Quarterback is without a doubt the most important position in the NFL. Teams throw big
dollars at the position even if the quarterback in question might not be a star.
That means players who are just below stardom get paid better at quarterback than stars at other positions. These big paydays often lead to endless debate on whether a quarterback is elite or not.
The Oakland Raiders just gave their starting quarterback Derek Carr a major pay raise. Since joining the league in 2014, Carr has won 22 games and earned only $4,335,601 in career earnings. That means the Raiders have paid him $197,073 per win.
The number of wins are for all games, including playoffs, and came from The Football Database, and the salary numbers are numbers from Spotrac. Carr is part of the new group of quarterbacks who have entered the league under the rookie wage scale.
As the season approaches, here is a look at starting quarterbacks with a minimum of five years in the league from most to fewest wins with salary per win. This excludes players such as Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who won 13 games as a rookie and earned $1,176,937, which is $90,534 per win.
Quarterback Career Salary Wins NFL Years Salary per win
Tom Brady*# $196,166,804 208 17 $943,110
Drew Brees*# $181,710,422 137 16 $1,326,353
Ben Roethlisberger*# $158,286,864 136 13 $1,163,874
Eli Manning*# $205,780,004 116 13 $1,773,966
Philip Rivers $173,917,656 101 13 $1,721,957
Aaron Rodgers*# $123,832,029 99 12 $1,250,829
Joe Flacco*# $114,800,000 93 9 $1,234,409
Carson Palmer $156,648,722 90 14 $1,740,541
Matt Ryan* $133,707,925 88 9 $1,519,408
Alex Smith $93,175,000 81 12 $1,150,309
Russell Wilson*# $46,262,520 64 5 $722,852
Andy Dalton $40,114,198 55 6 $729,349
Cam Newton* $66,025,398 54 6 $1,222,693
Matt Stafford $110,778,969 51 8 $2,172,137
Andrew Luck $52,107,998 46 5 $1,132,783
Ryan Tannehill $32,050,979 37 5 $866,243
Sam Bradford $96,084,404 32 7 $3,002,638
Kirk Cousins $22,689,695 19 5 $1,194,194
Josh McCown $32,043,000 18 13 $1,780,167
Brian Hoyer $12,505,000 16 8 $781,563
Tyrod Taylor $12,801,548 14 5 $914,396
*—started at least one Super Bowl
#—won at least one Super Bowl as a starter
The numbers are interesting when these starting quarterbacks are put together. The New England Patriots have gotten a heck of a deal on Tom Brady for seven Super Bowl trips and five Super Bowl wins.
Similar to New England, the Seattle Seahawks have done nicely with Russell Wilson by reaching two Super Bowls and one Super Bowl win. The Cincinnati Bengals have done well with second-round pick Andy Dalton, even without a Super Bowl trip.
Nine of the top 13 quarterbacks in wins have made at least one Super Bowl appearance. Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer and Alex Smith are the quarterbacks without a trip to the big game.
Sam Bradford is still the posterboy for why the NFL instituted a rookie wage scale. He has made a ton of money for just 32 career wins.