B1G's richest active players in NFL
With NFL free agency in high gear, there are former B1G stars that are looking to get that next big deal. Some already have.
With that in mind, I thought it’d be timely to take a look at which active B1G players have made the most money in their NFL careers. That doesn’t include any advertising deals.
Not surprising was the fact that two quarterbacks topped this list. Surprising was the fact that they were two of three non-first round picks of the former B1G players listed.
In all, six B1G teams were represented, but only Michigan had multiple representatives with five. That includes Charles Woodson, who is technically still active though his retirement his expected to be official this offseason.
So here are the 10 richest active former B1G players:
10. David Harris, ILB (Michigan) — $47,310,000
The only inside linebacker on this list, Harris earned three contracts with the New York Jets after he was a second-round pick in 2007. The steady former Wolverine played in 16 games all but once in his nine-year career. He’s set to make $14 million in the next two seasons, too.
9. Chad Greenway, OLB (Iowa) — $49,015,000
An unrated high school recruit, Greenway was a rare solid first-round pick for the Minnesota Vikings back in 2006. The former Hawkeye is the ninth-highest paid outside linebacker in NFL history. Greenway’s best years might be behind him, but the five-year, $41-million deal he signed back in 2011 should’ve made him set for life.
RELATED: NFL.com grades every B1G prospect
8. Leon Hall, CB (Michigan) — $53,142,500
The former Wolverine was considered one of the best cover corners in the NFL, and he was compensated so. He earned two contracts with the Cincinnati Bengals, and was a starter up until this past year. Hall is currently a free agent after nine years in Cincinnati.
7. Donte Whitner, SS (Ohio State) — $61,423,750
The hard-hitting safety earned his money despite the fact that he played for three different teams. His homecoming in 2014 yielded a cool $28 million deal that paid him $9 million guaranteed. The 30-year old is set to make $12.5 million over the course of his next two seasons.
6. Tamba Hali, OLB (Penn State) — $64,773,530
The former Penn State All-American did pretty well for himself over the years. The majority of his $64 million came from the five-year, $60 million contract he signed in 2011. The former Liberia escapee also just signed a new three-year deal with the Chiefs last week that will keep him in Kansas City for the rest of his career.
5. Jake Long, OT (Michigan) — $70,425,000
It might surprise some that the third richest offensive lineman ever is Long, who cashed in big on his rookie deal. The 2008 No. 1 overall pick got a five-year, $57.75-million deal, which at the time made him the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history. The four-time Pro Bowler backed up the investment in Miami, but injuries have derailed the second half of his career.
4. Charles Woodson, SS (Michigan) — $97,868,000
It turns out that when you play for 18 years, you earn a pretty penny. The man Michigan fans call “The GOAT” is the richest safety in NFL history. After injuries late in his first stint with the Oakland Raiders, the Green Bay Packers threw a seven-year, $52-million deal at him and he rewarded them with an Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year season and a Super Bowl. A solid investment, Woodson was.
3. Joe Thomas, OT (Wisconsin) — $98,850,000
Fitting that the greatest offensive lineman of the 21st century is also the richest. The former Badger has had to spend his whole career with the Browns, but at least he was compensated for it. Thomas averaged eight figures per season in his nine-year career, and he’ll make plenty more well into his 30s. Considering the current rookie salary restrictions, the future Hall of Famer will likely be the richest offensive lineman for the rest of his career.
2. Drew Brees, QB (Purdue) — $150,455,000
Considering what Brees did with the Saints, he was actually a bargain after signing as a free agent in 2006. His salary only cost about an average of $5 million per season against the salary cap from 2006-12. What put him over the top was the $37 million signing bonus he signed back in 2012. Brees’ backloaded deal will pay him a cool $20 million in 2016. Most 37-year-olds would gladly take that kind of money.
1. Tom Brady, QB (Michigan) — $162,790,163
Believe it or not, Brady isn’t first on the all-time list. Eli Manning has actually made $25 million more than Brady in his career. Still, Brady is No. 1 on this list after signing “discounted” deals with the New England Patriots two different times. He actually just signed a two year, $41-million extension with a $28-million signing bonus. That’s not too shabby considering he got a $38,500 signing bonus as a sixth-round rookie out of Michigan.