial commitment signals a long-term vision for the team and a belief that Murray is the cornerstone for sustained success.

9. Deshaun Watson – Browns QB: $230,000,000

Deshaun Watson

  • Type: Extension
  • Years: 5 (through 2026)
  • AAV: $46,000,000

Deshaun Watson, after a turbulent period, found a new home with the Cleveland Browns, accompanied by a substantial contract extension worth $230,000,000. 

This five-year deal, extending through 2026, solidifies Watson’s position as one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league, boasting an annual average value (AAV) of $46,000,000.

Watson’s arrival in Cleveland brings a dynamic playmaker to the Browns’ offense, and this contract reflects the team’s belief in his talent and potential impact. 

The extension also underscores the Browns’ commitment to building a competitive roster and contending for championships in the coming years.

While Watson’s off-field issues have been a subject of controversy, the Browns are banking on his on-field abilities to elevate the team and create a new era of success in Cleveland.

10. Nick Bosa – 49ers EDGE: $170,000,000

Nick Bosa

  • Type: Extension
  • Years: 5 (through 2028)
  • AAV: $34,000,000

The San Francisco 49ers made a significant investment in their defense by extending star edge rusher Nick Bosa with a substantial contract worth $170,000,000. 

This five-year extension, lasting through 2028, places Bosa among the highest-paid defensive players in the league, boasting an annual average value (AAV) of $34,000,000.

Bosa, known for his disruptive presence on the field and ability to wreak havoc in opposing backfields, is a cornerstone of the 49ers’ defensive strategy. 

This contract reflects the team’s commitment to maintaining a formidable defense and its belief in Bosa’s ability to impact games significantly.

As one of the top defensive players in the NFL, Bosa’s extension signifies the value placed on elite pass rushers in the modern game and the 49ers’ dedication to fielding a championship-caliber team.

Factors Influencing the Biggest NFL Contracts

The biggest NFL contracts are influenced by a variety of factors, including the player’s skill and performance, the position they play, their marketability, the salary cap, and the overall financial health of the NFL. 

Here are some of the key factors that influence the size of NFL contracts:

Player Performance

The most important factor in determining the size of an NFL contract is the player’s performance on the field. 

Star players who consistently perform at a high level and contribute significantly to their team’s success are often rewarded with large contracts.


Different positions in the NFL are valued differently when it comes to contracts. 

Quarterbacks tend to earn the highest salaries because they are the most important players on the field and have the most responsibility. 

Other high-paying positions typically include defensive ends, left tackles, and wide receivers.


Players who are marketable and have a strong off-field presence can command larger contracts. This includes endorsements, merchandise sales, and the ability to draw fans and sponsors.

Free Agency

When a player becomes a free agent, they have the opportunity to negotiate with multiple teams, which can drive up their contract value. 

Teams in need of a particular skill set or position may be willing to pay a premium to acquire a top free agent.

Supply and Demand

The supply and demand for players at a particular position can also impact contract size. 

If there is a shortage of quality players at a certain position and a team is in need, they may be willing to pay more for a player who can fill that role.

Team Cap Space

Each NFL team operates under a salary cap, which limits the total amount of money they can spend on player salaries in a given season. Teams with more available cap space may be more willing to offer larger contracts.

Negotiation Skills

The player’s agent and the team’s front-office executives play a significant role in contract negotiations. Skilled negotiators can help players secure more favorable terms.

Incentives and Bonuses

Many NFL contracts include incentives and performance-based bonuses that can increase a player’s earnings. These incentives are often tied to statistics like touchdowns, tackles, or playing time.


The timing of contract negotiations can also impact the size of the contract. Players who negotiate during a period of high demand or after a standout season may be able to command larger deals.

Team’s Financial Health

The financial health of the team and its willingness to invest in player salaries can also influence contract size. Teams with stable ownership and strong revenue streams may be more willing to offer large contracts.

It’s important to note that the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) also plays a significant role in determining the structure of player contracts, including salary caps, guaranteed money, and other contract terms.


Who currently holds the record for the largest NFL contract?

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes held the record for the largest NFL contract. He signed a 10-year extension worth up to $503 million in July 2020.

How do NFL contracts typically guarantee player earnings?

Answer: NFL contracts often include guaranteed money, which can come in the form of signing bonuses, roster bonuses, or guaranteed salaries. 

These guaranteed portions ensure that a player will receive a certain amount of money, regardless of performance or injury.

Which position tends to receive the biggest NFL contracts?

Quarterbacks typically receive the largest contracts in the NFL due to their pivotal role in a team’s success. Other high-paying positions include defensive ends, left tackles, and top-tier wide receivers.

Do NFL contracts have salary cap implications for teams?

Yes, NFL contracts have salary cap implications. The salary cap is a limit on the total amount a team can spend on player salaries in a given season. 

Contracts with high salaries or bonuses can impact a team’s ability to sign other players.

How do incentives and performance-based bonuses work in NFL contracts?

Incentives and performance-based bonuses in NFL contracts are tied to specific on-field achievements, such as reaching a certain number of touchdowns, tackles, or games played.

If a player meets these performance criteria, they earn additional money on top of their base salary.

Wrapping Up

The NFL’s top contracts are a testament to the ever-evolving world of professional sports. As players continue to push the boundaries of performance and revenue streams grow, we can only anticipate even more staggering deals in the future. 

These contracts not only reward extraordinary skill and dedication but also underline the NFL’s position as a premier sporting organization. 

They serve as motivation for aspiring athletes and captivate fans worldwide with the promise of unforgettable moments on the field. 

While the specifics of the top 10 biggest NFL contracts may change over time, one thing remains constant—the league’s ability to elevate its stars to unprecedented financial heights, creating a legacy that extends far beyond the game itself. 

Stay tuned as the NFL’s financial landscape continues to evolve, promising more groundbreaking contracts and thrilling moments on the horizon. Thank you so much. 

Photo of author

John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn