We all know the kind of colossal figures that those NFL stars on the football field earn for throwing, catching, or running with a ball. But what about the people on the sidelines calling the shots? Well, even in 2022, this kind of sensitive information isn't always disclosed to the public. Plus, there's the added wrinkle that most coaches don't get to see out their full contracts... But here’s a look at what we do know about the highest-paid coaches in the current era.
20. The Unknowns
Let's get this out of the way first. Here is a list of the coaches who have not yet released their salary information:
- Lovie Smith of the Houston Texans
- Brian Daboll of the New York Giants
- Matt Eberflus of the Chicago Bears
- Kevin O’Connell of the Minnesota Vikings
- Mike McDaniel of the Miami Dolphins
- Josh McDaniels of the Las Vegas Raiders
- Doug Pederson of the Jacksonville Jaguars
- Dennis Allen of the New Orleans Saints
- Todd Bowles of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Arthur Smith of the Atlanta Falcons
- Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions
- Brandon Staley of the Los Angeles Chargers
- Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans
19. Kevin Stefanski — $3.5 million
Some experts consider Kevin Stefanski’s $3.5 million annual salary to be relatively low given what he’s achieved. The coach steered the Cleveland Browns to their first playoff in 18 years in 2020. That same season he was also awarded the AP Coach of the Year. But Stefanski’s pay packet could bulge when extension talks come into play — despite a disappointing 2021 season.
18. Nathaniel Hackett — $4 million
Nathaniel Hackett spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers, and in 2022 joined the Denver Broncos as head coach. He's got a good team, with QB Russell Wilson hopefully guiding the way. Hackett's 2022 season got off to a rocky start, though, with many blasting his clock management in a losing game against the Seattle Seahawks.
17. Mike McCarthy — $4 million
You’d expect a coach who guided the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl XLV triumph and ten playoff victories to be a little higher up this list. Still, $4 million per annum will put plenty of bread on the table. After a 13-season stint with the Packers, McCarthy was tapped up in 2020 by the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys ended 2021 with an impressive 12-5.
16. Zac Taylor — $4.5 million
Zac Taylor’s coaching career with the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t have the most auspicious of starts. He could only record a 6-25-1 tally during his first two seasons with the franchise. But the presence of quarterback Joe Burrow inspired the Bengals to make the Super Bowl in 2021. Taylor then found himself agreeing to an extension up to 2026.
15. Robert Saleh — $5 million
Robert Saleh’s impressive annual salary perhaps gives you a clue about the daunting challenge ahead of him. You have to go back to 2015 for the last time that the New York Jets enjoyed a winning season. The franchise are now pinning all their hopes on the former San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator to bring their drought to an end. A 2021 season of 4-13 was maybe not the best way to start.
14. Matt LaFleur — $5 million
One of several coaches to have benefited from the tutelage of Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur impressed many with his first three remarkably similar years guiding the Green Bay Packers. Yes, the franchise has triumphed in 13 games of all of LaFleur's seasons so far — and lost NFC finalist in the last two. LaFleur was no doubt relieved when star man Aaron Rodgers signed a lucrative three-year extension in March 2022.
13. Kliff Kingsbury — $5.5 million
Kliff Kingsbury has become just as famous for his luxurious pad as his achievements in the NFL. The head coach was able to afford the property that became a viral hit in 2020 thanks to his 2019 appointment as the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach. His first season record of 5-10-1 was followed by an impressive improvement to 8-8 in 2020. He then notched up a 11-6 record in 2021 and agreed to a contract extension up to 2027.
12. Nick Sirianni — $6-7 million
Some raised their eyebrows when the Philadelphia Eagles plumped for Nick Sirianni as their head coach in 2021. But Sirianni let the football speak for itself and registered a 9-8 record in his first season. He also became only the third head coach to guide the Eagles to the playoffs in their first season in charge. The Eagles' 2022 season has started with two wins as well.
11. Ron Rivera — $7 million
Ron Rivera established his coaching prowess with the Carolina Panthers during a nine-season spell that included a 2015 NFC title. But his biggest paycheck arrived when he was poached by the Washington Commanders. Rivera steered the franchise into the playoffs after winning the NFC East in his first year — admittedly still with a losing 7-9 record. They went 7-10 and skipped the postseason the following year.
