The fact that NFL is one of the most popular sports in the country means that it is a foregone conclusion for it to also be one of the most lucrative for athletes. Many players of the elite variety are pocketing tens of millions of dollars each year, which some view as disgusting considering the global financial crisis.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, NFL does at least contribute to the economy in other ways. It’s understood that the sport provides the betting industry with billions of dollars each year, with betting companies at least being able to reward punters with several offers (most of which can be accessed at bonusbetting.org.uk).
However, away from the general economics of the game, this contribution is to take a look at the three highest paid men of the sport. Following the recent news of Joe Flacco’s $120m+ deal, it seemed appropriate to provide a summary on the three big earners in NFL.
Joe Flacco - $20.1m
The fact that Joe Flacco turned down a $15m per year contract whilst waiting to sign his most recent deal shows exactly how high his stock was in the NFL. Previously, his contract was worth $6.76m a year - meaning that the 28-year-old has secured a huge increase that makes him the highest paid player in the sport. Admittedly, some sources will dispute this due to the tax laws that Flacco is governed by, but for the purposes of this article I’m classing him as the biggest earner!
Considering Flacco’s form over the past few years, many believe that he is completely worthy of his monstrous salary. His performance through 2012 helped the Baltimore Ravens secure the Superb Bowl during that year, with impressive statistics such as 1,140 yards worth of passes and 11 touchdowns through the playoffs being crucial. Throughout the regular season his form was also exceptional and he has set records for his completion percentages, as well as supposedly possessing the strongest arm in the game.
Elvis Dumervil - $18.95m
This is a player who has been ranked as the second highest paid man in the sport for some time, although last season he was second behind Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney. Following Freeney’s release and Joe Flacco’s new deal - Dumervil still finds himself ranked in the same position in this regard.
At 29-years-old, many would state that Dumervil is still in the prime of his career. Recent reports have indicated that he is re-negotiating his current deal, with the Denver Broncos looking to decrease his salary in a bid to cut costs. Newspapers are suggesting that the outcome of such talks remain in the balance and could even result in Dumervil being traded in the very near future.
However, for the time being he is one of the NFL’s biggest earners, with his base salary being $14m before being boosted by various add-ons. Many view him as one of the best defensive players of the game and various accolades have agreed with the statement. His recent ranking of #34 out of the top 100 players of 2012 may be quite surprising due to his salary, but his importance to the Broncos can’t be disputed and he has proved pivotal in their defence.
Peyton Manning - $18m
The man ranked at third on the list is another quarterback in the form of Peyton Manning. Manning finds himself just several hundred thousand dollars behind teammate Dumervil - showing that the Broncos certainly have the finance to splash on their personnel. However, the story in which they acquired Manning is one of the most interesting around, after he arrived as a free agent after experiencing a horrific time of injuries with the Colts. Prior to his injury he had been one of the best quarterbacks in the game and due to that, many believe that he is the greatest free agent signing over recent times.
Unlike the contract of Dumervil, the whole of Manning’s $18m is paid in a lump sum. There are no bonuses - meaning that he will take home much more than Dumervil on many occasions. Of course, he is now reaching the backend of his career and at 36-years-old, it remains to be seen how kind his next contract will be to him. A whole dissertation could be written about the achievements of Manning throughout his career, but suffice to say few people disagree with his current deal considering the tremendous amount of accolades he’s picked up.