Breaking Down the Pro Bowl Rosters

With the Pro Bowl rosters now finalized I’ll do our annual financial assessment of the rosters. While the Pro Bowl is certainly not the best measure of who are the best players in the NFL it can at least help us look at some trends among those who receive votes.

The average annual salary of players selected to the Pro Bowl is $7.764 million. The highest salaried player to make the team was Aaron Rodgers at $22 million. The highest salaried non-quarterback selected was Von Miller at just under $19.1 million. The lowest cost player is Kyle Juszczyk of the Ravens who earns just over $615,000 a year. The lowest cost veteran was linebacker Lorenzo Alexander of the Bills at $885,000. Alexander came out of nowhere to have a stellar season. He and fullback Mike Tolbert are the only veteran position players to be under $4 million a year.

Only seven unrestricted free agents made the Pro Bowl this year. That list was Janoris Jenkins, Kelechi Osemele, Alex Mack, Donald Penn, Casey Heyward, Reggie Nelson, and Tolbert (Tolbert re-signed on the eve of free agency).  Alexander is the only player who would qualify as a “street free agent” to make the list. Three players who were designated franchise players, Von Miller, Eric Berry and Justin Tucker, made the Pro Bowl while Cameron Wake and DeMarco Murray were the two players who made it who modified existing contracts to ensure their spots on a roster.

A number of players who signed extensions this year made the team. Tom Brady, Fletcher Cox, Larry Fitzgerald, Harrison Smith, David DeCastro, Travis Frederick, Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed, Delanie Walker, and Matt Slater all signed new deals prior to the expiration of their contracts and those decision look to have paid off for their teams.

In general players who signed extensions or while under the franchise tag earned the highest average salaries right around $11.4 million per player. This was far higher than the UFA grouping who earned under $8 million a year. Rookie contracts averaged just under $2.5M a year making them the best bargains of all.

The players who signed extensions made up the largest percentage of Pro Bowlers at 41.9%. Draft picks were next at 29.1% followed by players who signed contracts after their last contract expired at 20.9%. Nearly 76% of all Pro Bowlers are playing for the team that originally drafted them or signed them as a free agent. I’d think these numbers probably reinforce the point that free agency is a much bigger unknown than players who you know fit in the system. 88% of players who made the Pro Bowl were draft picks and the other 12% went undrafted.

Here are a few summary stats of the Pro Bowl Roster, grouped by contract status.

Contract TypeNo. SelectedAverage of AgeAverage of APYOn Original TeamDrafted

From a positional standpoint the largest salaries went to quarterbacks, interior defensive linemen, tackles, centers,  and wide receivers which would probably indicate that draft picks haven’t broken through to the Pro Bowl at those positions. In general the only position that does not show a majority of veteran selections is running back which is dominated by rookie contracts.

Here are the numbers per position

PositionNo. SelectedNo. VeteransAgeAvg. salary
Interior Lineman6427.2$11,993,671
Wide Receiver8526.5$9,195,887
Tight End4429.0$8,226,475
Outside Linebacker6529.2$8,140,357
Inside/Middle Linebacker4225.3$6,809,265
Defensive End6428.7$6,675,000
Free Safety4328.3$6,521,156
Strong Safety2125.0$6,168,070
Running Back6225.0$3,846,427
Special Teamer2130.0$2,650,000
Return Specialist2023.5$1,225,909