10. Sean McDermott — $8 million
Sean McDermott seems like he is earning every cent of his mega-bucks paycheck. His tenure as head coach of the Buffalo Bills has seen the franchise return to form in staggering ways. In McDermott's first season — in 2017 — the franchise reached its first playoff game in 18 years. And in 2021 the Bills recorded a second consecutive division title for the first time since 1991. Surely, a Super Bowl finish is on the cards very soon.
9. Andy Reid — $8 million
Hailed as one of the finest offensive coaches in the modern era, Andy Reid earned his glowing reputation during a 14-year spell guiding the Philadelphia Eagles. The NFL veteran then, in 2013, moved to the Kansas City Chiefs, who soon drafted one Patrick Mahomes, now a bona fide star quarterback. The pair have been instrumental in the franchise’s two Super Bowl appearances and four consecutive AFC title encounters.
8. Mike Tomlin — $8 million
Mike Tomlin is now contesting his 16th season as the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach. And he’s been well rewarded for his longevity and loyalty, with his annual pay packet now topping $8 million. Tomlin has twice guided the franchise to the Super Bowl, winning the trophy in only his second season. The Steelers have also made no fewer than 10 postseasons under his guidance.
7. Matt Rhule — $8.5 million
The Carolina Panthers were obviously determined to sign Matt Rhule as their new head coach in 2020. They offered the Baylor University man a cool $8.5 million per annum and a seven-year contract to make the move. But was it worth it? Rhule has only managed to earn a record of 10-23 in his first two seasons in charge — and could be at risk of losing his job if things don't improve this year.
6. Frank Reich — $9 million
Under Frank Reich, the Indianapolis Colts have changed starting quarterbacks almost as often as they have changed their jerseys. Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, and Carson Wentz each enjoyed one season in the role — and Matt Ryan has taken over for 2022. But despite such turbulence, Reich has still managed to steer the team to one visit to the playoffs, where they won their opening game.
5. John Harbaugh — $9 million
It’s difficult to argue that John Harbaugh isn’t worth every cent of the $9 million he earns every year. Since being appointed as the Baltimore Ravens' head coach in 2009, he’s only finished two seasons with a losing record! John also steered the franchise to victory at the Super Bowl in 2013. Oddly enough, this was against a San Francisco 49ers team coached by his sibling, Jim Harbaugh!
4. Kyle Shanahan — $9.5 million
Kyle Shanahan impressed many with his stints for the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Commanders as an offensive coordinator. That included the San Francisco 49ers, who offered him the chance to make the step up to head coach in 2017. Shanahan then steered his players all the way to the Super Bowl in the 2019 season. Injuries to vital playmakers have plagued his team throughout his tenure — but the 49ers still reached the NFC Championship Game in 2021.
3. Pete Carroll — $11 million
Pete Carroll has shown that age ain’t nothing but a number during his decade-plus spell at the Seattle Seahawks. The football veteran is the oldest head coach in the NFL but has led his franchise to two Super Bowls, winning the first against the Denver Broncos. Carroll’s also guided the Seahawks to the playoffs in no fewer than nine seasons. Little wonder that he’s been signed up to stay until 2025!
2. Bill Belichick — $12.5 million
Bill Belichick has been with the New England Patriots for more than 20 years and has guided them to no fewer than six Super Bowls. Belichick also boasts the highest number of playoff victories ever for a head coach and has been awarded the AP Coach of the Year on three occasions. It's no wonder he's in the rare position to get involved in trade talks, too.
1. Sean McVay — $15-18 million
Sean McVay was only 30 years young when the Los Angeles Rams appointed him as head coach in 2017 — an NFL record. The high achiever quickly proved he was more than just a statistic when he steered the franchise to the NFC title in his first season. He then guided the Rams to two Super Bowls — winning the title in 2021. And after talking publicly about retirement, McVay eventually became the highest-paid coach in NFL history.
Yet, most of the players under these coaches are earning a lot more. We’re talking around the $70 million mark! Here’s what the highest-paid NFL stars are actually taking home...
25. Grady Jarrett — $30.3 million
Grady Jarrett finished out his 2021 season with the Atlanta Falcons with one sack and 59 tackles. The brass was suitably impressed with their defensive end, and so Jarrett started the following season with a lucrative three-year contract extension. It's could see the star player pocket as much as $67 million — not including the $300K he earns each year in endorsements.
