Highest Paid Backup QB in the NFL 2023: Who Makes the Most Money

highest paid backup qb

Do you want to know the highest paid backup QB in the NFL? If yes, this article contains a comprehensive list of the highest-paid backup quarterbacks. Continue reading to learn more.

The backup quarterback position is one of the most difficult to fill in the NFL. Teams need to find a player who is capable of stepping in and leading the team to victory if the starter goes down with an injury.

However, teams also don’t want to overspend on a backup, as they are only likely to be needed for a few games each season.

In recent years, the salaries of backup quarterbacks have been rising. This is due to several factors, including the increasing importance of the quarterback position and the rising salary cap.

In 2023, several backup quarterbacks are making very good money.

This blog post will take a look at the 15 highest-paid backup quarterbacks in the NFL in 2023.

What is a Backup Quarterback?

A backup quarterback is a quarterback on a football team who is the secondary option to the starting quarterback. If the starting quarterback is injured or unable to play, the backup quarterback will step in and take over the starting role.

Backup quarterbacks are important members of any football team. They need to be prepared to play at a high level at any time, and they need to be able to lead the team to victory.

Backup quarterbacks also play a key role in practice, as they help the starting quarterback prepare for each week’s opponent.

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Who is the Highest Paid Backup QB in the NFL?

Zach Wilson, the New York Jets’ backup quarterback, is the highest-paid backup quarterback in the NFL for the 2023 season. He is set to earn an average annual value of $8.79 million.

Wilson is a second-year quarterback who was drafted by the Jets with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He showed some promise in his rookie season, but he also struggled at times.

He threw 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 13 games. Wilson is expected to compete with Joe Flacco for the starting job in 2023.

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Why are backup quarterbacks paid so much?

There are a few reasons why backup quarterbacks are paid so much. First, they are a valuable commodity in the NFL.

If a starting quarterback goes down with an injury, the backup quarterback needs to be able to come in and lead the team to victory.

Second, backup quarterbacks are often young and talented players who have the potential to be starters in the future.

Third, backup quarterbacks play a key role in practice. They help the starting quarterback prepare for each week’s opponent, and they also give the defense a good look at an opposing quarterback.

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Top 15 Highest-paid Backup QB in the NFL In 2023

RankPlayerTeamAverage Annual Value (AAV)
1Zach WilsonNew York Jets$8.79M
2Trey LanceSan Francisco 49ers$8.52M
3Taylor HeinickeWashington Commanders$7M
4Mitchell TrubiskyPittsburgh Steelers$5.62M
5Teddy BridgewaterMiami Dolphins$5.5M
6Jacoby BrissettCleveland Browns$4.65M
7Marcus MariotaAtlanta Falcons$4M
8Gardner MinshewPhiladelphia Eagles$3.25M
9Tyler HuntleyBaltimore Ravens$3.1M
10Case KeenumBuffalo Bills$3M
11Josh JohnsonDenver Broncos$2.75M
12Brett HundleyArizona Cardinals$2.5M
13Drew LockSeattle Seahawks$2.4M
14Sean MannionMinnesota Vikings$1.9M
15Kyle AllenCarolina Panthers$1.75M

1. Zach Wilson, New York Jets

Zach Wilson is the highest-paid backup quarterback in the NFL for the 2023 season. He is set to earn an average annual value of $8.79 million.

Wilson is a second-year quarterback who was drafted by the Jets with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Wilson showed some promise in his rookie season, but he also struggled at times. He threw 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 13 games. Wilson is expected to compete with Joe Flacco for the starting job in 2023.

2. Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers

Trey Lance is another young quarterback who is making a lot of money as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $8.52 million in 2023. Lance was drafted by the 49ers with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Lance saw limited action in his rookie season, playing in just six games. However, he showed some flashes of potential.

He threw two touchdowns and no interceptions in those six games. Lance is expected to compete with Jimmy Garoppolo for the starting job in 2023.

3. Taylor Heinicke, Washington Commanders

Taylor Heinicke is a veteran quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $7 million in 2023. Heinicke was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Heinicke has played for a few different teams in his career, but he has never been a full-time starter. However, he has shown that he can win games if called upon. Heinicke is expected to be the backup to Carson Wentz in 2023.

4. Mitchell Trubisky, Pittsburgh Steelers

Mitchell Trubisky is another veteran quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $5.62 million in 2023. Trubisky was the second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.

Trubisky was the starting quarterback for the Bears for four seasons, but he was inconsistent. He was traded to the Buffalo Bills in 2021, where he was the backup to Josh Allen. Trubisky is expected to be the backup to Kenny Pickett in 2023.

5. Teddy Bridgewater, Miami Dolphins

Teddy Bridgewater is another veteran quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $5.5 million in 2023.

Bridgewater was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Bridgewater was the starting quarterback for the Vikings for two seasons before suffering a serious knee injury in 2016.

He returned to action in 2017 with the New Orleans Saints, where he started for three seasons. Bridgewater is expected to be the backup to Tua Tagovailoa in 2023.

6. Jacoby Brissett, Cleveland Browns

Jacoby Brissett is a veteran quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $4.65 million in 2023.

Brissett was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Brissett has played for a few different teams in his career, but he has never been a full-time starter. However, he has shown that he can win games if called upon.

In 2021, Brissett started 11 games for the Browns while Deshaun Watson was serving a suspension. He led the Browns to a 7-4 record in those games.

Brissett is expected to be the backup to Deshaun Watson in 2023.

