Being an NFL superstar has many benefits. Not only are players like Drew Brees and Tom Brady seen as the faces of the league, but they are also worth millions of dollars. Of course, they aren’t the only players to amass incredible net worths. Did you know that Joe Montana is worth nearly $100 million? Michael Strahan has earned a rich living with his post-playing media career, too. But who is the richest of the rich? These are the wealthiest figures in NFL history!
Alex Smith – $55 Million
Having played for three teams in the NFL, Alex Smith has had one of the most successful careers of the last twenty years. Drafted by the 49ers, Smith struggled for several seasons before blossoming and nearly leading the team to the Super Bowl.
Once Colin Kaepernick took over in SF, Smith was traded to the Chiefs, where he signed a big-money contract and continued to play at a strong level. In 2018, Kansas City traded him to the Redskins, where he signed another sizable contract. Not many players on this list can say they went from draft bust to franchise savior.
Fran Tarkenton – $50 Million
A Minnesota Vikings legend, Fran Tarkenton spent 18 years in the NFL and set nearly every major QB record in the process. While many of those records have since been broken, his legacy has not.
After retiring, Tarkenton became a television personality and businessman. He worked as one of the voices of Monday Night Football for several years. At the same time, he started a tech company called CASE, which merged with KnowledgeWare before being sold to Sterling Software in 1994.
Carson Palmer – $60 Million
Carson Palmer was a college football icon at USC before being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals. Alongside head coach Marvin Lewis, Palmer helped rejuvenate the franchise before being traded to the Oakland Raiders (now Las Vegas).
Palmer ended his career in Arizona, where he found playoff success for the first time and pushed the team to the brink of making the Super Bowl. When he retired in 2017, Palmer moved his family to Idaho where he could live a more private life and focus on being a dad.
Michael Strahan – $65 Million
In 2001, Michael Strahan set the record for most sacks in a season with 22.5. Thirteen years later he was officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Not all of Strahan’s wealth comes from his playing days, though.
Once he retired, Strahan got into broadcasting, which has proven to be a highly lucrative career for him. Not only is he a staple on FOX NFL pre-game shows, but he has also hosted game shows and co-hosted Live! for several seasons with Kelly Ripa.
Tony Romo – $70 Million
A stabilizing presence under center in Dallas for years, Tony Romo was known as much for his on-field heroics as he was for fumbling the snap in the biggest game of his life.
And today he is known as Jim Nantz’s partner in the booth for CBS. Currently, Romo is the highest paid NFL analyst, pulling in a cool $17 million a year after signing his most recent deal. ESPN tried to sway him be the new voice of Monday Night Football, but lost the betting war to CBS.
Sam Bradford – $70 Million
It has been said that Sam Bradford has made more money while playing the least amount of football than anyone. While he might only be worth $70 million, he has signed contracts that would have totaled nearly $130 million if he had stayed healthy enough to play them out.
Every win on Bradford’s career record cost teams about $3.5 million. That’s a hefty price to pay for an oft-injured QB with an overall losing record (34-48-1).
Matt Ryan – $70 Million
Matt Ryan has earned every penny of his net worth after winning the NFL MVP award and leading the Falcons to the Super Bowl in 2016. That magical season he threw 38 touchdown passes and only seven interceptions.
Before the start of the 2018 season, Ryan signed a $150 million extension. The deal, which was restructured at the end of the 2019 season, gave Ryan one of the highest annual salaries in NFL history.
Ben Roethlisberger – $70 Million
Ben Roethlisberger has been the starting QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2004. In his first season, he nearly became the first rookie QB to ever start a Super Bowl but lost a heart-breaking AFC Championship game to the New England Patriots.
In his second season, Roethlisberger righted his wrong and not only went to the Super Bowl, but won the game. A few years later he won a second ring, cementing himself as a Pittsburgh sports legend.
Roger Goodell – $75 Million
Not a player, but maybe the most well-known figure in the NFL, Roger Goodell has been involved in the league since 1982. He slowly worked his way through the ranks until 2006, when he officially became the league commissioner.
Since taking over the job, Goodell’s run has seen its fair share of controversy. The owners have never lost their faith in him, though, leading to a huge yearly salary and an even larger net worth.
Joe Montana – $80 Million
Before Tom Brady earned his GOAT (greatest of all time) status, he had to dethrone Joe Montana. Montana turned the 49ers’ fortunes around in the ’80s and won four Super Bowls before being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs.
