The salary numbers are out for the 2008 NFL season, and at the top of the list is Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, with a staggering income of $27,701,920. Jared Allen, the Vikings' DE, came in at second, with $21,119,256.
USA TODAY's analysis of salary data counts all signing bonus in the initial contract year, along with base pay and other bonuses. The information comes from the contracts, agents and NFL Players Association reports compiled in early October. It does not include any subsequent contract adjustments, renegotiations or extensions.
Perhaps helping the argument that quarterbacks can quickly be replaced and simply plugged into the system is the fact just three of the top-20 salaries in the NFL are signal-callers, Roethlisberger, JaMarcus Russell and Tony Romo.