Thoroughly pleased with their 53-27 in Aaron Rodgers' five years as a starter and the Super Bowl title he led them to in 2010, the Packers signed him on April 26, 2013, to a five-year, $110 million extension.
2 of 10Robert Beck/SI
Joe Flacco: $20.1 million
Joe Flacco picked the right year to lead the Baltimore Ravens to the Super Bowl. In addition to his Super Bowl ring in February 2013 and the Pete Rozelle Trophy, Flacco cashed in on his success with a six-year, $120.6-million contract.
3 of 10Al Tielemans/SI
Drew Brees: $20 million
Drew Brees' historic 2011 season led to a hefty salary in 2012. Brees shattered Dan Marino's then-27-year-old record for passing yards in a season with 5,476 yards in 2011. The New Orleans Saints quarterback also set new records for completions and completion percentage. That stellar season, combined with the bad publicity of the bounty scandal, forced the Saints to meet Brees' demands with a five-year, $100-million deal and $60 million in guaranteed money. The front-loaded contract paid Brees $40 million in 2012.
4 of 10 Robert Beck/SI
Peyton Manning: $19.2 million
Missing the entire 2011 season due to neck surgery didn't harm Peyton Manning's earning potential. The Denver Broncos took a chance on the four-time MVP, giving him a five-year, $96-million deal. Through year one of the contract, Manning earned that paycheck, throwing for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2012 while leading the Broncos to the best record in the AFC.
5 of 10Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Calvin Johnson: $18.813 million
Megatron hit his first big payday in 2012 and it only escalates from there. Johnson reached an eight-year deal with the Detroit Lions after the 2011 season for $150.5 million. After five tremendous seasons for the Lions, including his 1,681-yard 2011 season, Johnson finally broke eight figures in salary in 2012. His base salary tops $18 million by 2019, the last year of the contract.
6 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
Tony Romo: $18 million
Romo signed a six-year, $108 million extension with the Cowboys (on top of the $11.5 million he's due to earn in 2013), which could keep the longtime starter in Dallas through 2019. The deal includes $55 million guaranteed ? or three million more than defending Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco recently received from the Baltimore Ravens. It's a huge commitment by the Cowboys to a player that is much more appreciated by his own franchise than by anyone else. Romo is 55-38 as a starter since 2006, but the Cowboys have finished each of the past two seasons at 8-8 and have not been to the playoffs since 2009.
7 of 10 Jed Jacobsohn/SI
Eli Manning: $15.271 million
He may not be earning as much as his older brother, but Eli Manning sure isn't doing bad for himself. Manning's victory in Super Bowl XLII precipitated his current seven-year, $106.9-million deal, reached in 2009. Since then, Manning has rewarded the Giants with sometimes inconsistent regular-season play but also another Super Bowl.
8 of 10Darron Cummings/AP
Mario Williams: $16 million
The highest-paid defensive player by far, Mario Williams struck it rich when he moved from Houston to Buffalo before the 2012 season. The Bills lured the former No. 1 pick with a six-year contract worth $96 million. He had only 10.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 2012 and Buffalo's defense struggled, giving up 27.2 points per game.
9 of 10 John W. McDonough/SI
Larry Fitzgerald: $14.125 million
Any receiver who can continue to dominate with the revolving door of Cardinals quarterbacks certainly deserves his money. From 2007 to 2011, Larry Fitzgerald topped 1,000 receiving yards each year and led the NFL in receiving touchdowns twice. Arizona's quarterbacking issues finally caught up to Fitzgerald last season, when he caught 71 balls for 798 yards, his worst year since his rookie season. An eight-year deal worth $113 million might help him put up with the Cardinals' passing problems.
10 of 10 Al Tielemans/SI
Tom Brady: $14.12 million
Tom Brady took one for the team. That doesn't mean he's playing for free. Although the New England Patriots quarterback took a cut in his base salary to help the Patriots get under the salary cap, he was able to guarantee more of his money, now $57 million over the next five years. Brady's contract calls for him to get $15 million in 2017, not bad for a 40-year old.
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