Antonio Brown’s new contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday made him the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver, but his earnings pale in comparison to the biggest paychecks for players at other key positions in 2017 – especially quarterback.
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Brown, 28, agreed to a four-year deal worth $68 million, including an average of $17 million in new money through the year 2021, according to details obtained by Pro Football Talk. In 2017, he’s set to earn $19.91 million, of which the majority is a bonus, plus a base salary of $910,000. By comparison, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who will earn the second-highest total at the position this year, will bring in $15.25 million in salary and bonuses.
While Brown’s projected earnings are unmatched at his position in NFL history, they rank just 7th among all NFL players in 2017, according to data from sports contract aggregator Spotrac. As of Tuesday morning, Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor is set to be the league’s top earner, with $27.5 million. However, the 27-year-old signal-caller’s deal comes with a caveat. The Bills have until March 11 to determine if they want to exercise their option on Taylor’s contract. If they opt to go in a new direction, they can release Taylor at no cost.
Taylor is one of eight quarterbacks that rank among the NFL’s top-10 earners this season. Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck ranks second with $27 million, the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton ranks fourth with $23.67 million and Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco ranks fifth with $21 million.
Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman is the league’s highest-paid non-quarterback this season, ranking third overall with on-field income of $24 million. Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is set to earn $20 million (sixth overall).
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford and Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill tied for eighth overall with $18 million each, while Arizona Cardinals star Carson Palmer ranks 10th with $17.5 million.
Adrian Peterson would have tied for eighth on this year’s list with $18 million in earnings – if the Vikings had picked up the running back’s contract option for 2017. Instead, Minnesota declined the option on Tuesday, voiding the deal and rendering Peterson a free agent.
Overall, retired quarterback Peyton Manning is the highest-paid player in league history, with nearly $250 million in career earnings.
A full breakdown of the NFL’s highest-paid players in 2017 can be found below, courtesy of Spotrac.
1. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills quarterback
$27.5 million – if option is exercised
2. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts quarterback
3. Josh Norman, Washington Redskins cornerback
4. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers quarterback
5. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens quarterback
6. Ndamukong Suh, Miami Dolphins defensive tackle
7. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver
8. Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings quarterback
9. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins quarterback
10. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals quarterback