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Wealthiest Current and Former NFL Players

Scott Morris | June 8, 2024
which nfl players are the richest in history?

In a day and age where $100 million, $200 million, and even $450 million contracts are becoming the norm, the National Football League has produced some very wealthy individuals. Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes signed the largest contract in NFL history back in 2020. However, Mahomes comes nowhere close to being one of the NFL’s wealthiest players.

We’ll identify the wealthiest current and former NFL players in terms of net worth. Many of the names you will recognize, but there are a few that only the most hardcore of fans will know. Let’s start with some names you’ll immediately be aware of, though you might be surprised.

 

Richest Current NFL Players

Among the Top 10 wealthiest NFL players ever, there are only two that currently play in the league. Both are quarterbacks, which is not surprising. Aaron Rodgers’ net worth is estimated at $200 million. He has earned $305 million during his NFL career and should continue to do well even after his playing days are over. Rodgers has some endorsement deals and even guest hosted Jeopardy a while back.

New Pittsburgh QB Russell Wilson has an estimated net worth of $175 million. Wilson signed a massive $242.6 million deal with Denver and, while that didn’t work out all that well, Wilson has invested wisely. He’s got several endorsement deals, but he is also an investor in a JuicePress franchise and an apparel line.

 

Forever Linked – Manning & Brady

They were two of the very best ever – Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. The list of accolades between the two could fill up the rest of this page. Suffice to say, these are two NFL quarterbacks that deserved every cent they made. Their earnings didn’t stop when they walked off the field either.

Brady meets Manning at mif fieldWith each of their net worth estimated at around $250 million, both rank in the Top-5 of wealthiest NFL players of all-time. Manning, at one point, owned 31 Papa John’s franchises. He sold those when the company and the NFL parted ways. Now, Manning is well on his way to creating a billion dollar sports media company – Omaha Productions. Peyton and his brother Eli (whose estimated net worth is around $160 million) have content on a number of different platforms and they will continue to host their Manningcast, Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli. 

Brady is invested in a number of things, including sponsoring a race car in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Brady holds a minority ownership stake in both the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces and the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. He’s also a minority owner of Birmingham City FC in the English Premier. Don’t forget the Brady Brand, which just recently merged with NoBull. 

 

The Mad Scrambler

The Top-3 on this list may surprise you. Checking in with the third-highest net worth among NFL players all-time is former Minnesota Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton. He was a third round draft pick in 1961 and in his first NFL season made a whopping $12,500. Tarkenton would play 18 seasons in the league. His highest salary was $250,000 in his final season, 1979.

Tarkenton never won a Super Bowl but was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1975. He was named to the Pro Bowl nine different times and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After his playing days were done, Tarkenton started Tarkenton Software. His software company grew and in 1994, he sold it for $73 million. Tarkenton, who earned $1.2 million over his 18-year NFL career, has an estimated net worth of $300 million.

 

Captain Comeback

Roger Staubach playing for the Dallas CowboysIf you didn’t know, this one will surprise you. In 1963, he won the Heisman Trophy as the quarterback of the Naval Academy. After serving in the U.S. Navy, which included a tour in Vietnam, Roger Staubach became the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. He played 11 seasons in the NFL, all with Dallas, and transformed the Cowboys into “America’s Team.”

Staubach would lead Dallas to two Super Bowl wins. He would collect one Super Bowl MVP, becoming just the 10th player in history to win both a Heisman Trophy and a Super Bowl MVP. If you knew any of that, kudos to you. What you may not have known is that Staubach started his own commercial real estate business in 1977 while still a Cowboy.

The former Dallas quarterback earned $25,000 in his first season as a Cowboy. In his final season, 1979, he earned $160K. His business, aptly titled The Staubach Company, sold in 2008 for $613 million! Staubach has dabbled in a few other areas. He owned Hall of Fame Racing with another former Cowboy great, Troy Aikman. Now long retired, Staubach’s estimated net worth is in excess of $600 million.

 

No. 1 Will Shock You

While nearly all NFL fans have at least heard of the previous six names on this list, the guy at No. 1 will come as a surprise. He was a pretty good college player, but played at obscure Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 13th round of the 1958 NFL draft. 

Jerry Richardson, who still holds the Wofford record for receiving yards in a game (241), only played two seasons in the NFL. He was the Colts Rookie of the Year in 1959 and even caught a touchdown pass from legendary QB Johnny Unitas in the 1959 NFL championship game.

What Richardson is best known for though is founding the Carolina Panthers. He was the original owner of the franchise after having made millions, primarily in food-related businesses. At one point, he was the CEO of Flagstar, which owned and operated over 2,500 restaurants in the U.S.

Richardson owned the Panthers up until some controversy forced him to sell. After the 2017 NFL season, Richardson sold the Panthers to hedge fund billionaire David Tepper for the mere sum of $2.3 billion. Richardson passed away in March of 2023 at the age of 86. It was estimated at the time of his passing that his net worth was over $2 billion.

 

 

 

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