Use images of Michael Vick and Aaron Rodgers to create one image, please - thanks! :)



NFL players

NFL players are some of the highest paid athletes in the sports world, earning an average of $2 million a year. For an average career length of only three years, financial ups and downs are a given.

So, which current NFL players are good with their money, and which players are the worst? Take a look at the five best and five worst NFL players when it comes to money.

5 NFL Players With the Best Financial Habits


Editorial Credit: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

NFL Players With the Best Financial Habits

Some professional footballers use their money wisely, despite the short career span. Having a budget, no matter how much you make is a must, as these athletes and their success prove. Here's a look at the 5 NFL players who handle their money the best.

Read More: 9 Millionaire NFL Players Who Started Their Careers Broke

1. Ryan Broyles

https://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/20561079850/in/photolist-xAWyMW-xjUUGJ-8QyWVd-c1jbQ1-7fGVGZ (Can you please crop this? He is the one on the left in the white uniform - thanks!)

Ryan Broyles

Former Detroit Lions wide receiver might be one of the first to usher in a new generation of financially responsible pro football players. At 27 years old, Broyles, according to Time Money, was slated to earn $3.6 million over the next four years — $900,000 per season — but limited his annual budget to a very modest $60,000 to support his family. Unfortunately, Broyles was cut from the team earlier this month, but he shouldn't be worried, having invested the remainder of his earnings to make him set for years to come. Broyles recently told ESPN that he doesn't feel as pressured to earn because he budgets and invests intelligently.

Broyles has the foresight to realize that wealth isn't what you earn now, rather your ability to make your money grow over time through smart decision making. This NFL player is a perfect example of why contributing to a 401k plan that your employer matches is an absolute must.

Learn: 5 Things You Should Never Do With a 401k

2. Rob Gronkowski


Rob Gronkowski

This 26-year-old New England Patriots tight end has more money than he knows what to do with, yet spends none of it. In his five years on the gridiron, Gronkowski has earned more than $10 million and hasn't spent a dime. According to NBC Sports, Gronkowski prefers to live off his endorsement and appearance income, reserving his NFL money for retirement savings. Considering how short-lived sports careers can be, he'll need to start living off that money soon.

Gronkowski recently revealed his spendthrift ways on TheMMQB.com: “To this day, I still haven’t touched one dime of my signing bonus or NFL contract money," he said. "I live off my marketing money and haven’t blown it on any big-money expensive cars, expensive jewelry or tattoos and still wear my favorite pair of jeans from high school."

With a salary most of us could only dream of, Gronkowski understands that money isn't everything and keeping up with the Joneses isn't always the pathway to happiness.

3. Giovanni Bernard


matt / Flickr

Giovanni Bernard

Bernard signed a $5.25 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013. In addition to a $2.2 million signing bonus, the then-rookie running back had enough cash flow to spend to his heart's content. But according to Yahoo Sports, Bernard is one of the new breed of money-conscious athletes who eschews the lavish lifestyle associated with going straight to the top, preferring to drive a minivan borrowed from his girlfriend's mother. He also lives in a modest apartment close to the stadium to cut down on commuting costs, and sometimes he doesn't even drive.

"My apartment is super close, and if I do need a ride to practice, my girlfriend can drive me," Bernard told Yahoo in 2013, noting that he's learned a lesson from other broke NFL players' mistakes. "You hear about guys getting in trouble. It's being smart with what you get ... Whether it's being thrifty, frugal – whatever the word might be."

Like Gronkowski, Bernard doesn't let money rule his life and sees the value in living practically, not lavishly — a lifestyle approach anyone can use to stay on top of their finances and stay out of debt.

4. Alfred Morris


Alfred Morris

Keith Allison / Flickr

If it ain't broke, don't fix it — and if it's broke, fix it. That's the attitude this 26-year-old star running back for the Washington Redskins lives by. Morris drives a car nearly as old as he is, even though he can afford much better. Morris' rising net worth is currently $2 million, more than enough money to buy a new ride, but instead, he prefers to drive his trusty 1991 Mazda 626.

"It has some sentimental value to it now," Morris said in his 2012 rookie year, "It just keeps me grounded, where I came from and all the hard work for me to get to this point. So that's what helps me." Morris said that he'd like to one day hand down to his children as a sort of vehicular heirloom. "One day, my kids are going to drive that car. If it breaks down, I'm gettin' it fixed. That's just how I am."

Morris doesn't fall for the temptation of buying new possessions just because he can afford to — and like many financially successful people understand, he knows not splurging means more saving.

5. Aaron Rodgers


Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers star quarterback is worth more than $110 million. As part of the five-season deal he signed with the team in 2013, Rodgers is now the highest paid NFL player per season. He told USA Today in 2015 that despite his stratospheric fortune, he's just a "regular guy" who doesn't spend money frivolously and lives his life like anyone else.

"I think some people forget sometimes I do have to go to the grocery store, I do enjoy going out to dinner, I have to get my oil changed from time to time," Rodgers was quoted as saying. "I do all the normal things. I cut my grass. People kind of forget that normal part that we do a lot of the stuff that everybody else does but we all have our talents, and mine is in football."