24. Jonathan Allen — $31.4 million
Jonathan Allen of the Washington Commanders saw himself at the Pro Bowl for the first time after a stellar season in 2021. That's probably why Allen is set to take home a $31.1 million salary as well as $300,000 in endorsements in 2022. Well, that's assuming he doesn't put out any more controversial tweets...
23. Allen Robinson — $32.4 million
The Chicago Bears let Allen Robinson go to the Los Angeles Rams as an unrestricted free agent in 2022. His record o f293 receptions for 3,561 yards and 18 touchdowns was enough to convince the Rams to offer the wide receiver a three-year deal with $46.5 million. Robinson will grab $500,000 in endorsements, too.
22. Trevor Lawrence — $32.8 million
There's a lot of pressure on your shoulders as the first overall draft pick — but Trevor Lawrence seems to have coped with it nicely. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected the quarterback after their dire 1-15 record in 2020. At the time, Lawrence signed a four-year rookie contract that could reportedly earn him $36.8 million. That includes a sweet $24.1 million signing bonus — but not the $8 million he'll also get in endorsements.
21. Dak Prescott — $33 million
Dak Prescott had quite the successful debut season with the Dallas Cowboys after being drafted in 2016. He was crowned Rookie of the Year by both Pepsi and Associated Press and was selected for the Pro Bowl, too. The quarterback has been in constant contract extension talks since the turn of the 2020s. But for now, Prescott’s making do with a not-too-shabby $33 million per annum — including $13 million in endorsements.
20. Brandon Scherff — $33.4 million
If there's a guy who's been selected for Pro Bowl five times floating around as an unrestricted free agent, any team would be lucky to snap him up. That's why the Jacksonville Jaguars were so pleased to snag Brandon Scherff on a three-year, $49.5 million contract in 2022. The guard had spent the past seven seasons with the Washington Commanders and was a first-team All-Pro pick in 2020.
19. Davante Adams — $33.6 million
To land wide reciever Davante Adams, the Las Vegas Raiders handed the Green Bay Packers their 2022 first- and second-round draft picks. The franchise also agreed to a five-year, $141.25 million contract with Adams — the most lucrative deal given to a wide receiver in football history. They'll be hoping it's money well spent when Adams teams up with his former college quarterback Derek Carr.
18. Xavien Howard — $33.9 million
There was a moment when people began to doubt whether Xavien Howard would still be with the Miami Dolphins in 2022. The cornerback had requested a trade, after all. But then the Dolphins swooped in with an eye-watering new contract. Now Howard has signed a five-year deal that will see him pocket an "average-per-year salary of $25.345 million," according to the NFL Network. And that's not including incentives and endorsements.
17. Jamal Adams — $34.2 million
When Jamal Adams agreed to a four-year extension with the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, he became the highest-paid safety in the NFL. The contract was worth $72 million, including a nice $20 million signing bonus. "I believe in myself. And I believe in what I can do on the football field. All I needed was somebody to believe in me. And those guys upstairs, they believed in me," Adams said at the time.
16. Russell Wilson — $35 million
Russell Wilson became the highest-earning player in the NFL in 2019 when he inked a contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks worth an eye-watering $140 million. But in the 2021 season, Wilson fell out with the franchise and was traded to the Denver Broncos before the 2022 season began. His five-year deal with the Broncos was said to be worth $245 million.
15. Stefon Diggs — $36.2 million
Stefon Diggs was a force to be reckoned with for the Buffalo Bills in the 2021 season. He was picked for the Pro Bowl for the second year in a row, and he contributed ten touchdowns to the franchise's tally. That's probably why the Bills agreed to a four-year, $96 million contract that will hopefully keep Diggs at the franchise until 2026.
14. Chris Godwin — $36.8 million
It seems that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers really wanted Chris Godwin to stick around. The team put their franchise tag on the wide receiver for two straight seasons — the first time that had ever happened in its history. The second time around, though, Godwin signed a three-year deal reportedly worth $60 million — $40 million of which was guaranteed when he put pen to paper.
13. Mike Williams — $36.8 million
Mike Williams couldn't have done anything more in his 2021 season with the Los Angeles Chargers. He set personal bests in receptions, targets, and yards — and helped himself to nine touchdowns. His work with QB Justin Herbert was promised, too. So he earned the three-year, $60 million contract extension he signed before the start of 2022's season.
12. T.J. Watt — $37.7 million
Before the start of the 2021 season, T.J. Watt signed a four-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers that will see him bank $112 million. And at the end of the 2021 season, the Steelers must have been thinking this was a bargain. After all, Watt was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for 2021. He recorded the most sacks, tackles for loss, and quarterback hits out of anyone else in the league.
