Forbes released its list of the world’s highest paid athletes on Wednesday. Not only did 10 former SEC athletes make the list, the conference can also brag about having the highest-paid player in the NFL.
Former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is the highest-paid football player and the seventh richest athlete in the world by netting a total pay of $53.1 million, according to Forbes. Newton earned $41.1 million in salary and winnings while also netting a whopping $12 million in endorsements, which is tied for the second-highest endorsement total in the NFL.
A bit further down the list was one of the Manning brothers, but not the one who just rode off into the sunset as a Super Bowl champion. Former Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning appeared at No. 13 on the list and the second-highest paid player in the NFL thanks to a colossal $37 million in earning/winnings, plus an additional $8 million in endorsements. The debate has raged on for years about whether Eli is elite. His salary certainly verifies his status among the game’s greats, even if his production doesn’t always correlate.
If you thought Eli was a surprise at No. 13, the next SEC player on this wealthy list may shock you even more. Former Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus came in at No. 26 on the list despite only making $100,000 in endorsements. Dareus certainly doesn’t play a glamorous position, but he earned a handsome $35.1 million for being one of the best at what he does.
Finally, former Tennessee legend Peyton Manning appeared on Forbes’ list directly behind Dareus at No. 27. The charismatic quarterback garnered a total pay of $34.2 million, with $15 million coming from endorsements. Chicken parm you taste so good, indeed.
Rounding out the top 30 was former UGA wide receiver A.J. Green, who made $33.3 million in total pay with nearly all of that coming from his lofty $32.8 million salary.
Another wide receiver wasn’t far behind Green. Former Alabama wideout Julio Jones was the final SEC player in the top 50 after earning $27.2 million in total pay. Both of these wideouts are at the top of their respective games and garner bigger bucks in the future.
The final SEC football player on Forbes’ list was former UGA linebacker Justin Houston at No. 89. The sack machine became one of the highest-paid defensive players in the league after posting 22 sacks in 2014 and made a total of $21.8 million in total pay. Houston could afford to get some more endorsement deals, as he only made $100,000 in endorsements last season.
A handful of non-football SEC athletes also appeared on Forbes’ list. Former Arkansas pitcher Cliff Lee was ranked No. 38 on the list and is one of the richest players at his position with a total pay of $29.3 million. Vanderbilt flamethrower David Price also cracked the list at No. 65 and garnered $23.8 million in total earnings.
The final SEC athlete to make the list was former Arkansas basketball star, Joe Johnson. The shooting guard came in at No. 77 on Forbes’ list and made $22.9 million in total earnings.