The annual list of highest-paid athletes from Forbes saw some major changes to not only the top of the leaderboard, but to the mainstays on the list. Gone were some sports from the top but, unsurprisingly, here to stay were some NFL players whose 2019 seasons weren’t cut short due to COVID-19.
Forbes released their list of top 100 highest-paid athletes in the world from this time last year to current day, placing tennis star Roger Federer in No. 1 for the first time ever, unseating Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the top spot after coronavirus shut down portions of their seasons.
The NFL was widely represented this time around, seeing a rise in the number of athletes on the Forbes top 100 list but the top running back to be spotted is none other than former Stanford Cardinal RB Christian McCaffrey.
He checked in at No. 63 overall with reported earnings of $26.5M from a $23.5M salary/winnings portion and $3M in endorsements.
McCaffrey was rewarded for his incredible career start with a four-year $64 million deal that made him the highest-paid running back in NFL history, so it was no shock to see him on this list. He has endorsement deals with brands like Nike, Bose, Pepsi and others while also launching his 22andYou foundation to help medical workers during the pandemic in both the Carolinas and his hometown of Denver.
The Carolina Panthers running back topped Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott on the list as they represented the only two RBs on the top 100. Elliott found his way to No. 89th overall. The rest of the NFL spots went as such:
9th — Minnesota Vikings Kirk Cousins ($60.5M)
10th — Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz ($59.1M)
15th — Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff ($49M)
21st — Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady ($45M)
22nd — New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees ($44.8M)
26th — Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones ($40.5M)
37th — Falcons DT Grady Jarrett ($33.1M)
39th — Saints WR Michael Thomas ($32.4)
45th — Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers ($30.1M)
47th — Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan ($29.5M)
59th — San Francisco 49ers DE Arik Armstead ($26.8M)
63rd — Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey ($26.5)
65th — Philadelphia Eagles CB Darius Slay ($26.1M)
74th — Seattle Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner ($25M)
75th — Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper ($24.9M)
77th — Chicago Bears DE Robert Quinn ($24.7M)
80th — Cincinnati Bengals CB Trae Waynes ($24.3M)
81st — Falcons DE Dante Fowler Jr. ($24.2M)
83rd — Oakland Raiders QB Marcus Mariota ($23.9M)
T85th — 49ers DE Nick Bosa ($23.7M)
T85th — Carolina Panthers LB Shaq Thompson ($23.7M)
88th — Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers ($23.4M)
89th — Cowboys RB Elliott ($23.3M)
91st — Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger ($23M)
92nd — Saints G Andrus Peat ($22.7M) (more on him tomorrow)
T94th — Houston Texans DT D.J. Reader ($22.4M)
T94th — New York Jets DT Quinnen Williams ($22.4M)
97th — Free Agent QB Cam Newton ($22.2M)
98th — Jacksonville Jaguars DE Calais Campbell ($22.1M)
99th — Raiders QB Derek Carr ($22M)