Top NFL Players See Higher Earnings Despite Salary Cap Dip

    • The top NFL earners did better than last year, per Forbes' analysis, despite a drop in the league's salary cap.
    • Dak Prescott topped the list off of his $66 million signing bonus in his new contract.

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Even though the NFL’s salary cap is taking a dip for the first time in a decade, its top stars are doing better than ever.

The league’s top 10 earners will bring in $418 million this year, per Forbes, factoring in salary, sponsorships and other earnings — up 9% over the previous year. 

  • Dak Prescott topped the list with $87 million, mostly from the $66 million signing bonus in the four-year, $160 million deal he signed in March.
  • Tom Brady, $72.5 million, was second overall and the runaway winner in off-field earnings with $45 million. Brady has endorsement deals with the likes of crypto company FTX, Fanatics, and Under Armour, as well as his own ventures including NFT company Autograph and media venture 199 Productions.
  • Off-field earnings tapered quickly, with only Brady, Patrick Mahomes ($22 million), Prescott ($12 million), Russell Wilson ($12 million), Aaron Rodgers ($11 million) and Trevor Lawrence ($6 million) earning over $2 million off the field. 

The league’s salary cap, which is based on previous year’s revenues, dropped to $182.5 million for 2021, compared to $198.2 million the previous year. Teams paid $4.6 billion ($2.5 billion guaranteed) in new contracts and extensions this offseason, down 10% from last year.

Those figures are likely to grow when the league starts receiving revenue from its $113 billion in new media deals, most of which begin in 2023.