Highest-Salaried Player on Every NFL Team

Thomas ConroyCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2012

Highest-Salaried Player on Every NFL Team

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    To be successful in a profession, an individual must bring enthusiasm to the workplace on a everyday basis. Often, enthusiasm is accompanied by passion, and both can spread throughout the office like an uncontrollable wild fire.

    It's not surprising that employees with this type of work ethic are often the richest in value to the company. They claim or earn their wealth the old-fashioned way, with hard work and dedication brought to each task given. 

    Here is the highest-salaried player on every NFL team:

Atlanta Falcons: QB Matt Ryan $11.5 million

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    This is a make-it-or-break-it season for Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, as he must step up his play and finally become an elite QB or Ryan will be stuck in mediocrity for the remainder of his career.

    The Falcons have hired a new offensive coordinator who has designed an offense that showcases Ryan’s skills. So, no more excuses for Matty-Ice. 

Arizona Cardinals: WR Larry Fitzgerald $5 million

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    There could be a renaissance taking place in Arizona this fall, as the Cardinals finally acquired an offensive weapon to line up opposite wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

    Michael Floyd has the size (6'3", 220 lbs.) and skills to draw coverage away from the All-Pro. This will allow Fitzgerald to once again become the top receiver in the NFL. 

Baltimore Ravens: S Ed Reed $7.2 million

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    This season, Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed will play with a chip on his shoulders, as he’s unhappy about his contract situation.

    Reed’s demands will fall on deaf ears; the Ravens must set their attention on signing quarterback Joe Flacco to a long-term deal.

    Now, he must vent his frustrations out on the football field, not a pretty proposition for opponents. 

Buffalo Bills: DE Mario Williams $5.9 million

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    This offseason, one of the best defensive ends (Mario Williams) in the NFL was available on the open market, and to everyone's surprise, the Buffalo Bills were very aggressive in their approach to sign him.

    This free-agent acquisition has clearly sent a message to the other members of the AFC East that the Bills are ready to contend for a playoff berth. 

Carolina Panthers: OT Jordan Gross $8.5 million

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    If you’re wondering why offensive tackle Jordan Gross is the highest-paid player on the Carolina Panthers, then you haven’t seen him play football. He’s a true beast on the line of scrimmage, and some have called him the best tackle in the NFL. 

Chicago Bears: WR Brandon Marshall $9.3 million

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    You cannot disregard wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s off-field issues or his lack of concentration in key moments of a tight game. But you would be mistaken if you didn't consider him a quality receiver.

    All Marshall has done throughout his career is compile big receiving numbers regardless of the offensive scheme or level of quarterback play. 

Cincinnati Bengals: OT Andrew Whitworth $4.55 million

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    Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth earned his money last season, as he should have been selected to the Pro Bowl last January. He did an excellent job of pass-blocking but lacked consistency in his run-blocking. 

Cleveland Browns: OT Joe Thomas $10.5 million

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    Joe Thomas is the anchor of the talented, young Cleveland Browns offensive line. His job is very important this season, as he must keep rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden upright in the pocket all year long. 

Dallas Cowboys: QB Tony Romo $9 million

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    A little-known fact about Tony Romo is that he's the highest-rated quarterback in Dallas Cowboys history. What we do know about Romo is that he wins the majority of his starts and throws plenty of touchdown passes. 

    Romo isn’t the reason the Cowboys didn’t make the playoffs last season; a poor defense was the main culprit. 

Denver Broncos: QB Peyton Manning $18 million

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    Heading into the 2012 season, the biggest question in professional football is the current health of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

    He sat out all last year after having multiple neck surgeries, so our question won't be answered until Manning is hit in the pocket. 

Detroit Lions: DE Cliff Avril 10.6 million

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    Detroit Lions DE Cliff Avril is gambling on this coming season, as another productive year will secure a long-term deal.

    But if he struggles, then the Lions will let him test the free-agent market, and that comes with no guarantee of securing a big contract. 

Green Bay Packers: QB Aaron Rodgers $8 million

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    It’s been a very expensive offseason for NFL teams, as the spending spree culminated with the signing of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees to a $100 million contract.

    Green Bay Packer fans are patiently waiting for QB Aaron Rodgers to claim his share of the pie. Clearly, he’s the best quarterback in the league, and his payday is coming in the foreseeable future. 

Houston Texans: CB Johnathan Joseph $7.25 million

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    Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph is the main cog of a terrific defense that can rush the quarterback and cover a receiver. His work ethic will help them stay on course of trying to gain a Super Bowl berth. 

Indianapolis Colts: DE Dwight Freeney $14.035 million

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    The Indianapolis Colts are in a rebuilding mode, as they have a new coach, a rookie starting quarterback and an abundance of inexperience players.

