It may come as no surprise that signal callers top the list with an average salary of nearly $4 million. Huge contracts like Drew Brees' $20 million per year and Peyton Manning's $19.2 million are the most for any player. Even starter/backup/starter Michael Vick brought in $16 million, not nearly the deal Russell Wilson was at $745,500.
2 of 11 Kellen Micah\Icon SMI
Defensive Ends: $2,599,874
Trailing only quarterbacks in average salary are the guys paid to bring down the quarterbacks. Mario Williams ($16 million) and Julius Peppers ($14 million) top this position group, while the Chiefs shell out a combined $23.5 million for the services of Tamba Hali and Tyson Jackson. That's a lot of dough for the third worst sacks total in the league in 2012.
3 of 11Jeff Moffett/Icon SMI
Defensive Tackles: $1,807,581
About $800,000 behind their defensive line mates, defensive tackles earn the third most on average. Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs rank No. 2 and No. 4 on the list of highest-priced defensive tackles. With the Ravens in the Super Bowl, probably not too many people in Baltimore are going to complain about the pairing's $22.6 million combined average salary.
4 of 11David Bergman/SI
Wide Receivers: $1,806,999
Moving back into the offensive skill positions, wide receivers bring in just $600 less on average than defensive tackles. Calvin Johnson draws the most attention with his $18.8 million average salary -- more than 10 times the average for a wide receiver, the highest variation from the position average of any player. Don't overlook the Chicago Bears' spending at the wideout position. Chicago posted the fifth-fewest receiving yards despite average salaries of $10.2 million and $9.5 million for Devin Hester and Brandon Marshall, respectively.
5 of 11 Robert Beck/SI
Between DeMarcus Ware (highest-paid linebacker) and Anthony Spencer (fifth highest-paid linebacker) Jerry Jones is dropping a pretty significant chunk of change in this position group. Ware's and Spencer's average salaries combine to more than $20 million. The Steelers aren't stingy with their linebackers either with a combined $18.5 million spent on LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons.
6 of 11 Cliff Welch/Icon SMI
Offensive Linemen: $1,760,164
There's some variation among the different positions of the offensive line, with offensive tackles typically leading the group. Guards drive most of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' spending with $9.5 million to Carl Nicks and $7.5 million to Davin Joseph. Despite neither guard playing the full year -- Joseph spent the entire season on the IR --Tampa Bay allowed the third-fewest sacks.
7 of 11John W. McDonough/SI
The three top-earning safeties are all strong safeties (Charles Woodson, Eric Berry and Troy Polamalu), while the San Diego Chargers' Eric Weddle and Oakland Raiders' Michael Huff bring in $8 million each to lead all free safeties. The Raiders dish out plenty to safeties all around with another $6.7 million going to strong safety Tyvon Branch.
8 of 11 Peter Read Miller/SI
Cornerbacks have among the highest variation between the stars of the position earn and what the average corner earns. The average of the top 10 players' average salary is $10.2 million, which is higher than the average of the 10 highest salaries for defensive tackles, linebackers and safeties. However, for every Champ Bailey ($10.75 million), there are many Colt Andersons ($405,000).
9 of 11 David Scearce/Icon SMI
Kickers and Punters: $1,662,786
The Bay Area loves its special teamers. The Oakland Raiders pay $4 million each to kicker Sebastian Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler, while San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers gets $3 million and punter Andy Lee earns $3.1 million.
10 of 11 John Biever/SI
Running Backs: $1,550,624
You may not believe it, but yes, running backs earns less than kickers and punter on average. Though typically among the stars of the team, running backs typically have short shelf lives and pose high injury risks that can make franchises balk at high-salary guaranteed contracts. Only the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson and the Oakland Raiders' Darren McFadden haul in eight figures on average. Any Vikings fan would say Peterson's $13.7 million was money well spent this season.
11 of 11 David Bergman/SI
Tight Ends: $1,420,890
When SI last looked at player salaries by position, not a single tight end was earning $5 million per year. Now there are two tight ends earning more than that just on the New England Patriots. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez collect nearly $13 million combined, but the Dallas Cowboys' Jason Witten tops the earnings list with $7.2 million in average salary. Even with those stars' big contracts, tight ends still earn the least on average of any position group.
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