Finally, here are the financial numbers for the players in the Pro Bowl

Aaron RodgersQuarterbackPackers33$22,000,000
Ben RoethlisbergerQuarterbackSteelers34$21,850,000
Matt RyanQuarterbackFalcons31$20,750,000
Tom BradyQuarterbackPatriots39$20,500,000
Von MillerOutside LinebackerBroncos27$19,083,333
Ndamukong SuhInterior LinemanDolphins29$19,062,500
Fletcher CoxInterior LinemanEagles26$17,100,000
AJ GreenWide ReceiverBengals28$15,000,000
Julio JonesWide ReceiverFalcons27$14,250,000
Patrick PetersonCornerbackCardinals26$14,010,000
Richard ShermanCornerbackSeahawks28$14,000,000
Gerald McCoyInterior LinemanBuccaneers28$13,600,000
Trent WilliamsTackleRedskins28$13,200,000
TY HiltonWide ReceiverColts27$13,000,000
Janoris JenkinsCornerbackGiants28$12,500,000
Luke KuechlyInside/Middle LinebackerPanthers25$12,359,059
Tyron SmithTackleCowboys26$12,200,000
Kelechi OsemeleGuardRaiders27$11,700,000
Joe ThomasTackleBrowns32$11,500,000
Ryan KerriganOutside LinebackerRedskins28$11,500,000
Larry FitzgeraldWide ReceiverCardinals33$11,000,000
Eric BerryStrong SafetyChiefs28$10,806,000
Bobby WagnerInside/Middle LinebackerSeahawks26$10,750,000
Geno AtkinsInterior LinemanBengals28$10,665,400
Harrison SmithFree SafetyVikings27$10,250,000
David DeCastroGuardSteelers26$10,000,000
Jason PetersTackleEagles34$9,575,000
Aqib TalibCornerbackBroncos30$9,500,000
Devin McCourtyFree SafetyPatriots29$9,500,000
Travis FrederickCenterCowboys25$9,400,000
Travis KelceTight EndChiefs27$9,368,400
Jordan ReedTight EndRedskins26$9,350,000
Alex MackCenterFalcons31$9,000,000
Jurrell CaseyInterior LinemanTitans27$9,000,000
Rodney HudsonCenterRaiders27$8,900,000
Maurkice PounceyCenterSteelers27$8,827,325
Chris Harris, Jr.CornerbackBroncos27$8,500,000
Everson GriffenDefensive EndVikings29$8,500,000
Antonio BrownWide ReceiverSteelers28$8,392,000
LeSean McCoyRunning BackBills28$8,010,000
Marshal YandaGuardRavens32$7,979,412
Brian OrakpoOutside LinebackerTitans30$7,750,000
Greg OlsenTight EndPanthers31$7,500,000
Cliff AvrilDefensive EndSeahawks30$7,125,000
Michael BennettDefensive EndSeahawks31$7,125,000
Cameron WakeDefensive EndDolphins34$7,062,500
Delanie WalkerTight EndTitans32$6,687,500
DeMarco MurrayRunning BackTitans28$6,375,000
Ezekiel ElliottRunning BackCowboys21$6,239,085
Thomas DavisOutside LinebackerPanthers33$6,000,000
Donald PennTackleRaiders33$5,950,000
Amari CooperWide ReceiverRaiders22$5,665,780
Jadeveon ClowneyDefensive EndTexans23$5,568,250
Brandon ScherffGuardRedskins25$5,303,910
TJ LangGuardPackers29$5,200,000
Casey HaywardCornerbackChargers27$5,100,000
Khalil MackDefensive EndRaiders25$4,669,251
Reggie NelsonFree SafetyRaiders33$4,250,000
Justin TuckerPlacekickerRavens27$4,200,000
Mike EvansWide ReceiverBuccaneers23$3,657,763
Vic BeasleyOutside LinebackerFalcons24$3,623,807
Dwayne HarrisSpecial TeamerGiants29$3,500,000
Pat McAfeePunterColts29$2,900,000
Taylor LewanTackleTitans25$2,871,251
Matt BryantPlacekickerFalcons41$2,833,333
Johnny HekkerPunterRams26$2,763,005
Odell Beckham, Jr.Wide ReceiverGiants24$2,601,550
Aaron DonaldInterior LinemanRams25$2,534,125
Marcus PetersCornerbackChiefs23$2,396,040
Zack MartinGuardCowboys26$2,241,950
C.J. MosleyInside/Middle LinebackerRavens24$2,197,001
Ha Ha Clinton-DixFree SafetyPackers24$2,084,625
Xavier RhodesCornerbackVikings26$1,951,626
Donta HightowerInside/Middle LinebackerPatriots26$1,931,001
Cordarrelle PattersonReturn SpecialistVikings25$1,805,262
Matt SlaterSpecial TeamerPatriots31$1,800,000
Mike TolbertFullbackPanthers31$1,650,000
Landon CollinsStrong SafetyGiants22$1,530,140
Derek CarrQuarterbackRaiders25$1,342,951
Le’Veon BellRunning BackSteelers24$1,030,150
Lorenzo AlexanderOutside LinebackerBills33$885,000
David JohnsonRunning BackCardinals25$748,218
Dak PrescottQuarterbackCowboys23$680,848
Devonta FreemanRunning BackFalcons24$676,106
Tyreek HillReturn SpecialistChiefs22$646,555
Kyle JuszczykFullbackRavens25$615,146

  • Nelson Cobb

    Jordy Nelson should be on this list. Larry Fitz is one of the greatest to ever do it, but when it comes to 2016, he doesn’t belong over Jordy Nelson. There’s no question about it.