The 2023 NFL season is right around the corner, and this year has already featured a ton of new contracts that reset their respective position markets. This will be a fun exercise. There have been a slew of new contracts in the 2023 offseason that have reset markets. This happens with regularity in the NFL.
One player signs a deal that makes them the richest “x” position in NFL history, only for someone else to top that. Just this offseason, all of Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Herbert have or are the highest-paid QBs in NFL history.
With Herbert’s recent extension, it seems that Joe Burrow is going to reset the market with his own extension, which I’d assume is coming before week one. These are the best of the best players in the NFL and are being rewarded as they should.
Let’s look at the highest-paid players at each position going into the 2023 NFL season.
*Highest-paid players are subject to change as new contracts are agreed to.
2023 NFL Season: Who is the highest paid at each position?
Quarterback – Justin Herbert, $52.5 million per year
Herbert’s five-year extension is worth $262.5 million in total and is worth $52.5 million per year. The average annual value number is what players like to one-up when they sign their deals. Joe Burrow is likely going to surpass that number, but he may not surpass the total value.
Some players like to sign deals that are shorter in length as this gives them more opportunity to cash in on future contracts. Kirk Cousins has done this throughout his career.
Running back – Christian McCaffrey, $16.01 million per year
Christian McCaffrey is the highest-paid RB in the NFL, but this one is kind of misleading. The running back market is not nearly as lucrative as others, as running backs in the NFL are replaceable and are not needed to win at the highest level.
McCaffrey, though, is a legitimate threat as a receiver, so with CMC, you are effectively paying for him playing two positions.
Wide receiver – Tyreek Hill, $30 million, Davante Adams, $28 million, Cooper Kupp, $26.7 million per year
We’re building a starting lineup, so we’ll use three wide receivers. The three highest paid wide receivers in the NFL will all likely end up in the Hall of Fame one day. Tyreek Hill is the highest paid, hitting the $30 million per year mark.
Minnesota Vikings’ WR Justin Jefferson is obviously going to surpass this number, and I would expect that contract to get done before week one of the 2023 NFL season. Both Adams and Kupp have had marvelous success in the NFL and are paid accordingly.
I do think Adams is probably the best WR of the three, but they are all HOF talents.
Tight end – Darren Waller, $17 million per year
Darren Waller is the highest-paid tight end in the NFL. He was also traded from the Las Vegas Raiders to the New York Giants this year. The 30-year-old had a huge drop off in production in 2022, but had over 1,100 receiving yards in 2020 and 2021. Waller’s age is a bit of a concern, but this is also a player who is as fast and agile as a wide receiver, which makes him a huge threat.