There are players in the NFL that are worth the money, and they get paid for it. Here is a list of the top 10 players in each conference that have the highest salaries of 2012.
QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: $15.76 million
Brees is poised to make the highest salary of the 2012 season in the NFC. There is no doubt that he is worth the money New Orleans will be paying him, but they need to try to lock him up long-term.
QB Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles: $12.5 million
Vick is a quarterback that after getting out of jail three years ago had a breakout season and signed a huge contract. Vick, who had a subpar year in 2011, needs to earn his money with good play this season.
QB Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams: $12 million
Bradford was drafted two years ago out of Oklahoma and won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2010. Bradford is a good quarterback and with some extra help, he is poised to have a good season in 2012.
DE Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings: $11.619 million
Allen is probably one of, if not the best defensive ends in the NFL. Even though he has passed his prime, Allen is still an end that is feared by most offensive linemen in the NFL.
QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: $11.5 million
Ryan is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFC. Combined with receiver Roddy White, Ryan has led Atlanta to the playoffs and turned the team around.
QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: $11.5 million
Stafford had a breakout season last year throwing for over 5,000 yards. After two injury-shortened seasons where he still made a lot of money, Stafford definitely earned his cash this past year.
WR incent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $11 million
Jackson last year had over 1,000 yards receiving with Tampa Bay combined with nine touchdowns. Look for Jackson to continue his success as the No. 1 receiver in Tampa Bay.
OT Trent Williams, Washington Redskins: $11 million
Williams has been a good on the offensive line for Washington and will hopefully be good enough protection for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.
CB Nnamdi Asomugha, Philadelphia Eagles: $11 million
Asomugha was the hottest free agent going into the 2011 season and was scooped up by Philadelphia. Asomugha is a star on defense and is worth every penny.
DE Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions: $10.6 million
As of right now, Avril has been franchised tagged by Detroit as they work on contract negotiations long term. Avril was a stud on defense last season, but will hold out of training camp if he doesn’t have a new contract.
DE Calais Campbell, Arizona Cardinals: $10.6 million
Last year, Campbell had 72 tackles with eight sacks and one interception. Campbell is one of the better defensive tackles in the NFC and his salary shows it.
QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos: $18 million
Manning was picked up by Denver after being released by Indianapolis. He is coming back from a season where he didn’t take a snap and Denver has taken a risk signing him, but he could be worth the money he is paid if he gets back to his old form.
DE Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis Colts: $14.035 million
Freeney has been a dominant defensive end for Indianapolis for a very long time, and still continues to be one today.
DE Elvis Dumervil, Denver Broncos: $14 million
Dumervil had a great season for Denver last year and was a leader on a good Denver Broncos defense. Look for him to have another good year.
DE Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs: $11.25 million
Hali had a good season last year, racking up 66 tackles and 12 sacks, dominating teams that would play Kansas City.
OT Jake Long, Miami Dolphins: $11.2 million
Long is one of the best left tackles in the entire NFL. He is coming back from an injury though which could give Miami some doubts about how good he will be.
OT Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns: $10.5 million
Thomas was a good pick for Cleveland a few years ago, and has proven to be worth the money Cleveland is paying him.
QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos: $10.4 million
Believe it or not, this payment is actually being paid as a buyout from Indianapolis for releasing hm.
QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: $10.2 million
Rivers had a great year in 2011, but yet again failed to get San Diego into the playoffs after they lost to Detroit on Christmas Eve.
LB David Harris, New York Jets: $9.9 million
Harris racked up 86 tackles and five sacks last season and is an asset on the New York Jets' defense.
WR Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs: $9.443 million
Bowe had a great season last year catching 81 passes for 1,159 yards and will have another good season in 2012.