11. Von Miller — $37.8 million
Von Miller is closely associated with the Denver Broncos — and with good reason. He spent 11 seasons with the Broncos, notching up a franchise record in career sacks and earning a Super Bowl MVP title. The outside linebacker then won his second Super Bowl as part of the Los Angeles Rams in 2022 before being traded to the Buffalo Bills. His Bills contract was a six-year deal worth $120 million.
10. Ryan Ramczyk — $38.7 million
In 2021 a journalist asked Ryan Ramczyk how it felt to become the best-paid right tackle ever to play in the NFL. "It's a huge relief," he said. "I'm extremely happy with how everything played out." And we're not surprised! The New Orleans Saints agreed to add $96 million in new money to Ramczyk's five-year extension. He earned the big bucks after being named first-team All-Pro in 2019 and second-team All-Pro in both 2018 and 2020.
9. Amari Cooper — $40.8 million
Sportico puts Amari Cooper's salary at $38.8 million, on top of $2 million in endorsements. But then Cooper's record speaks for itself. "Amari Cooper has been a consistent playmaker in this league," said head coach Kevin Stefanski after signing him to the Cleveland Browns in 2022. "His skillset fits perfectly with what we want to do on offense."
8. Marshon Lattimore — $41 million
Marshon Lattimore was in the last year of his rookie contract with the New Orleans Saints when he signed a massive five-year deal worth almost $100 million in 2021. The cornerback had certainly earned the mega payday, with four Pro Bowl appearances in the past five years. But 2022 has not been good for Lattimore so far. He was arrested before the start of the season, and then he was ejected in Week 2 for fighting.
7. Kirk Cousins — $48.5 million
Kirk Cousins broke new ground in 2018 when he signed with the Minnesota Vikings in a deal that would guarantee him $84 million. The franchise must have been happy they got value for money, as two years later they offered the quarterback a further deal worth an extra $66 million. This made the Cousins not only one of the richest NFL stars, but one of the wealthiest stars in the field of entertainment generally. And then, in 2022, Cousins got another one-year extension — which was a $35 million fully guaranteed deal.
6. Patrick Mahomes — $48.6 million
Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl in half a century in 2020. The franchise subsequently rewarded the quarterback with the most lucrative deal in the history of the National Football League. That’s right: Mahomes was offered a ten-year extension to his contract worth an eye-watering $450 million! That's not including his $20 million in annual endorsements, either.
5. Aaron Rodgers — $53 million
Aaron Rodgers appears to be just as shrewd in the business world as he is on the football field. In 2019 the Green Bay Packers quarterback teamed up with Byron Roth and Nate Raabe to launch a $50 million capital investment fund. And Rodgers also has a minority stake in another sports team, the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA. In 2022 he signed a 3-year deal worth $150.8 million — $101.5 million of which is guaranteed.
4. Deshaun Watson — $56 million
The 2022 season has proved the ultimate peak and trough for Deshaun Watson. In March the quarterback signed with the Cleveland Browns on an incredible, fully guaranteed, five-year contract worth $230 million. And yes, that is the most lucrative contract in NFL history. But then the wheels came off. He was hit with sexual harassment allegations that resulted in him being suspended for 11 games and fined $5 million.
3. Tom Brady — $58.4 million
Following 20 years with the New England Patriots, NFL superstar Tom Brady stunned the footballing world when he transferred to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The quarterback was offered a guaranteed $50 million in the surprise two-year deal. And even after Brady told everyone he was going to retire, he still returned to the field for the 2022 season.
2. Josh Allen — $66.5 million
Quarterback Josh Allen has said that he would happily play for the Buffalo Bills for the rest of his career. And it seems as though he might get his wish. In 2021 the Bills agreed to a six-year contract extension with Allen that will keep him at the franchise until — theoretically — 2028. It was believed the deal was worth $258 million — with $150 million being guaranteed.
1. Matthew Stafford — $73.3 million
In 2017 Matthew Stafford smashed NFL contract records when he was offered a five-year deal worth $135 million. The quarterback had spent his professional football career with the Detroit Lions and completed 3,000 successful passes in fewer games than any other player in history. Then in 2021, Stafford switched to the Los Angeles Rams. And he was so successful that the following year he signed a four-year, $160 million extension.