Patriots quarterback Tom Brady comes in at No. 28 on the top-100 list with total earnings of $27.1 million. In March, Brady restructured his contract to provide the Patriots with more than $7 million in additional salary cap room for the 2012 season. Brady signed a four-year, $72 million extension in 2010 and reportedly converted $4.8 million of his base salary and $6.25 million of other bonuses into a signing bonus that can be prorated over the final three years of the deal that ends in 2014, when Brady will be 37 years old. Brady earns $23.1 million in salary plus $4 million in additional income through endorsement deals with Under Armor, Audi, and UGGs and others.
Logan Mankins is the next New England professional athlete to be ranked on the list. The four-time Patriots Pro Bowl guard comes in at No. 51, earning $21.9 million in 2012, including about $1,000,000 in endorsements. Mankins missed half of the Patriots 2010 season when he held out after saying he was unhappy with his current deal. In 2011, Mankins signed a six-year, $52.25 million deal that extends through 2016. It was the largest contract paid to an NFL guard at the time.
Celtics star Kevin Garnett, currently an unrestricted free-agent, comes in at No. 57 on the list with total earnings of $21.1 million, which includes $4 million in endorsements. Garnett has earned $291 million in salary in his career according to Forbes, second all-time only to former Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal.
Injured Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford checks in at No. 98 on the list with $16.9 million in total earnings in 2012, which includes about $150,000 in endorsements. Former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein signed Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million deal following the 2010 season. Crawford struggled in Boston during the first year of the deal and has yet to take the field in 2012 due to wrist and elbow injuries.
Jailed boxer Floyd Mayweather sits atop the Forbes list with earnings totaling $85 million. He is followed by boxer Manny Pacquiao ($62M) , golfer Tiger Woods ($59.4M), basketball star LeBron James ($53M), and tennis great Roger Federer ($52.7, to round out the top five.
Mayweather, who made $85 million for two fights last year, is currently serving a three-month jail sentence in Las Vegas for domestic battery. Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight title to Timothy Bradley earlier this month.
Woods had been the highest paid athlete on the list since 2001. He's lost endorsement deals from Gillette, Tag Heuer, and others since personal issues surfaced in Nov. 2009.
James's $53 million in earnings includes $40 million in endorsement money, which includes new deals to promote Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins in Asia. It was LeBron's first significant endorsement deal since the Miami Heat center signed with Fenway Sports Management to oversee his marketing career in 2011. Jamesís income also got a boost when he received cash as part of his partnership with Fenway Sports Group last year, through which James received a stake in the Liverpool soccer club.
Other notables on the top-100 highest paid list:
- Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is No. 10 with $42.4 million in total earnings
- Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees was tops among baseball players and No. 18 overall with $33 million in earnings
- Giants QB and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning checks in at No. 30, with $26.6 million
- Yankees captain Derek Jeter is No. 36 with $24.5 million in earnings
- Liverpool Reds legend Steven Gerrard comes in at No. 97 on the list. Reds/Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner paid the LFC star $12.5 million in 2012, while Gerrard earned another $4.5 million in endorsements, mostly through his affiliation with Adidas.
Athletes from 11 different sports qualified for the top 100, and 30 football players made the cut, which is more than any other sport, including 13 players from the NBA.
The earnings figures published by Forbes includes salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees, as well as licensing and endorsement income for the 12 months between June 2011 and June 2012.
Take a look at the complete list via a photo gallery from Forbes here.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer