These players arenít making enough money
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By Darren Rovell, CNBC.com
With the 2011 NFL season halfway over, the first 10 weeks have been marked by injuries, disappointments but also breakout performances. Of this yearís breakout players, many have only been in the league for a few seasons, and for these elite players their current contracts may be working against them.
Although these premier players may not be making all-star salaries, when it comes time for them to negotiate a new contract you can expect their compensation will be more in line with their abilities. This list focuses on identifying underpaid offensive players at skill positions as their stat lines are more quantifiable.
We start with New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski(notes), who sits at No. 10 on our list.
Gronkowski is an absolute machine, moving his 6-foot-6, 265-pound body with ridiculous agility. In the last four games, against the Cowboys, Steelers, Giants and Jets, Gronkowski has caught at least seven passes and has averaged 95.5 yards a game. Gronkowski got a $1.76 million signing bonus and a $830,000 playing time bonus but heís still making the $450,000 minimum salary.
So which other offensive players are making the least, but making the most of it? Hereís our rundown of the best bang for the buck in the league.
The top five:
5. Mike Wallace
Position: Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers
2011 salary: $480,000
Weekly paycheck: $35,294
Wallace has had at least 70 yards receive in 8 of the teamís 10 games, averaging 17.4 yards per catch. See more
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster gestures toward Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans during the second quarter of a game on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Tampa, Fla.
4. Matt Forte
Position: Running Back, Chicago Bears
2011 salary: $600,000
Weekly paycheck: $35,294
Forte has three rushing touchdowns but his 869 yards rushing is only behind Fred Jackson and LeSean McCoy. See more
3. Arian Foster
Position: Running Back, Houston Texans
2011 salary: $525,000
Weekly paycheck: $30,882
In the eight games he has played in this season, Foster only failed to reach a combined 100 yards rushing or receiving in the season opener. See more
2. Aaron Rodgers
Position: Quarterback, Green Bay Packers
2011 salary: $7.5 million
Weekly paycheck: $441,176
Thanks to having Rodgers, the Pack is predicted to defend its Super Bowl title and is using the success to launch a stock sale that will seek $143 million in improvements to Lambeau Field. See more
1. Wes Welker
Position: Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
2011 salary: $2.15 million
Weekly paycheck: $127,647
Welker has pulled in 72 receptions for 1,006 yards receiving to go along with six touchdowns thus far this season. See more
ē See the rest of the list