If you're looking for a reason why people still play professional football, despite the overwhelming evidence that it irreparably harms your brain, here's a list that should clear things up, at least a bit. It's the highest paid players for the upcoming NFL season, and it was compiled by Business Insider on the eve of the 2017 campaign. As BI points out, most of these players are guys who signed new contracts at some point this past offseason. The reason for this is not coincidence, but rather because most big NFL deals come from massive signing bonuses which are paid upfront.
If nothing else, the rundown should incentivize people to learn how to play either defense or quarterback over running back or wideout (with one major exception) and also features a guy who should give hope to youngsters everywhere that have inadvertently blown off a chunk of their own hand over the Fourth of July weekend.
While it's not entirely clear how much of this is guaranteed dough, it goes:
11. Jason Pierre-Paul, Defensive End, New York Giants - $22.25 million
10. Melvin Ingram, Defensive End, Los Angeles Chargers - $22.75 million
9. Stephen Gilmore, Cornerback, New England Patriots - $22,968,750
8. Cam Newton, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers - $23,666,666
7. Kirk Cousins, Quarterback, Washington Redskins - $23,943,600
T-5. Josh Norman, Cornerback, Washington Redskins - $24 million
T-5. DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans - $24 million
4. Derek Carr, Quarterback, Oakland Raiders - $25,175,000
3. Kawann Short, Defensive Tackle, Carolina Panthers - $26 million
2. Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts - $27 million
1. Matthew Stafford, Quarterback, Detroit Lions - $51 million (though the average annual salary is $27 million, he landed a $50 million signing bonus).
Check out the whole list of 30 players over at Business Insider.