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The 10 Highest-Paid Players in NFL History

In the NFL, lots of players sign big contracts. But unlike other sports, NFL deals are rarely guaranteed and few players see all of the money in those large deals.Who do you think made it big in the NFL?
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In the NFL, lots of players sign big contracts. But unlike other sports, NFL deals are rarely guaranteed and few players see all of the money in those large deals.

Who do you think made it big in the NFL?
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Seasons: 17Highest single-season earnings: $40 million (2012; includes $37 million signing bonus)Championships: 1Pro Bowls: 10First-team All-Pro: 1One thing to know: While much has been made of Tom Brady still playing well into his late 30s and early 40s, Brees is now 38 and doesn't seem ready to retire. However, his contract is up after the season and he may have to continue his career elsewhere in 2018.
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Seasons: 17

Highest single-season earnings: $40 million (2012; includes $37 million signing bonus)

Championships: 1

Pro Bowls: 10

First-team All-Pro: 1

One thing to know: While much has been made of Tom Brady still playing well into his late 30s and early 40s, Brees is now 38 and doesn't seem ready to retire. However, his contract is up after the season and he may have to continue his career elsewhere in 2018.

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Drew Brees

Seasons: 17

Highest single-season earnings: $40 million (2012; includes $37 million signing bonus)

Championships: 1

Pro Bowls: 10

First-team All-Pro: 1

One thing to know: While much has been made of Tom Brady still playing well into his late 30s and early 40s, Brees is now 38 and doesn't seem ready to retire. However, his contract is up after the season and he may have to continue his career elsewhere in 2018.

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Seasons: 18Highest single-season earnings: $28.8 million (2016; includes $28.0 million signing bonus)Championships: 5Pro Bowls: 12First-team All-Pro: 2One thing to know: Brady has consistently sacrificed money during his career for the sake of the team. However, he is starting to cash in now, signing a $41 million extension prior to the 2016 season that included a $28 million signing bonus.
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Seasons: 18

Highest single-season earnings: $28.8 million (2016; includes $28.0 million signing bonus)

Championships: 5

Pro Bowls: 12

First-team All-Pro: 2

One thing to know: Brady has consistently sacrificed money during his career for the sake of the team. However, he is starting to cash in now, signing a $41 million extension prior to the 2016 season that included a $28 million signing bonus.

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Tom Brady

Seasons: 18

Highest single-season earnings: $28.8 million (2016; includes $28.0 million signing bonus)

Championships: 5

Pro Bowls: 12

First-team All-Pro: 2

One thing to know: Brady has consistently sacrificed money during his career for the sake of the team. However, he is starting to cash in now, signing a $41 million extension prior to the 2016 season that included a $28 million signing bonus.

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Seasons: 14Highest single-season earnings: $37 million (2015; included $31 million signing bonus)Championships: 2Pro Bowls: 4First-team All-Pro: 0One thing to know: Manning made $37 million during the 2015 season alone as part of his new $84 million contract, which included a $31 million signing bonus. If he plays out the final two years of his current contract, his career earnings will grow to $252.3 million.
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Seasons: 14

Highest single-season earnings: $37 million (2015; included $31 million signing bonus)

Championships: 2

Pro Bowls: 4

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Manning made $37 million during the 2015 season alone as part of his new $84 million contract, which included a $31 million signing bonus. If he plays out the final two years of his current contract, his career earnings will grow to $252.3 million.

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Eli Manning

Seasons: 14

Highest single-season earnings: $37 million (2015; included $31 million signing bonus)

Championships: 2

Pro Bowls: 4

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Manning made $37 million during the 2015 season alone as part of his new $84 million contract, which included a $31 million signing bonus. If he plays out the final two years of his current contract, his career earnings will grow to $252.3 million.

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Seasons: 18Highest single-season earnings: $35 million (2004; includes $34.5 million signing bonus)Championships: 2Pro Bowls: 14First-team All-Pro: 7One thing to know: Manning's final paycheck in the NFL was a $4 million bonus for winning the Super Bowl in 2015. He had one year and $19 million remaining on his Broncos contract when he retired.
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Seasons: 18

Highest single-season earnings: $35 million (2004; includes $34.5 million signing bonus)

Championships: 2

Pro Bowls: 14

First-team All-Pro: 7

One thing to know: Manning's final paycheck in the NFL was a $4 million bonus for winning the Super Bowl in 2015. He had one year and $19 million remaining on his Broncos contract when he retired.

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Peyton Manning

Seasons: 18

Highest single-season earnings: $35 million (2004; includes $34.5 million signing bonus)

Championships: 2

Pro Bowls: 14

First-team All-Pro: 7

One thing to know: Manning's final paycheck in the NFL was a $4 million bonus for winning the Super Bowl in 2015. He had one year and $19 million remaining on his Broncos contract when he retired.

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Seasons: 14Highest single-season earnings: $32 million (2015; includes $17 million signing bonus)Championships: 0Pro Bowls: 6First-team All-Pro: 0One thing to know: Rivers got one of the surprise monster contracts in recent memory, which will likely push his career earnings close to $220 million when all's said and done. Of that, he spent $200,000 on a luxury SUV that has a film room in backfor his new commutes to Los Angeles.
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Seasons: 14

Highest single-season earnings: $32 million (2015; includes $17 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 6

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Rivers got one of the surprise monster contracts in recent memory, which will likely push his career earnings close to $220 million when all's said and done. Of that, he spent $200,000 on a luxury SUV that has a film room in backfor his new commutes to Los Angeles.

