A strange phenomenon in the American rugby league is the highest-paid players have no merit and the champions are paid cheaply.
Football, especially the American NFL, for a long time was dominated by the New England Patriots club. The club owned five Super Bowl championships with the participation of Brady. But despite being a legend, Brady has a rather low salary.
The position of the quarterback (the equivalent of soccer midfielder) that Tom Brady competes in is the most important position in football because they pass the ball and direct the attack. As a result, quarterback players rank high in the list of top NFL players, but Tom Brady is not even in the top 10.
Kirk Cousins signed a contract to earn the highest NFL salary at $ 28 million a year. The runner-up, Jimmy Garoppolo, will earn $ 28 million in 2018 and is the second highest paid player in NFL history. According to the wiki, with a 5-year contract from 2018 to 2022, the total amount of Garoppolo earned will be $ 137.5 million. Garoppolo has been a substitute for Tom Brady for more than 3 seasons, and despite the salary of $ 7 million higher than Brady, Garoppolo only played 5 matches in his career, and the club San Francisco 49ers did not won a playoff match (live knockout match) when Garoppolo played.
Besides Garoppolo, the remaining players in the top 4 in NFL payouts all never won a playoff match. Kirk Cousins of Minnesota Vikings ($ 28 million), Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford ($ 27 million), Derek Carr of Oakland Raiders ($ 25 million) have never led their club to a long-running match for more than 3 hours and had to encounter muscular opponents.
Even by the majority of rugby fans, the top quarterback players receive lower wages because many of them have been sacrificed for the team to improve. NFL clubs all have payrolls and are not paid over the proposed salary ceiling, so if a quarterback is paid very well, other positions will have to receive low wages.
In 2012, Tom Brady after earning a lot of money voluntarily cut his salary so the New England Patriots could recruit good players in other positions. The sacrifice was compensated by the trophies for Brady in 2015 & 2017, prompting his colleagues to start learning Brady as well.