He had several nicknames during his career, including “Joe Cool,” “Comeback Kid,” and “Bird Legs.” Since retiring, Montana has maintained his life in San Francisco as a public figure. He is often spotted at sporting and local events.
Eli Manning – $100 Million
Eli Manning has gone head-to-head with Tom Brady twice in Super Bowls and won both times. Despite an ugly end to his career with the Giants, it’s undeniable how much greatness he achieved there.
Originally drafted by the Chargers, Manning refused to play in San Diego (now Los Angeles) and was traded to the Giants. In return, the Chargers got Philip Rivers and a third-round draft pick. We’d say the trade worked out for both players, but only Manning has won a ring.
Drew Brees – $100 Million
When Drew Brees won the Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints in 2010, it felt like it was bigger than football. The game represented a step toward recovery for New Orleans, which was still putting itself back together after Hurricane Katrina.
Originally drafted by the Chargers in 2001, the start of Brees’ career was hurt by a shoulder injury. After San Diego moved on to Phillip Rivers, Brees signed with New Orleans as a free agent, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Brett Favre – $100 Million
Did you know that Brett Favre was originally drafted by the Atlanta Falcons? He spent one season in Atlanta before being traded to the Packers and becoming a legend. In the green and yellow, Favre won one Super Bowl and was named the NFL MVP three years in a row.
Success continued to follow Favre after he left the Packers and became a New York Jet. He spent one season in Gotham before moving onto the Vikings, where he had one of the best seasons of his career.
John Elway – $145 Million
John Elway played his entire Hall of Fame career with the Denver Broncos. Originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts, he refused to play for them and even threatened to play baseball instead.
Eventually, the Colts relented and Elway went to the Broncos. He capped off his career with back-to-back Super Bowl wins. Today, he is a high-powered executive for the Broncos, although he has received criticism for several roster moves that have not worked out.
Tom Brady – $180 Million
Tom Brady might be worth $180 million, but the truth is he could have been worth a whole lot more. Playing in New England, Brady took several “team-friendly” deals to stay there and win Super Bowls.
After the 2019 season, Brady finally got greedy and became a free agent. He signed a fully guaranteed contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will be the first time in 20 years Brady has played for anyone other than New England.
Steve Young – $200 Million
Steve Young followed in Joe Montana’s footsteps in San Francisco. In 1994, he won the Super Bowl with the performance of a lifetime. Young threw a Super Bowl record six touchdowns to claim his third ring (first as a starting QB).
When he retired, Young went into broadcasting. For the last several years he has worked as a part of ESPN’s NFL coverage. As for whether or not he’ll ever get into the booth for Monday Night Football, that’s a question only he knows the answer to.
Peyton Manning – $200 Million
The winner of two Super Bowls during his Hall of Fame career, Peyton Manning was the face of the Indianapolis Colts for nearly two decades. When he needed neck surgery that nearly ended his career, the Colts moved on to Andrew Luck and Manning signed with the Denver Broncos.
In his final season in Denver, Manning won his second Super Bowl. Now He works for ESPN running his own online show called Peyton’s Places.
John Madden – $200 Million
John Madden today is synonymous with the video game franchise that carries his name, but his history with the NFL runs far deeper than that. He first made waves as the head coach of the Raiders, where his teams rarely lost.
When he left the coaching world, he became an analyst on Monday Night Football. It was during his time in the booth that he licensed his name out for the massively popular game franchise.
Al Davis – $500 Million
Al Davis’ estate, which is now run by his son Mark, has a net worth of half a billion dollars. Davis built his empire on speed and deep passes. As the owner of the Raiders, he was cutthroat, refusing to fail even when it seemed inevitable.
By the end of his life, Davis’ decision-making abilities were beginning to hurt the Raiders more than helping them. Since his passing, the franchise has remained hard-pressed to find success, although a move to Las Vegas has left fans hopeful for a resurgence.
Roger Staubach – $600 Million
For 11 seasons, Roger Staubach was the face of the Dallas Cowboys. He was nicknamed “Captain America,” which is fitting considering the Cowboys were, and still are nicknamed “America’s Team.” Like other players, it wasn’t his time on the field that made him worth so much money.
Staubach earned his riches in the real estate market. Today he serves as the Executive Chairman of commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, the second-largest company of its kind in the world.