We can sometimes risk going into debt trying to live like the celebrity elite, but often forget that multimillionaires like Rodgers still do their own shopping and look for ways to save money, even when it's not a financial necessity for them.

5 NFL Players With the Worst Financial Habits


Editorial Credit: Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock.com

NFL Players With the Worst Financial Habits

Not all professional footballers handle their finances with such finesse. There are NFL players also notorious for squandering their salaries. About 78 percent of NFL players go bankrupt or are severely financially stressed, according to CNN Money. That's a lot of money to blow for an average career lasting just over three years. Here's a look at the 5 NFL players who don't handle their money quite as well.

1. Dez Bryant


Dez Bryant

Editorial Credit: Photo Works / Shutterstock.com

The Dallas Cowboys have finally secured wide receiver Bryant for the upcoming season, settling on an offer of $12.8 million, but Bryant might need the extra cash to compensate for the $850,000 he was sued for in 2011. One charge alleged that Bryant hadn't paid up for $600,000 worth of jewelry, sporting event tickets and personal loan funds — a case that began when Bryant was still a college student. While the suit was settled later that year, another jeweler came forth around the same time, claiming that Bryant owed $246,000 for even more bling. That court case is still pending.

Bryant's high-earner status made him feel like he could live large before his bank account could support it. Today, he's still paying for his mistake. By living within his means, he could have avoided the debt and legal trouble if he'd been more financially responsible.

Learn: 5 Signs You Need a Financial Advisor

2. Michael Vick


Michael Vick

Jerry Zitterman / Shutterstock.com

Late last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was just weeks away from paying his creditors $18 million in debt — slowly paid down during a five-year restrictive budget period when Vick earned a cumulative $49 million on the field, according to ESPN. In 2007, Vick was convicted and sent to prison for running an illegal dog-fighting operation, a shocker that cost the footballer millions of dollars and changed the face of animal cruelty laws in the U.S. According to The Sportster, the indictment caused Vick, to lose his $130 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons, plus $8 million more in endorsement contracts per year.

Breaking the law can cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands, in legal fees and court costs that most of us on a budget can't support without going into debt. As Vick's story proves, criminal behavior can cause one to lose their job and their reputation, making it more difficult to get back on track both professionally and financially.

3. Adam "Pacman" Jones


Adam Jones

Nathan Rupert / Flickr

In his Dallas days as "Pacman," Jones would have said his excessive spending was when he "made it rain," as if there was no drought in sight. If that's the case, it was a rainstorm that one night in 2007, when Jones dropped $1 million dollars in a Las Vegas strip club. He was later forced to pay over 10 times that much when the evening ended with a shooting that left the club owner paralyzed from the waist down, according to NFL reports. The former "Pacman" now has a second lease on football and finance with Cincinnati.

Just a couple of years ago, Jones had some wise words to share with a group of rookies about personal finance, "What you do on the field, what you do off the field, it's all a reflection of you. Going to the club here, going to the club there. Having 100 people with you. Checking your advisers, your accountants. Just basic stuff."

Jones said it himself: How you handle yourself, and your money, reflects back on you as a person. Spend wastefully and get into trouble, and you'll pay for it; save money and remain financially responsible, and you'll benefit for years to come.

4. Ray Rice


Ray Rice

Keith Allison / Flickr

Rice might be without a team, but he's lucky he'll be allowed to play in the NFL at all after domestic abuse charges triggered the termination of his $35 million Ravens contract, suspension from the league and fallout of his public image. None of this is good for a 28-year-old running back in the prime of his career, especially as it was all caught on the now-infamous "Ray Rice video."

Earlier this year, Rice was able to successfully settle a lawsuit against his former team. He had sought $3.53 million in back pay for missing the 2014 season, and in January, both parties reached an agreement for an undisclosed amount, according to the Baltimore Sun. Rice, like Vick, is a perfect example of how illegal behavior can cause more financial and personal damage than it's worth. No amount of earnings or income can diminish any criminal's actions, famous or not.

5. Jamaal Anderson

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tipsterhog/219611867/in/photolist-kpyXv-cq8ma-9AAMdJ-frH57i-bo4fyw (can you please crop this? He is number 92 - thank youuuu)

Jamaal Anderson

Mark Barron / Flickr

It might not be fair to single out Anderson on this list, as he's just one of more than a dozen pro football players claiming they were scammed in a $60 million investment gone sour back in 2013. But the former Atlanta Falcons defensive end (and current free agent) bore much of the financial brunt, having lost more than $5.8 million in the deal, according to The Baltimore Sun. The players, both active and retired, were led by former Ravens player Ray Lewis, alleging that BB&T Bank allowed a disreputable sports investment firm to open accounts in their names and make large unauthorized investments — the bulk of which was lost in a failed casino project in Alabama, later ruled illegal.

You don't need to be Warren Buffett to make good investments, but you should be informed before putting your money in the pot. Had Anderson consulted with the right advisors, he could have avoided getting scammed for more money than most regular folks can hope to make in 10 lifetimes.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 5 Best and Worst NFL Players When It Comes to Money

Show more