We have been tracking guaranteed money on this blog ever since Detroit committed quarterback Matthew Stafford to an NFL-record $41.7 million on the eve of the 2009 draft. Finally, it's time for Stafford's deal to take a back seat.
But as it turns out, the record remains in the NFC North family. (Would you have expected anything else?) Chicago guaranteed defensive end Julius Peppers $42 million on Friday, putting Peppers at the top of our list:
Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers: $42 million
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford: $41.7 million
Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth: $41 million
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers: $38 million
Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick: $37 million*
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: $36 million
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan: $34.8 million
Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning: $34.5 million
Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell: $31.5 million
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo: $30 million
*Vick's deal has since been terminated.
It will be interesting to see how long Peppers' record stands. If a quarterback is drafted No. 1 overall next month, you would think his guaranteed money would overtake Stafford. With only a $300,000 difference between Stafford and Peppers, there is a chance the record could soon fall. Other candidates include Manning and New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, both of whom are expected to receive contract extensions this offseason.