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Top 3 Highest Paid NFL Players to Earn Over $140 Million in 2020

Nica San Juan
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Despite the pandemic-related hiatus on sporting events in 2020, NFL players are still on track to rake in a pretty dollar. According to the research data analyzed and published by Safe Betting Sites, the highest paid NFL player in 2020 is Russell Wilson (Seahawks).

He moves up one spot from #2 in 2019 and is set to earn $51.94 million. The reason he makes it to the top spot is because of a 2019 salary deferral.

In 2019, his $140 million four-year contract extension got him a record $65 million signing bonus. The contract extension which was worth up to $146 million courtesy of salary escalators made him the highest paid player in the league at the time. From the bonus amount, $35 million was deferred until April 2020.

Jared Goff (Rams) will be the second highest paid player in the league in 2020, earning $50.98 million. He signed a $134 million four-year contract extension just before the start of the regular season in 2019. However, $20 million of his $25 million signing bonus was not payable until March 31, 2020.

Ryan Tannehill (Titans) ranks third with earnings worth $40.87 million. He signed a $118 million deal in 2019 and will be receiving the entire signing bonus worth $20 million this year. Additionally, he got $3.175 million in 2020 from incentives earned in 2019, as well as a portion of his 2019 base salary.


Joey Bosa Tops Highest Bonus Deferral List with $17.5 Million Payable in 2021

In total, the top three highest grossers in the league are set to earn $143.79 million in 2020. Notably, all three are quarterbacks, as is the fourth-ranked player, Carson Wentz (Eagles). His earnings for 2020 are $39.30 million.

Most of his earnings this year are from the $30 million that Philadelphia gave him to pick out his contract year, which is 2024. He received the full bonus amount just before the start of the first regular season game.

David Bakhtiari (Packers) rounds up the top five with $36.87 million. Thanks to his four-year extension worth $92 million, he recently became the highest paid offensive lineman in the history of NFL.

The deal came with a $30 million signing bonus, once again a record for an offensive linesman. Half of the amount was payable almost immediately while the other half will be paid on December 30, 2020.

Were it not for deferrals, Joey Bosa (Chargers) would have nabbed the top spot in 2020. In July, he received the first ever $100 million contract in the history of franchise. However, from the total signing bonus of $35 million, $17.5 million is payable on March 15, 2021.

The second highest deferral in the league is Christian McCaffrey’s (Panthers). From a total signing bonus of $21.5 million, $14 million was deferred. He will receive $7.5 million in April 2021 and $6.5 million in April 2022.

DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals) has the third highest deferral amount. From a total of $27.5 million signing bonus, $12.5 million was deferred. $5 million is payable in July 2021 and $7.5 million in July 2022.

Other noteworthy deferrals include Dalvin Cook’s (Vikings) $12 million from a $15.5 million signing bonus and Kirk Cousins’ (Vikings) $10 million from a $30 million bonus.


NFL Minimum Annual Player Salary Shoots from $495 Million to $610 Million in 2020

On the other end of the spectrum, Tyrone Swoopes (Seahawks) is the lowest paid player in 2020. Drafted in 2017, the 25-year old will receive a paltry $378,000, translating to around $24,000 per game according to Pro Football Reference.

According to data from Forbes, the minimum annual player salary in the league in 2020 is $610,000. The salary of the lowest paid player is slightly above the 2011 minimum, which was $375,000.

The minimum player salary in the NFL has been rising by around $15,000 annually in the period between 2011 and 2019. However, from 2019 to 2020, the figure shot up by a massive $115,000. The remarkable increase is thanks to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that came into force early in 2020. This will be the governing document for all negotiations for the next 11 years.

In comparison to other major sports leagues in North America such as the NHL, NBA and MLB, the NFL is the largest in terms of revenue. In 2019, the league’s total revenue was nearly $15.26 billion according to Statista.

Player salaries at the time totaled over $7 billion, with each team spending on average $220 million. For the 2018/19 season, the Chicago Bears had the highest payroll of $271 million in player salaries. During the 2019/20 season, Detroit Lions take the lead with a $250 million payroll.

Nica San Juan
Nica San Juan

Nica is a BA Political Science graduate, startup founder and financial expert. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and started several startups from a young age, eventually becoming fascinated with stocks, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain economy. She specializes in financial tech and her expertise is in writing detailed tutorials and guides on how to invest in stocks and cryptocurrencies.

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