    At best, the Colts are looking at finishing no better than at .500 for the entire season. Freeney’s leadership skills could help gain that comfort zone for rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to succeed. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Paul Posluszny $6.5 million

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    The Jacksonville Jaguars' team morale is at an all-time low. Their first-round draft choice wide receiver Justin Blackmon was arrested on a DUI charge in early June, and their best player running back Maurice Jones-Drew is holding out for more money.

    It will be linebacker Paul Posluszny’s job to keep the distractions out the team’s locker room. 

Kansas City Chiefs: DE Tamba Hali $11.25 million

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    The Kansas City Chiefs are very young and inexperienced, but they have shown a willingness to grow together and become a dangerous football team this season. Defensive end Tamba Hali is the anchor of a promising defensive line that routinely stuffs the running attack of opposing teams.

Miami Dolphins: OT Jake Long $11.2 million

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    If you have doubted the dominance of Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jake Long, then look at the rushing totals of running back Reggie Bush, who finished with four consecutive 100-yard games before sitting out the final game of last season.

    This year, the Dolphins will throw the football more under the umbrella of the West Coast offense. You can expect Long’s pass-blocking skills will be tested.

Minnesota Vikings: DE Jared Allen $11.6 million

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    The Minnesota Vikings have plenty of question marks surrounding their team, but their one true strength is the defensive line. Defensive end Jared Allen must continue to inspire his team to play smart, aggressive football.

New England Patriots: WR Wes Welker $9.515 million

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    This is a big season for both wide receiver Wes Welker and the New England Patriots, as neither side could agree on a long-term contract. Thus, Welker is playing under the franchise tag for this year and possibly next year as well.

    He has played beyond the terms of his expired deal, but Welker must produce once again if the Pats are going to sweeten his deal.

New Orleans Saints: DT Sedrick Ellis $5.8 million

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    If the New Orleans Saints are returning to the playoffs, then they will have to tackle a very tough regular season schedule. You can expect the leadership skills of defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis to shine, as he will remind his teammates that they have something to prove to the entire league each week.

    The Saints cannot allow the bounty scandal to truly define them as a team.

New York Giants: S Antrel Rolle $6.75 million

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    The defending Super Bowl champs are opening training camp with the hopes of making a return appearance to the final game of the season.

    New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle is ready to lead his team to victory. His willingness to play anywhere on the field shows how committed he is to winning rather than adding to his personal stats.

New York Jets: LB David Harris $9.9 million

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    This season, the New York Jets want to blitz opposing teams from any defensive set. It’s a concept that Rex Ryan wanted to implement since the day he was hired as head coach. This scheme allows linebacker David Harris to make more of an impact than in past seasons. 

Oakland Raiders: DE Tommy Kelly $ 6 million

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    Oakland Raiders DE Tommy Kelly can line up anywhere on the line of scrimmage and generate a pass rush. His impact on defense should help the Raiders to increase their overall win total this season.

Philadelphia Eagles: QB Michael Vick $12.5 million

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    Unfiltered comments from the Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks have firmly placed a bullseye on the backs of their teammates.

    Last season, it was Vince Young referring to the club's free-agent acquisitions as being "a dream team." Now, Michael Vick has declared the Eagles the next "dynasty" in the NFL. You appreciate their confidence in the team's ability to win; you just wish their comments don't become blackboard material in key divisional games. 

Pittsburgh Steelers: S Troy Polamalu $6.25 million

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    Coming into this season, Pittsburgh Steeler fans had to be concern with their defense, as they have shown to be too inconsistent in big games.  The defensive secondary under the leadership of safety Troy Polamalu was often the bright spot in a key win.

San Diego Chargers: QB Philip Rivers $10.2 million

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    All football fans have to respect the mental and physical toughness of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. His uncanny knack of holding onto the ball for a split second longer allows his receivers to create space and make key plays downfield. 

San Francisco 49ers: S Dashon Goldson $6.2 million

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    San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson has signed his franchise tender contract for the upcoming season, so he will remain in the Bay Area for one more year. If he can maintain his level of excellence, then Goldson will be looking to sign a long-term deal after the season. 

Seattle Seahawks: WR Sidney Rice $7 million

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    Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice has tremendous talent, but he cannot stay on the field long enough to showcase them. Rice has missed 17 games over the last two seasons, and it has affected his productivity. 

St. Louis Rams: QB Sam Bradford $12 million

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    The St. Louis Rams offensive line hasn’t done a very good job of protecting quarterback Sam Bradford in the pocket. When given time, he has a terrific, accurate arm. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Vincent Jackson $11 million

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    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson is an impact player that will create space in the middle for the intermediate passing game. Opposing defenses must respect his playmaking ability. 

Tennessee Titans: RB Chris Johnson $8 million

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    Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is one of the more dangerous players in the NFL, as he can score a touchdown from anywhere on the field. Often, he’s a matchup nightmare for most opposing defenses. 

Washington Redskins: OT Trent Williams $11 million

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    This season, Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams’ biggest job is to protect the blindside of quarterback Robert Griffin III. No question that RGIII’s health will play a major role in determining the Redskins' final record.