After the COVID-19 pandemic led to the second reduction in NFL salary cap history last year, the 2022 cap made a record jump. This year’s salary ceiling ($208.2MM) checks in $25.7MM north of the 2021 figure.
While quarterbacks’ salaries will continue to lead the way, a handful of blockers and skill-position players carry sizable cap numbers for 2022. A few of the quarterbacks that lead the way this year may not be tied to those numbers once the regular season begins. The 49ers, Browns and Ravens have made efforts to alter these figures via trades or extensions.
Here are the top 2022 salary cap hits on the offensive side of the ball:
- Ryan Tannehill, QB (Titans): $38.6MM
- Patrick Mahomes, QB (Chiefs): $35.79MM
- Kirk Cousins, QB (Vikings): $31.42MM
- Jared Goff, QB (Lions): $31.15MM
- Aaron Rodgers, QB (Packers): $28.53MM
- Carson Wentz, QB (Commanders): $28.29MM
- Jimmy Garoppolo, QB (49ers): $26.95MM
- Russell Wilson, QB (Broncos): $24MM
- Lamar Jackson, QB (Ravens): $23.02MM
- Kenny Golladay, WR (Giants): $21.2MM
- Garett Bolles, T (Broncos): $21MM
- Dak Prescott, QB (Cowboys): $19.73MM
- Derek Carr, QB (Raiders): $19.38MM
- D.J. Humphries, T (Cardinals): $19.33MM
- Keenan Allen, WR (Chargers): $19.2MM
- Taylor Decker, T (Lions): $18.9MM
- Sam Darnold, QB (Panthers): 18.89MM
- Baker Mayfield, QB (Browns): $18.89MM
- Matt Ryan, QB (Colts): $18.7MM
- Ronnie Stanley, T (Ravens): $18.55MM
- Donovan Smith, T (Buccaneers): $18.4MM
- Ezekiel Elliott, RB (Cowboys): $18.22MM
- DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Cardinals): $17.95MM
- Cooper Kupp, WR (Rams): $17.8MM
- Laremy Tunsil, T (Texans): $17.71MM
- The Chiefs’ cap sheet looks a bit different this year, with Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu off the roster. But Mahomes’ cap number rockets from $7.4MM in 2021 to the league’s second-largest figure in 2022. This marks the first time Mahomes’ 10-year contract is set to count more than $10MM toward Kansas City’s cap, with the AFC West champs not yet restructuring the deal this year.
- Tied to a few lucrative extensions since relocating to Minnesota, Cousins’ third Vikings deal dropped his cap number from $45MM. The fifth-year Vikings QB’s cap number is set to climb past $36MM in 2023.
- Prior to negotiating his landmark extension in March, Rodgers was set to count more than $46MM on the Packers’ payroll.
- The 49ers are aiming to move Garoppolo’s nonguaranteed money off their payroll. That figure becomes guaranteed in Week 1, providing a key date for the franchise. San Francisco is prepared to let Garoppolo negotiate contract adjustments with other teams to facilitate a trade.
- Wilson counts $26MM on the Seahawks’ 2022 payroll, due to the dead money the NFC West franchise incurred by trading its 10-year starter in March.
- Jackson, Darnold and Mayfield are attached to fifth-year option salaries. Jackson’s is higher due to the former MVP having made two Pro Bowls compared to his 2018 first-round peers’ zero. The 2020 CBA separated fifth-year option values by playing time and accomplishments. The Browns and Panthers have engaged in off-and-on negotiations on divvying up Mayfield’s salary for months, while a Jackson extension remains on the radar.
- Golladay’s cap number jumped from $4.47MM last year to the highest non-quarterback figure among offensive players. The Giants wideout’s four-year deal calls for $21MM-plus cap hits from 2023-24.
- Prior to being traded to the Colts, who adjusted their new starter’s contract, Ryan was set to carry an NFL-record $48MM cap hit this year. The Falcons are carrying a league-record $40.5MM dead-money charge after dealing their 14-year starter.
- The Texans restructured Tunsil’s deal in March, dropping his 2022 cap hit from $26.6MM to its present figure. Because of the adjustment, Tunsil’s 2023 cap number resides at $35.2MM
Contract information courtesy of Over The Cap