7. Marcus Mariota, Atlanta Falcons

Marcus Mariota is a veteran quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $4 million in 2023. Mariota was the second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans.

Mariota started for the Titans for four seasons, but he was inconsistent. He was released by the Titans in 2019 and then signed with the Las Vegas Raiders as a backup. Mariota was traded to the Atlanta Falcons in 2022.

Mariota is expected to be the backup to Desmond Ridder in 2023.

8. Gardner Minshew, Philadelphia Eagles

Gardner Minshew is a young quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $3.25 million in 2023.

Minshew was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Minshew started for the Jaguars for two seasons, but he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021. Minshew was the backup to Jalen Hurts in 2021, and he is expected to be the backup again in 2023.

9. Tyler Huntley, Baltimore Ravens

Tyler Huntley is a young quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $3.1 million in 2023. Huntley was signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2020.

Huntley has been the backup quarterback to Lamar Jackson for the past two seasons. He has started a few games in place of Jackson, and he has shown that he can be a capable starter.

Huntley is expected to be the backup to Jackson again in 2023.

10. Case Keenum, Buffalo Bills

Case Keenum is a veteran quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $3 million in 2023.

Keenum was drafted by the Houston Texans in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Keenum has played for a few different teams in his career, and he has even started for a few of them. However, he has never been able to hold down a starting job for long. Keenum is expected to be the backup to Josh Allen in 2023.

11. Josh Johnson, Denver Broncos

Josh Johnson is a veteran quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $2.75 million in 2023. Johnson was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Johnson has played for a few different teams in his career, and he has even started for a few of them. However, he has never been able to hold down a starting job for long. Johnson is expected to be the backup to Russell Wilson in 2023.

12. Brett Hundley, Arizona Cardinals

Brett Hundley is a veteran quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $2.5 million in 2023.

Hundley was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Hundley has played for a few different teams in his career, and he has even started for a few of them. However, he has never been able to hold down a starting job for long. Hundley is expected to be the backup to Kyler Murray in 2023.

13. Drew Lock, Seattle Seahawks

Drew Lock is a young quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $2.4 million in 2023.

Drew Lock was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He started for the Broncos for two seasons, but he was inconsistent. He was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 2022.

Lock is expected to be the backup to Drew Lock in 2023.

14. Sean Mannion, Minnesota Vikings

Sean Mannion is a veteran quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $1.9 million in 2023. Mannion was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Mannion has played for a few different teams in his career, but he has never been a full-time starter. However, he has shown that he can be a capable backup. Mannion is expected to be the backup to Kirk Cousins in 2023.

15. Kyle Allen, Carolina Panthers

Kyle Allen is a young quarterback who is making a good living as a backup. He is set to earn an average annual value of $1.75 million in 2023. Allen was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Allen started for the Panthers for five games in 2019. He led the Panthers to a 3-2 record in those games. Allen was traded to the Washington Redskins in 2020, but he was released after one season. He returned to the Panthers in 2021.

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What Factors Determine a Backup Quarterback’s Salary?

The following factors can determine a backup quarterback’s salary:

  • Experience: Backup quarterbacks with more experience tend to make more money.
  • Talent: More talented Backup quarterbacks tend to make more money.
  • Potential: Backup quarterbacks with the potential to be starters tend to make more money.
  • The team needs: Backup quarterbacks who are on teams with a weak starting quarterback tend to make more money.

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What are the Benefits of Being a Backup Quarterback in the NFL?

The following are some of the benefits of being a backup quarterback in the NFL:

  • High salary: Backup quarterbacks are paid very well, even if they don’t play very much.
  • Job security: Backup quarterbacks are typically not under as much pressure as starting quarterbacks. They are also less likely to be cut if they make a mistake.
  • Opportunity to learn: Backup quarterbacks have the opportunity to learn from the starting quarterback and the offensive coordinator. This can help them develop their skills and prepare to be a starter in the future.

What are the Risks of Being a Backup Quarterback in the NFL?

The following are some of the risks of being a backup quarterback in the NFL:

  • Injury: Backup quarterbacks are just as likely to get injured as starting quarterbacks. If a backup quarterback gets injured, they could lose their job.
  • Lack of playing time: Backup quarterbacks often don’t play very much. This can make it difficult for them to stay sharp and develop their skills.
  • Pressure: Backup quarterbacks are under pressure to perform when they are called upon. If a backup quarterback plays poorly, it could cost their team the game.

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How to Become a Backup Quarterback in the NFL

If you dream of becoming a backup quarterback in the NFL, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances:

  • Play college football at a high level: The best way to get noticed by NFL teams is to play college football at a high level. If you can start at a major college program and perform well, you will have a good chance of getting drafted into the NFL.
  • Go undrafted: If you are not drafted into the NFL, you can still sign with a team as an undrafted free agent. However, this will be more difficult, as you will have to compete with other undrafted free agents for a roster spot.
  • Work hard and be patient: If you can make it into the NFL, you will need to work hard and be patient. It may take you some time to develop your skills and earn the trust of the head coach.

Becoming a backup quarterback in the NFL is not easy, but it is possible. If you have the talent and the work ethic, you can achieve your goal.

Conclusion

Backup quarterbacks play an important role in the NFL, and they are paid accordingly. The 15 highest-paid backup quarterbacks in the league are all talented and experienced players who can help their teams win games.

Backup quarterback salaries are expected to continue to rise in the coming years. This is due to several factors, including the increasing salary cap, the growing importance of the quarterback position, and the scarcity of talented backup quarterbacks.

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