Remember When Jim Kelly Was The Highest Paid Player In The NFL?
Everyone is talking about how the Kansas City Chiefs have signed QB Patrick Mahomes to a 10-year $450 million dollar deal but believe it or not, the highest-paid player in the NFL once played in Buffalo.
The year was 1986 and the deal was announced just two weeks after the USFL folded and their players were told they could now sign with other teams. The Buffalo Bills had drafted QB Jim Kelly in the 1983 draft, but he chose to head to Houston and play in the upstart league. Now he was coming to Buffalo and it was going to cost them some cash.
According to the LA Times, back on Monday, August 18th, 1986 Kelly signed the record deal.
The Buffalo Bills signed Kelly to a five-year contract that, according to Kelly’s agents, is worth between $7.5 million and $8 million. The salary, about $1.5 million a year, is at least $200,000 more than quarterback Joe Montana’s annual pay with the San Francisco 49ers.
Yep...Jim Kelly, who had never played a down in the NFL was getting paid more than Superbowl champion Joe Montana from the San Francisco 49ers.
According to the paper, Kelly was earning more than several other Hall of Famers including John Elway, Steve Young, Marcus Allen, and Lawerence Taylor.
HIGHEST PAID FOOTBALL PLAYERS*
Player Pos. Team Salary Jim Kelly QB Buffalo $1.5 million Joe Montana QB San Francisco 1.3 million Warren Moon QB Houston 1.1 million Herschel Walker RB Dallas 1 million Bernie Kosar QB Cleveland 1 million John Elway QB Denver 1 million Marc Wilson QB L.A. Raiders 900,000 Steve Young QB Tampa Bay 900,000 Marcus Allen RB L.A. Raiders 875,000 Lawrence Taylor LB N.Y. Giants 850,000
Now the deal worked out in the favor of the Buffalo Bills who went on to sell over 30,000 tickets to the opening game that season after having back to back 2-14 seasons.
Kelly also made Ralph Wilson's challenge come true by playing well enough to make it to the Bills Wall Of Fame.