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The Highest-Paid Player on Every NFL Team

Joel Anderson
·6 min read
Jeff Haynes/AP/REX
Jeff Haynes/AP/REX

The highest-paid player on an NFL team is a target as much as anything else. More so than other leagues, the NFL has especially interchangeable contracts that allow teams to drop players as soon as they start to underperform. Whereas MLB players like Albert Pujols or Miguel Cabrera can look forward to years of being paid like they’re in their prime, NFL stars can’t have the same expectations.

See: The Highest-Paid NFL Player in Every Position

What’s more, with a hard cap on total team salaries, the incentive to shed expensive talent is even higher. Every penny of a player’s “cap hit” counts against that total. Overpaid players don’t just cost teams more money; they prevent them from acquiring other, better players as well.

As such, the highest-paid player on each NFL team is — more often than not — clearly among their most valuable. But with a massive loss in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, jettisoning high-priced players could be an even higher priority for some teams.

GOBankingRates ranked the highest-paid player on each NFL team according to their salary cap hit for the 2020 season. Take a closer look at who earns the most on your favorite NFL squad.

Last updated: Dec. 9, 2020

Trask Smith/CSM / Shutterstock.com
Trask Smith/CSM / Shutterstock.com

Buffalo Bills

  • Player: Mitch Morse

  • Position: Center

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $11,625,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $6,775,000

AP/Shutterstock / AP/Shutterstock
AP/Shutterstock / AP/Shutterstock

Miami Dolphins

  • Player: Byron Jones

  • Position: Cornerback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $14,000,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $11,000,000

David Dermer/AP / Shutterstock.com
David Dermer/AP / Shutterstock.com

Cleveland Browns

  • Player: Olivier Vernon

  • Position: Defensive end

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $15,500,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $15,250,000

Find Out: Which NFL Teams Spent the Most in Free Agency?

Mark Zaleski/AP / Shutterstock.com
Mark Zaleski/AP / Shutterstock.com

Houston Texans

  • Player: J.J. Watt

  • Position: Defensive end

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $15,500,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $15,500,000

Nick Wass/AP / Shutterstock.com
Nick Wass/AP / Shutterstock.com

Baltimore Ravens

  • Player: Matt Judon

  • Position: Outside linebacker

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $15,828,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $15,828,000

Gail Burton/AP / Shutterstock.com
Gail Burton/AP / Shutterstock.com

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Player: Melvin Ingram

  • Position: Defensive end

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $16,625,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $14,000,000

Seth Wenig/AP / Shutterstock.com
Seth Wenig/AP / Shutterstock.com

New York Jets

  • Player: C.J. Mosley

  • Position: Inside linebacker

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $17,500,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $6,000,000

Michael Conroy/AP / Shutterstock.com
Michael Conroy/AP / Shutterstock.com

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Player: Yannick Ngakoue

  • Position: Defensive end

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $17,788,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $17,788,000

Adam Lacy/CSM/REX / Shutterstock.com
Adam Lacy/CSM/REX / Shutterstock.com

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Player: A.J. Green

  • Position: Wide receiver

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $17,865,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $17,865,000

Related: Which NFL Hall of Famer Has the Highest Net Worth?

©AP/REX/Shutterstock
©AP/REX/Shutterstock

New England Patriots

  • Player: Stephon Gilmore

  • Position: Cornerback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $18,670,833

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $10,500,000

Reed Hoffmann/AP / Shutterstock.com
Reed Hoffmann/AP / Shutterstock.com

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Player: Frank Clark

  • Position: Defensive end

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $19,300,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $12,000,000

AP / Shutterstock.com
AP / Shutterstock.com

Carolina Panthers

  • Player: Kawann Short

  • Position: Defensive end

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $19,464,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $12,500,000

Rich Schultz/AP / Shutterstock.com
Rich Schultz/AP / Shutterstock.com

New York Giants

  • Player: Nate Solder

  • Position: Left tackle

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $19,500,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $9,900,000