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Philip Rivers

Seasons: 14

Highest single-season earnings: $32 million (2015; includes $17 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 6

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Rivers got one of the surprise monster contracts in recent memory, which will likely push his career earnings close to $220 million when all's said and done. Of that, he spent $200,000 on a luxury SUV that has a film room in backfor his new commutes to Los Angeles.

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Seasons: 14Highest single-season earnings: $19.0 million (2014; includes $10 million signing bonus)Championships: 0Pro Bowls: 3First-team All-Pro: 0One thing to know: Palmer's $24.1 million cap hit this season is second only to Joe Flacco ($24.6 million).
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Seasons: 14

Highest single-season earnings: $19.0 million (2014; includes $10 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 3

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Palmer's $24.1 million cap hit this season is second only to Joe Flacco ($24.6 million).

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Carson Palmer

Seasons: 14

Highest single-season earnings: $19.0 million (2014; includes $10 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 3

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Palmer's $24.1 million cap hit this season is second only to Joe Flacco ($24.6 million).

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Seasons: 16Highest single-season earnings: $20.2 million (2010; includes $6.5 million signing bonus)Championships: 0Pro Bowls: 9First-team All-Pro: 3One thing to know: After several seasons with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, Peppers returned this season to his original club, signing a $3.5 million deal to play with the Carolina Panthers. At 37, he seemingly still has a lot of gas in the tank as he was recently named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
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Seasons: 16

Highest single-season earnings: $20.2 million (2010; includes $6.5 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 9

First-team All-Pro: 3

One thing to know: After several seasons with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, Peppers returned this season to his original club, signing a $3.5 million deal to play with the Carolina Panthers. At 37, he seemingly still has a lot of gas in the tank as he was recently named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

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Julius Peppers

Seasons: 16

Highest single-season earnings: $20.2 million (2010; includes $6.5 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 9

First-team All-Pro: 3

One thing to know: After several seasons with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, Peppers returned this season to his original club, signing a $3.5 million deal to play with the Carolina Panthers. At 37, he seemingly still has a lot of gas in the tank as he was recently named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

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Seasons: 9Highest single-season earnings: $51.1 million (2017, includes $50.0 million signing bonus)Championships: 0Pro Bowls: 1First-team All-Pro: 0One thing to know: Stafford agreed to a new five-year, $135 million contract this offseason, with a whopping $50 million signing bonus. The $27 million average annual salary is tops in the NFL
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Seasons: 9

Highest single-season earnings: $51.1 million (2017, includes $50.0 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 1

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Stafford agreed to a new five-year, $135 million contract this offseason, with a whopping $50 million signing bonus. The $27 million average annual salary is tops in the NFL

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Matthew Stafford

Seasons: 9

Highest single-season earnings: $51.1 million (2017, includes $50.0 million signing bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 1

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: Stafford agreed to a new five-year, $135 million contract this offseason, with a whopping $50 million signing bonus. The $27 million average annual salary is tops in the NFL

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Seasons: 14Highest single-season earnings: $35.3 million (2015; includes $31 million signing bonus)Championships: 2Pro Bowls: 5First-team All-Pro: 0One thing to know: At $87.4 million, the contract signed prior to the 2015 season by Big Ben didn't sound as sexy as the other deals signed by quarterbacks. But it was better than most, as he got more than $35 million in Year 1 and a whopping $53 million over the first two seasons.
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Seasons: 14

Highest single-season earnings: $35.3 million (2015; includes $31 million signing bonus)

Championships: 2

Pro Bowls: 5

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: At $87.4 million, the contract signed prior to the 2015 season by Big Ben didn't sound as sexy as the other deals signed by quarterbacks. But it was better than most, as he got more than $35 million in Year 1 and a whopping $53 million over the first two seasons.

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Ben Roethlisberger

Seasons: 14

Highest single-season earnings: $35.3 million (2015; includes $31 million signing bonus)

Championships: 2

Pro Bowls: 5

First-team All-Pro: 0

One thing to know: At $87.4 million, the contract signed prior to the 2015 season by Big Ben didn't sound as sexy as the other deals signed by quarterbacks. But it was better than most, as he got more than $35 million in Year 1 and a whopping $53 million over the first two seasons.

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Seasons: 13Highest single-season earnings: $26.3 million (2012; includes $15 million option bonus)Championships: 0Pro Bowls: 10First-team All-Pro: 1One thing to know: There were reports that Fitzgerald would retire after the 2016 season. That did not happen, however, his contract is up after this season, which could be his last.
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Seasons: 13

Highest single-season earnings: $26.3 million (2012; includes $15 million option bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 10

First-team All-Pro: 1

One thing to know: There were reports that Fitzgerald would retire after the 2016 season. That did not happen, however, his contract is up after this season, which could be his last.

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Larry Fitzgerald

Seasons: 13

Highest single-season earnings: $26.3 million (2012; includes $15 million option bonus)

Championships: 0

Pro Bowls: 10

First-team All-Pro: 1

One thing to know: There were reports that Fitzgerald would retire after the 2016 season. That did not happen, however, his contract is up after this season, which could be his last.