Tom Brady retired from the National Football League Tuesday as the record holder in a slew of categories, including most all-time wins, Super Bowl titles, passing yards and touchdowns. But there's one other title he secured over his Hall of Fame career: most money earned.
The 44-year-old earned $292.9 million over his 22-season career between his salary, bonuses and other incentives, but not counting endorsements. That puts him firmly atop the list of highest-earning players in the history of the NFL. He is $23 million ahead of No. 2 Drew Brees, and also tops Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers, according to Spotrac.
Making Brady's record even more remarkable is the fact that he was taken with the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, meaning he missed out on the lucrative signing bonuses that top draft picks receive. In fact, Brady didn't earn more than $1 million in a single season until 2002, when he received $3.8 million during his third season.
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Brady spent the first 20 years of his career with the New England Patriots, winning six Super Bowls, before leaving for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he won the Super Bowl last year.
The seven-time Super Bowl winner also never came close to being the highest-paid player in the league. In fact, Business Insider reported in 2020 that Brady passed up at least $60 million worth of salary to give the New England Patriots more money to build a competitive roster. It seems to have paid off: He went 219-64 in New England.
The $29 million Brady earned with the Buccaneers this past season is the most he has ever made in a single year and still ranked fifth in the NFL, according to Spotrac.
Unlike his records on the field, don't expect Brady's dominance in the earnings rankings to last long. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes signed a massive contract extension in 2020 that could pay him as much as $500 million if he hits all of his incentives and guarantees him an average of at least $45 million per year over 10 years.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen signed a six-year, $258 million contract extension in 2021 and is on pace to finish his career with at least $300 million.
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