Why Are Quarterbacks Paid So Much?

5 January 2022

It is no secret that quarterbacks (QB) are among the highest-paid players today. In fact, quarterbacks’ pay, both off and on-field, is much higher compared to their peers, even at a time when there has been a decrease in the wage cap of most players.

This is because of the obvious reason that the quarterback position is crucial in achieving the victory of a team on a football field. If a team lacks a good QB, it can be quite tough for them to keep up with the others in the present-day NFL.

Several good teams have lost games because they did not invest in a proper quarterback, while there have been several mediocre teams that won games simply because they were backed by strong QBs.

Explaining Why Quarterbacks Are Most Paid Players

To explain in detail, the quarterback is the most valuable position in a football game, and while teams comprise several linemen, receivers, linebackers, running backs, etc., they include only 2 or 3 QBs.

There is hardly any use of backups for QB, and in case a 3rd-string quarterback is being called for in any game of the regular season, it implies that the said team is in the state of an emergency. It is also common for a QB to touch the ball on each offensive play.

Arguably, a promising running back, in-game, may get to touch a ball 20 times, and an experienced receiver might get the opportunity to touch (a ball) only 10 times, while a QB touches a ball at least 50 to 70 times. QBs have the additional responsibility of managing the clock, reading the defense, calling audibles, making decisions in split seconds, and accurately throwing a ball.

And finally, QBs are most of the time the best leaders in a team.

Supporting Facts

Eventually, over the past few years, teams started paying more to get hold of the most efficient quarterbacks, causing the market for QBs to skyrocket.

While it was once unbelievable to see teams dole out contracts worth $100 million, today is quite normal to shed out such huge amounts to have a good QB on the team.

A strong reason for this increase in quarterbacks’ pay is the rise in the overall revenue of the league, but it cannot be ruled out that franchisees pay such a stupendous amount of money because they don’t want to lose a quality QB. This makes passers the higher-paid players, and most of the time, contracts are renewed to ensure that the star QB is retained in the same team.

To find out when all this started we may look back to the time when Patrick Mahomes signed a contract that created a record, but there’s no doubt that till such time the existence of the NFL is ensured, QBs will keep enjoying higher pay.

10 best-paid quarterbacks’ total income

That is probably why the 10 most-paid QBs collectively get compensation of more than $1 billion, and in 2021, a single quarterback reportedly made $45 million annually!

The possibility of winning a tournament is evidently increased with a quality QB, which we saw in the New England Patriots. The Patriots did not have any popular players, but because they had on their team, Tom Brady as QB, they won the Lombardi Trophy that year.

In the same year, the Packers didn’t stand a chance at making it through the playoffs, but their QB was Aaron Rodgers, who led his team to victory in the playoffs, defeating the better team the Dallas Cowboys.


Undoubtedly, specific position players may significantly improve the chances of a team’s victory while masking various deficiencies, such as the versatility of J.J. Watt during a game. Also, elite receivers or running backs can lower the importance of quarterbacks in a game, but it is also true that just having a quality QB on the team can ensure a team’s victory.

This means investing in a good QB rather than investing in players for different positions can prove to be more profitable for a team. Franchise quarterbacks demand more attention from teams than any other player, as the gameplay depends majorly on their performance alone. All this explains why quarterbacks get paid more than any other player in present-day football.