While we don't quite know what to make of Steve Young as an NFL quarterback, we do know this: Robin Leach would like to meet him. As a result of Young's having struck two extraordinarily lucrative deals in the past eight years—he pocketed $5.4 million in two seasons with the Los Angeles Express before the United States Football League called it quits after the 1985 season, and he signed a two-year, $4.5 million deal to remain with the 49ers as a backup to Joe Montana last spring—Young has been one of the best-compensated pro football players over that span.
In fact, the five top money-earners between '84 and '91 are quarterbacks. (The highest-paid defensive player in that time is Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who has earned $10.15 million.) Here are the total earnings, including cumulative salary and signing and reporting bonuses but excluding incentive bonuses, of the five very rich signal-callers. The information comes from documents obtained from agents with access to NFL Players Association salary surveys.