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Eli Manning will remain the highest paid player in NFL history until Patrick Mahomes’ 10-year, $500 million contract extension reaches 2026

Money, rings and other things.

Super Bowl XLVI Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

When legendary quarterback Eli Manning announced his retirement from the NFL in January, he finished his 16-year career with two Super Bowl rings, two Super Bowl MVPs, and the title of the highest-paid player in NFL history. The Ole Miss legend should not only find his name amongst the greats in Canton, Ohio in 2025, but will soon have his jersey hang from the rafters in Oxford, Mississippi.

Manning’s on-field prowess has made his name one not soon to be forgotten, but also made him quite a bit of dough— more than any other player in the history of the game. To be exact, No. 10 raked in a total of $252.3 million in contract money alone.

The 2003 Maxwell Award winner, given to college football’s best player, was drafted first overall by San Diego in the 2004 NFL Draft, but was traded to New York later that night. A few weeks later, he signed a six-year rookie deal worth $54 million. Four years later, on the back of a Manning-led late fourth-quarter drive, the Giants beat the undefeated Patriots to win the 2008 Super Bowl, and followed it up with a division championship a year later.

He proved his worth and signed a $97.5-million contract in August 2009, and then signed his final NFL deal in September 2015 when he inked a four-year, $84-million extension.


Over the course of his career, Manning earned nearly $129 million salary, $60 million signing bonus, $13 million roster bonus, $5 million workout bonus, $10 million restructure bonus, $26.5 million option bonus and $9 million incentive, for a touch over $252 million total. Eli passed his brother Peyton to top the earnings list, and sits ahead of Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Ben Rothlisberger in the top-five highest earners.

On Monday, reports confirmed that Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes signed a 10-year, $450 million contract extension with the reigning Super Bowl champions, breaking the ceiling for the largest contract in professional sports.

At face value, it would appear that Ole Miss will be dethroned as the NFL’s cash flow king by Texas Tech. However, there are caveats to Mahomes’ deal and the flashy $503 million number comes from some creative math that might and will keep Manning on top until at least 2026.

To begin, Mahomes has the longest active deal in football and signed the longest extension signed by any player since Brett Favre and Drew Bledsoe both signed 10-year extensions in 2001. This length spreads the money out and would make the Chiefs’ signal-caller 34 when his deal expires. It is not impossible to see him play that long, but it is hard to imagine that he will play at an MVP level for a decade. This is where things get interesting.

Of the $503 million, it includes $477 in guarantee mechanisms that put heavy value in roster bonuses. For as long as Mahomes is on the roster in Kansas City, he will be guaranteed these bonuses (which increase each year until 2027) to vest a year in advance.

Basically, if Mahomes stays healthy and does not see his production drop to where the Chiefs organization chooses to part ways, he will make approximately $238 million by September 13, 2025— including the $13 million he has made on his rookie deal.

For the auditory learners out there, this video does a good job of breaking down the deal:

Breaking Down Patrick Mahomes' $450M Extension

The #Chiefs locked in their QB Monday with a 12 year, $477.6M total value contract that includes $63M guaranteed upfront, and early vesting bonuses every year that make this a fully guaranteed contract for practical reasons. Mike Ginnitti breaks down the facts & figures...

Posted by on Tuesday, July 7, 2020

With the way Mahomes’ deal is structured, on the 13th of September in 2026, he will total just under $290 million over his first nine years in the league and surpass Manning’s $253 million career earnings. If the full length of the deal is reached, it won’t even be close.

Eli will stay on top for now, but either way, he’s doing just fine.