Look: These Are the Most Incredible Active Sellout Streaks in Sports

Jeff Haynes/AP/REX / Shutterstock.com
Jeff Haynes/AP/REX / Shutterstock.com

Atlanta Falcons

  • Player: Julio Jones

  • Position: Wide receiver

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $20,416,668

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $11,200,000

Bill Feig/AP / Shutterstock.com
Bill Feig/AP / Shutterstock.com

Minnesota Vikings

  • Player: Kirk Cousins

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $21,000,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $9,500,000

Matt Ludtke/AP / Shutterstock.com
Matt Ludtke/AP / Shutterstock.com

Detroit Lions

  • Player: Matthew Stafford

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $21,300,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $7,800,000

©Michael Ainsworth/AP/REX/Shutterstock
©Michael Ainsworth/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Arizona Cardinals

  • Player: Chandler Jones

  • Position: Outside linebacker

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $21,333,333

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $16,000,000

©Rick Scuteri/AP/REX/Shutterstock
©Rick Scuteri/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Washington Redskins

  • Player: Alex Smith

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $21,400,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $16,000,000

Charlie Riedel/AP / Shutterstock.com
Charlie Riedel/AP / Shutterstock.com

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Player: Derek Carr

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $21,500,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $18,900,000

Making an Impact: Sports Stars Spending Big and Speaking Out on Black Lives Matter

Mat Hayward / Shutterstock.com
Mat Hayward / Shutterstock.com

Green Bay Packers

  • Player: Aaron Rodgers

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $21,642,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $1,550,000

Patrick Semansky/AP / Shutterstock.com
Patrick Semansky/AP / Shutterstock.com

Tennessee Titans

  • Player: Ryan Tannehill

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $22,500,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $17,500,000

Butch Dill/AP / Shutterstock.com
Butch Dill/AP / Shutterstock.com

New Orleans Saints

  • Player: Drew Brees

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $23,650,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $2,000,000

Don Wright/AP / Shutterstock.com
Don Wright/AP / Shutterstock.com

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Player: Ben Roethlisberger

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $23,750,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $1,500,000

Jae C Hong/AP / Shutterstock.com
Jae C Hong/AP / Shutterstock.com

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Player: Fletcher Cox

  • Position: Defensive tackle

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $23,847,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $11,200,000

Read: NFL Players Whose Paychecks Aren’t as Big as You Think

Charlie Riedel/AP / Shutterstock.com
Charlie Riedel/AP / Shutterstock.com

Indianpolis Colts

  • Player: Philip Rivers

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $25,000,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $13,000,000

Arturo Holmes / Shutterstock.com
Arturo Holmes / Shutterstock.com

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Player: Tom Brady

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $25,000,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $15,000,000

Jack Dempsey/AP / Shutterstock.com
Jack Dempsey/AP / Shutterstock.com

Denver Broncos

  • Player: Von Miller

  • Position: Outside linebacker

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $25,625,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $17,500,000

Damon Tarver/CSM / Shutterstock.com
Damon Tarver/CSM / Shutterstock.com

Chicago Bears

  • Player: Khalil Mack

  • Position: Outside linebacker

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $26,600,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $13,300,000

Tony Avelar/AP / Shutterstock.com
Tony Avelar/AP / Shutterstock.com

San Francisco 49ers

  • Player: Jimmy Garoppolo

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $26,600,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $23,800,000

Jeff Haynes/AP / Shutterstock.com
Jeff Haynes/AP / Shutterstock.com

Los Angeles Rams

  • Player: Jared Goff

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $29,002,682

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $1,242,682

Check Out: 13 NFL Players Who Lost Millions

Grindstone Media Group / Shutterstock.com
Grindstone Media Group / Shutterstock.com

Seattle Seahawks

  • Player: Russell Wilson

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $31,000,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $18,000,000

Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock.com
Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock.com

Dallas Cowboys

  • Player: Dak Prescott

  • Position: Quarterback

  • 2020 cap hit (current season): $31,409,000

  • 2020 base salary (current season): $31,409,000

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: To find the highest-paid player on every NFL team, GOBankingRates used Spotrac’s salary rankings data for the upcoming 2020 NFL season. The highest-paid player on each team was determined by the player’s salary cap hit. Each player’s base salary for the corresponding season was included as supplemental data. All data and figures were collected and are up to date as of May 22, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Highest-Paid Player on Every NFL Team