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Highest-paid Backup QBs in the NFL for 2022

Last Updated: September 11, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story refers to salary numbers for the 2022 NFL season. Click here to see Boardroom’s updated list for 2023.

This group of 2022 NFL backup quarterback salaries represents roughly $117.7 million in average annual commitments across the league. Some make bank. Others? Barely the league minimum.

To be a backup QB in the modern-day NFL means making a living off of being ready — or in some cases, stepping into the starting position without so much as a moment’s notice and taking command of your team’s offense.

It’s a tough job — just ask Bailey Zappe, Jimmy Garoppolo, Teddy Bridgewater, Andy Dalton, Cooper Rush, and Jacoby Brissett.

Each signal-caller will start for their respective teams this weekend after moving up the depth chart at some point this season as a result of injuries or suspension to the starters. Or in Zappe’s case, an injury to Brian Hoyer, who is the second-string QB behind Mac Jones.

While undoubtedly capable quarterbacks, each QB in the 2022 class of backups are essential insurance policies that come in form of average annual salaries ranging from millions to not much more than the league minimum.

Let’s have a look at who are the highest (and lowest) paid backup QBs in the NFL.

Who’s the Highest-paid Backup QB in the NFL?

The highest-paid backups in the league consist of various known veterans, some of which have already ascended to the starting position. Or in Mitch Trubisky’s case, lost the starting job.

Combined, the top 10 reserve signal-callers represent $56 million in total average annual salaries — almost the same amount as Aaron Rodgers‘ $50.2 million total average salary for the season.

The highest-paid backup is indeed Sam Darnold ($7.5 million), who some say may actually take over the starting position any week now, followed by Trubisky ($7.1 million), Garoppolo ($7 million), and Bridgewater ($6.5 million).

It should be noted, following Trubisky’s demotion to QB2 on the depth chart, the Pittsburgh Steelers now have two of the highest-paid backups in the league in Trubisky and Mason Rudolph ($5.1 million).

Here’s a look at the top backups and their respective average annual salaries. (All dollar figures via Spotrac.)

10 Highest-Paid Backup NFL QBs of 2022
(Average Annual Salary)

PlayerTeamAvg. Annual $
Sam DarnoldCAR$7,561,929
Mitch TrubiskyPIT$7,142,500
Jimmy GaroppoloSF$7,000,000
Teddy BridgewaterMIA$6,500,000
Case KeenumBUF$6,000,000
Tyrod TaylorNYG$5,500,000
Mason RudolphPIT$5,080,000
Jacoby BrissettCLE$4,650,000
Joe FlaccoNYJ$3,500,000
Nick FolesIND$3,100,000

*Rankings are subject to change week-to-week as teams sign new players.
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Lowest-Paid Backup QBs in the NFL

It’s only fitting that three of the lowest-paid backups sit behind three of perhaps the most capable QBs in the league.

  • Shane Buechele ($660K) doesn’t just backup Patrick Mahomes, he is the backup to the Chiefs’ QB2 Chad Henne, who makes about $2 million average annual salary.
  • Gardner Minshew ($677K) on the other hand is the heir to the Philly throne should something happen to Jalen Hurts. Minshew’s backup is Ian Book, who earns around $1 million a year.
  • For the Chargers, Easton Stick ($699K) sits behind QB2 Chase Daniel ($2 million) as the next man up behind Justin Herbert.

Lastly, the Los Angeles Rams can lay claim to having two of the lowest-paid backups in the league — QB2 John Wolford makes $895K, while his backup Bryce Perkins earns $743K.

Let’s have a look at the rest of the lowest-paid reserves QBs in the NFL.

10 Lowest-paid Backup QBs in the NFL
(Average Annual Salary)

PlayerTeamAvg. Annual $
Shane BuecheleKC$660,000
Gardner MinshewPHI$677,721
Easton StickLAC$699,391
Bryce PerkinsLAR$742,500
Jarrett StidhamLV$788,423
Felipe FranksATL$813,333
Trace McSorleyARI$850,000
John WolfordLAR$895,000
Jake LutonNO$895,000
Tyler HuntleyBAL$895,000

*Rankings are subject to change week-to-week as teams sign new players.


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