Here Are the Top 20 Highest-Paid NFL Players for 2021

Here are the 20 highest-paid NFL players after Watt extension originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Pittsburgh Steelers backed up the Brinks truck for star outside linebacker T.J. Watt on Thursday.

Watt and the Steelers reportedly agreed to a massive four-year extension worth $112 million, with a staggering $80 million in guaranteed money.

The deal not only makes Watt the highest-paid player at his position but also the highest-paid defender in the NFL. The average annual value of his contract ($28 million) just edges out Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa ($27 million).

While Watt now tops all defensive players in average annual salary, where does he rank among the rest of the league?

Who are the highest-paid NFL players for 2021?

It’s no surprise that the list of the NFL’s 20 highest-paid players is littered with quarterbacks. The top 11 players in average annual salary are all signal-callers.

Kansas City Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes leads the way at $45 million. The 2018 MVP and Super Bowl LIV winner inked a 10-year, $503 million extension ahead of last season.

After landing his own big-money extension in August, Josh Allen is second behind Mahomes with an average annual salary of $43 million. The Buffalo Bills rewarded Allen with a six-year, $258 million deal following his breakout 2020 campaign.

Dak Prescott, who also signed a new deal this offseason, is third at $40 million. Prescott secured a four-year, $160 million contract from the Dallas Cowboys despite suffering a gruesome season-ending ankle injury last year.

Deshaun Watson ($39 million) and Russell Wilson ($35 million) round out the top five.

Watt comes in at No. 12, sandwiched between a pair of quarterbacks -- Ryan Tannehill ($29.5 million) and Jimmy Garoppolo ($27.5 million). Watt’s spot in the top 20 came at the expense of San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams, who leads all offensive linemen with an AAV of $23.01 million and is now 21st among all NFL players.

The highest-paid non-quarterback after Watt? That would be Arizona Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins in 14th at $27.25 million. The three-time All-Pro signed a two-year, $54.5 million extension, which he negotiated himself, after being traded from the Houston Texans last offseason.

Here’s a complete look at the top 20 (per Spotrac):

1. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes: $45 million

2. Bills QB Josh Allen: $43 million

3. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott: $40 million

4. Texans QB Deshaun Watson: $39 million

5. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: $35 million

T-6. Lions QB Jared Goff: $33.5 million

T-6: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: $33.5 million

8. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins: $33 million

9. Colts QB Carson Wentz: $32 million

10. Falcons QB Matt Ryan: $30 million

11. Titans QB Ryan Tannehill: $29.5 million

12. Steelers OLB T.J. Watt: $28 million

13. 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo: $27.5 million

14. Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins: $27.25 million

T-15. Chargers DE Joey Bosa: $27 million

T-15. Rams QB Matthew Stafford: $27 million

T-17. Buccaneers QB Tom Brady: $25 million

T-17. Raiders QB Derek Carr: $25 million

T-17. Browns DE Myles Garrett: $25 million

20. Bears OLB Khalil Mack: $23.5 million

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