Who's the Highest-Paid Kicker in the NFL?

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The quarterbacks make the big money, and the wide receivers get a lot of the attention, but any NFL coach will tell you a game may well come down to inches... on a kick that was launched from 50 yards away! To that end, do not sleep on the importance of kickers in the NFL. We've given your our opinion on who the BEST kickers are, but not the highest paid.

So we thought it was time to share the list of the 10 highest-paid kickers receivers for this coming NFL season.

Please note that there are a few different ways to categorize salaries in the NFL, as some have big-money deals that are not guaranteed, others spread signing bonuses around, etc. For the purposes of this piece, we're going with the 10 highest-paid in "cash ranking," ie, what these stars will take home this season, and we're ranking them in descending order. Hope you get a kick out of this list!

All stats via Spotrac.

10. Daniel Carlson, Raiders, $3.85 Million

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A 29-year-old former Auburn Tiger, Carlson started his career by struggling through two games with the Vikings, but then he landed with the then-Oakland Raiders and by the time the franchise moved to Las Vegas for the 2020 season, he was (and still is) one of the best kickers in the league.

9. Matt Gay, Colts, $3.92 Million

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Gay spent a year with the Buccaneers, then three with the Rams (including the Super Bowl LVI-winning season), before signing the big-money free-agent deal with the Colts in 2023 that got him onto this list.

8. Younghoe Koo, Falcons, $4 Million

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A sensation even before he became one of the sport's best kickers due to his unique backstory, Koo gets paid well these days because he's nice, having converted 154-174 FGAs in his career (89 percent).

7. Harrison Butker, Chiefs, $4.095 Million

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Even more than his regular-season numbers, Butker is well-known (and well-paid) because of all his post-season success. The Chiefs' title-winning run with Patrick Mahomes' has included lots of big kick opportunities, and Butker has converted almost all of them. Just don't invite him to give any more commencement speeches...

6. Greg Zuerlein, $4.2 Million

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"Greg the Leg" hasn't totally lived up to the hype that accompanied his 2012 arrival in the NFL as the first small-college kicker drafted by the NFL since 2006, but he has hung around a long time and, if the Jets are to be half as good as their fans are dreaming of, the recently re-signed Zuerlein will be a big part of it.

5. Will Lutz, Broncos, $4.51 Million

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A Saint since he entered the league in 2016, Lutz was lured to Denver before the 2023 season by the money that got him onto our top-10 list.

4. Chase McLaughlin, Buccaneers, $5 Million

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An extremely well-traveled kicker since he entered the NFL in 2019, Lutz played for *deep breath* the Chargers, Niners, Colts, Jaguars, Jets, Browns and Colts again before landing with the Bucs before 2023 season and making his mark with a 29-31 performance on field goals that convinced the NFC-South winning squad to give him a three-year deal to stay in Tampa Bay.

3. Graham Gano, Giants, $5.085 Million

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One of the game's greatest kickers from 2010-2022, the wheels effectively fell off for Gano last season when he struggled with injuries and made just 11-17 field goals. Needless to say, Giant fans expect a big comeback this season or his career is probably finished...

2. Ka'imi Fairbairn, Texans, $6.45 Million

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The Texans are a hot pick to go deep in the postseason next year thanks to their young QB-Coach combo of CJ Stroud and DeMeco Ryans. If it happens, kicking could be the difference. Luckily for the Texans, they've got a good one in Fairbairn, the 30-year-old UCLA product who grew up in Hawaii.

1. Jake Elliott, Eagles, $6.75 Million

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Low-key one of the most popular E-A-G-L-E-S, Jake "The Make" is a 29-year-old with a propensity for nailing kicks when Philly needs them most. So look at the little formula we came up with: Rabid fan base + big games + hitting clutch kicks=Highest-Paid Kicker in the NFL, both this year and beyond.

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