Green Bay Packers injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers watches warm ups...

Green Bay Packers injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers watches warm ups before an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nov. 26, 2017. Credit: AP/Don Wright

Best players

1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: Rodgers is the single most exciting player to watch in today’s NFL, a player whose combination of pure athletic skill and strategic brilliance makes him almost impossible for defenses to contain.

2. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: Is this man ever going to slow down? At age 40 last season, he won his third MVP and got to the Super Bowl for a seventh time in his legendary career. He is almost singlehandedly responsible for the greatest and most long-lasting dynasty in NFL history.

3. Aaron Donald, DT, Rams: Donald was rewarded with the richest contract of any defensive player in NFL history (although it was short-lived after Khalil Mack got an even bigger deal in a trade to the Bears), and it’s no wonder the Rams paid handsomely for their best player. He’s the most dominant defensive lineman of his generation.

4. Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles: Wentz was playing at an MVP-caliber level before being felled by a knee injury last season. Yes, the Eagles won the Super Bowl without him, but Wentz set the table for homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Eagles will need him back to think about a repeat.

5. Von Miller, OLB, Broncos: Miller has produced double-digit sacks in six of his first seven seasons, and is the best pure pass rusher in the game. Denver isn’t nearly the team it was when the Broncos won Super Bowl L, but Miller remains the team’s most important player.

Best quarterbacks

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

2. Tom Brady, Patriots

3. Carson Wentz

4. Matt Ryan, Falcons

5. Drew Brees, Saints

Best running backs

1. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers

2. David Johnson, Cardinals

3. Todd Gurley, Rams

4. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys

5. Alvin Kamara, Saints

Best wide receivers

1. Antonio Brown, Steelers

2. Julio Jones, Falcons

3. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants

4. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans

5. A.J. Green, Bengals

Best tight ends

1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots

2. Travis Kelce, Chiefs

3. Greg Olsen, Panthers

4. Jordan Reed, Redskins

5. Evan Engram, Giants

Best offensive linemen

1. Taylor Lewan, T, Titans

2. Trent Williams, T, Redskins

3. Tyron Smith, T, Cowboys

4. David DeCastro, G, Steelers

5. Andrew Whitworth, T, Rams

Best defensive linemen

1. Aaron Donald, DT, Rams

2. Khalil Mack, DE, Bears

3. J.J. Watt, DE, Texans

4. Calais Campbell, DE, Jaguars

5. Geno Atkins, DT, Bengals

Best linebackers

1. Von Miller, OLB, Broncos

2. Luke Kuechly, ILB, Panthers

3. Bobby Wagner, ILB, Seahawks

4. Jadeveon Clowney, OLB, Texans

5. Ryan Kerrigan, OLB, Redskins

Best defensive backs

1. Patrick Peterson, CB, Cardinals

2. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Jaguars

3. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Vikings

4. Earl Thomas, S, Seahawks

5. Harrison Smith, S, Vikings

Best kickers

1. Justin Tucker, Ravens

2. Greg Zuerlein, Rams

3. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots

4. Harrison Butker, Chiefs

5. Chris Boswell, Steelers

Best punters

1. Johnny Hekker, Rams

2. Brett Kern, Titans

3. Shane Lechler, free agent

4. Marquette King, Broncos

5. Rigoberto Sanchez, Colts

Best kick returners

1. Pharoh Cooper, Rams

2. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks

3. Cordarrelle Patterson, Patriots

4. Dion Lewis, Titans

5. Jamal Agnew, Lions

Best players over 30

1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

2. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots

3. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

4. Drew Brees, QB, Saints

5. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers

Best offenses

1. Packers

2. Patriots

3. Eagles

4. Saints

5. Steelers

Best defenses

1. Jaguars

2. Vikings

3. Eagles

4. Rams

5. Texans

Best general managers

1. Kevin Colbert, Steelers

2. Howie Roseman, Eagles

3. Rick Spielman, Vikings

4. Tom Coughlin, Jaguars

5. John Schneider, Seahawks

Best coordinators

1. Josh McDaniels, Patriots, off.

2. Wade Phillips, Rams, def.

3. Jim Schwartz, Eagles, def.

4. Rod Marinelli, Cowboys, def.

5. James Bettcher, Giants, def.

Best uniforms

1. Broncos

2. Redskins

3. Panthers

4. Packers

5. Steelers

Best stadiums

1. Lambeau Field, Packers

2. U.S. Bank Stadium, Vikings

3. Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Falcons

4. CenturyLink Field, Seahawks

5. AT&T Stadium, Cowboys

Best Jets

1. S Jamal Adams

2. CB Trumaine Johnson

3. DE Leonard Williams

4. QB Sam Darnold

5. G Brian Winters

Best Giants

1. WR Odell Beckham Jr.

2. LB Olivier Vernon

3. QB Eli Manning

4. S Landon Collins

5. RB Saquon Barkley

Big deals

The highest paid NFL players this season, ranked by average yearly salary (in millions):

TotalPlayer, Team

$33.5MAaron Rodgers, Packers

$30MMatt Ryan, Falcons

$28MKirk Cousins, Vikings

$27.5MJimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

$27MMatthew Stafford, Lions

$25.005MDerek Carr, Raiders

$25MDrew Brees, Saints

$24.594MAndrew Luck, Colts

$23.5MAlex Smith, Redskins

$23.5MKhalil Mack, Bears

$22.5MAaron Donald, Rams

$22.133MJoe Flacco, Ravens

$21.9MRussell Wilson, Seahawks

$21.85MBen Roethlisberger, Steelers

$21MEli Manning, Giants

$20.8125MPhilip Rivers, Chargers

$20.76MCam Newton, Panthers

$20.5MTom Brady, Patriots

$20MSam Bradford, Cardinals

$19.250MRyan Tannehill, Dolphins

$19.083MVon Miller, Broncos

$18MOdell Beckham Jr., Giants

$18MCase Keenum, Broncos

$17.4835MBlake Bortles, Jaguars

$17.143MEzekiel Ansah, Lions

$17.143MDeMarcus Lawrence, Cowboys

SOURCE: Over the Cap; NFL.com

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