The Craziest NFL Signing Bonuses of 2023

The NFL is a lucrative industry that generates more than $18 billion annually. With more than 30 franchises in the group, this is no surprise. But it’s the league’s extensive number of fans, estimated to be around 184 million, that ultimately keeps this money machine churning.

As for expenses in the league, one of the most significant is purchasing players from other teams, which costs eyewatering sums of money for the best players. And as though their contracts aren’t expensive enough, these players also get colossal signing bonuses.

If you’re curious just how much these signing bonuses are worth, here are the craziest signing bonuses players received in the 2023 season.

Lamar Jackson

At just 26 years old, Lamar Jackson holds the record for the largest signing bonus given to any player in the history of the NFL. Lamar signed a five-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens, one of the best teams in the American Football Conference North Division, worth an incredible $260 million.

Of this amount, $72.5 million is allocated as a signing bonus, smashing the record for the highest ever by more than $6 million. This signing bonus is scheduled to be paid out over the entire contract term, with around $14.6 million paid annually. In addition, Lamar also holds multiple endorsements that add up to an astonishing income on their own—making him the highest-paid NFL player.

Dak Prescott

The Dallas Cowboys, who currently rank second in the East Division of the National Football Conference, are responsible for offering the second-highest signing bonus ever. The lucky recipient is quarterback Dak Prescott, who has been with the franchise since 2016.

With his total contract totaling $160 million over four years, Dak received a signing bonus of $66 million—the largest in NFL history until Lamar Jackson received his. This is split into payments of $13.2 million over five years, with the last year being considered a void year.

Matthew Stafford

Boasting 14 years of experience in the NFL, Matthew Stafford landed a $160 million contract with the Los Angeles Rams. The team, currently ranked third in the National Football Conference (NFC) West Division, lured Stafford away from his long-time loyalty to the Detroit Lions.

Paying out $12 million per year over five years of the contract, the signing bonus is the largest ever received by the quarterback. Previous bonuses included $50 million, $27.5 million, and $26 million, all of which were offered by the Lions.

Russell Wilson

Another player who recently switched teams is Russell Wilson. Playing for the Seattle Seahawks from 2012 until 2023, his latest contract is a five-year agreement with the Denver Broncos. But despite showing notable improvements in his play, his new team is currently in last place in the American Football Conference (AWC) West Division.

Offering a contract worth more than $424.5 million over the five years, Russell also received a signing bonus of $50 million. This is split into annual $10 million payments over the five years, even though his base salary is portioned out over seven years—hinting at a possible extension in the future.

Nick Bosa

Also receiving a $50 million signing bonus is defensive end Nick Bosa. Signing only his second contract since joining the NFL, Nick plays for the San Francisco 49ers, current leaders of the NFC West, which he has been with since he started playing in 2019.

With the $170 million contract spanning five years, his signing bonus is split exactly like Russell Wilson’s—$10 million each year for the five years. Like Wilson, his base salary stipulated in the contract is split over additional years, with the amount factored into six years.

Deshaun Watson

Offering six years of experience with the Huston Texans, Deshaun’s latest contract is with the Cleveland Browns, currently ranking third in the AFC North. His contract is valued at $230 million and is set to span five years.

This contract includes a signing bonus of $44.9 million—the largest he’s ever received by a substantial amount (previous bonuses totaled $27 million and $8.2 million, respectively). The sum will be paid out across the contract term in installments of $8.99 million annually.

Joe Burrow

Renewing his contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, fourth in the AFC North, Joe Burrow has secured an additional five years with the franchise at a total contract cost of $275 million. Although this amounts to more than some of the players listed above, his signing bonus is slightly less, at “just” $40 million.

Although the contract states this amount, his actual signing bonus is set to be slightly higher. With an initial first-year signing bonus of $13.97 million and $8 million paid annually for the following four years, his total will be closer to $46 million—the extra amount being an additional reward similar to what happens when sportsbooks offer bonuses for players in the US who place wagers on the Bengals.

Daniel Jones

Signing his second contract with the New York Giants, ranked last in the NFC East, Daniel Jones is one of the newer players in the NFL. Although his first contract in 2019 was worth only $25.6 million (with a signing bonus of $16.68 million), his new contract is substantially more lucrative.

Worth $160 million over four years, the new Giants contract entitles Jones to a signing bonus of $36 million. This will be paid in equal installments of $9 million over the contract term, with no stated provisions for an extension at the end of the contract.


The rankings of each team mentioned above were correct at the time of publishing in early October 2023 and refer to the 2023/2024 season of the National Football Conference and American Football Conference. Final rankings are subject to change.

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