The NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks in 2024 salary, guaranteed money and total contract value

The NFL’s quarterback market has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last decade-plus, and it’s shown no signs of slowing down.

The burgeoning market is understandable. Quarterback is the league’s most important position, but there exists a dearth of highly qualified, pro-ready prospects available to play it.

That drives teams to lock in a deal with any decent quarterback they find, no matter the price. This is made possible by the league’s ever-rising salary cap, which played a role in the baseline value for top-end quarterback extensions to draw closer to $200 million in total value and $50 million in average annual value (AAV).

Perhaps no player will get a bigger overall deal than Patrick Mahomes — and maybe Deshaun Watson will remain the king of guarantees for another full NFL offseason — but as long as teams remain scared of potentially losing a top quarterback, they will shell out everything they can to keep him. That’s why the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL are set to make more than $2.3 billion combined throughout their deals. 

Here is an in-depth look at the league’s highest-earning QBs for 2024, including average annual value, total guarantees, and overall money.

(All salary numbers are via Spotrac.com unless otherwise noted).

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Which NFL quarterback has the highest salary?

Before we answer that question, let’s first establish that the best way to compare salaries in the NFL is by using a contract’s average annual value, or AAV. That’s the most accurate measure of a player’s worth even if not all the money in the deal is guaranteed.

Joe Burrow enters the 2024 offseason as the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback, making a cool $55 million annually as part of his five-year extension with the Bengals. He’s one of five quarterbacks league-wide making over $50 million a season. The other four are Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, and Jalen Hurts.

It should be noted that Mahomes is technically in the midst of a 10-year, $450-million deal he signed with the Chiefs, so on paper, one would assume his contract is worth $45 million per year. However, a restructure in 2023 changed that calculus, as Mahomes now makes $52.65 million annually through the 2026 season.

Mahomes and the Chiefs plan to revisit his contract in 2026, so the $52.65 million AAV more accurately reflects what Kansas City is paying him even though his contract’s total length and value haven’t technically changed.

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NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks

Rank Player AAV
1 Joe Burrow $55 million
2 Patrick Mahomes $52.65 million
3 Justin Herbert $52.5 million
4 Lamar Jackson $52 million
5 Jalen Hurts $51 million
6 Kyler Murray $46.1 million
7 Deshaun Watson $46 million
8 Josh Allen $43 million
9 Dak Prescott $40 million
  Daniel Jones $40 million
  Matthew Stafford $40 million

Which NFL quarterback makes the most guaranteed money?

Deshaun Watson signed his massive contract extension with the Browns during the 2022 offseason, but he remains the quarterback with the most guarantees in his deal. Cleveland fully guaranteed the $230 million it gave to Watson. The Browns may regret that decision considering he has a passer rating of just 81.7 across 12 starts in two seasons in Cleveland.

Herbert and Burrow became the second and third quarterbacks to break the $200 million threshold in total guarantees during the 2023 offseason. Lamar Jackson implied that he wanted Watson-like guarantees, but his deal — signed before those of Herbert and Burrow — gave him $185 million.

Mahomes is the most recent quarterback to join the $200 million total guarantees club. His restructured contract ensured he would make $210.6 million through 2026. That was Kansas City’s way of sweetening the pot after the Chiefs beat the Eagles in Super Bowl 57.

NFL quarterback contracts with the most guaranteed money

Rank Player Guarantees
1 Deshaun Watson $230 million
2 Joe Burrow $219 million
3 Justin Herbert $218.7 million
4 Patrick Mahomes $210.6 million
5 Lamar Jackson $185 million
6 Jalen Hurts $179.3 million
7 Kyler Murray $159.8 million
8 Josh Allen $150 million
9 Matthew Stafford $130 million
10 Dak Prescott $126 million

Which NFL quarterback has the largest overall contract?

Mahomes still has the NFL’s largest overall contract, valued at $450 million. The Chiefs will likely restructure his deal again somewhere down the line — perhaps ahead of the 2026 NFL season — so he may make more than $450 million over the deal’s 10-year term.

That Mahomes tops this list is hardly surprising. He’s a two-time MVP and a three-time Super Bowl champion who led the Chiefs to back-to-back titles, something no team had accomplished since the Patriots in Super Bowls 38 and 39.

Plenty of other quarterbacks are making at least $230 million in guarantees. That includes Burrow, Herbert, Jackson, Josh Allen, Hurts, Kyler Murray, and Deshaun Watson.

Given that trend, it seems like the starting point for high-end quarterback deals is starting to become at least $50 million in AAV and $200 million-plus in guarantees.

Top NFL quarterback contracts in total value

Rank Player Value
1 Patrick Mahomes $450 million
2 Joe Burrow $275 million
3 Justin Herbert $262.5 million
4 Lamar Jackson $260 million
5 Josh Allen $258 million
6 Jalen Hurts $255 million
7 Kyler Murray $230.5 million
8 Deshaun Watson $230 million
9 Dak Prescott $160 million
  Daniel Jones $160 million
  Matthew Stafford $160 million

Which NFL quarterback has the highest career earnings?

Aaron Rodgers overtook Tom Brady as the NFL’s all-time career earnings leader last offseason. He significantly widened the gap over the seven-time Super Bowl champion in 2024, while Matthew Stafford jumped to No. 2 all-time behind Rodgers and ahead of Brady.

Russell Wilson climbed into the top five on the all-time leaderboard, but the Broncos released him during the offseason. That may make it hard for him to climb higher than fourth all-time on the list, and he will eventually be overtaken by some of the younger quarterbacks on the list.

Namely, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen should eventually reach the top 10 with ease. By the end of Mahomes’ contract with the Chiefs in 2031, he will likely be the NFL’s top-ranked quarterback in career earnings.

In the ever-changing quarterback landscape, Mahomes will certainly face challengers for his eventual top spot as the salary cap continues to rise.

NFL quarterback career earnings leaders

Rank Player Career earnings
1 Aaron Rodgers $380.7 million
2 Matthew Stafford $359.3 million
3 Tom Brady $333 million
4 Russell Wilson $305.4 million
5 Matt Ryan $303.7 million
6 Drew Brees $269.7 million
7 Ben Roethlisberger $267.3 million
8 Eli Manning $252.3 million
9 Peyton Manning $248.7 million
10 Philip Rivers $243.9 million

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