Forbes released their Top 100 Highest Paid Athletes from June 1, 2015 to June 1, 2016 and at the top of the list was Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. However, Cam Newton cracked the Top 10 at seventh with $53.1 million made last year and was the highest earning player in the NFL. Luke Kuechly also made the list and ranked 44th with $27.1 million earned.
Forbes determined the earning figures by including "salaries, prize money and bonuses paid out between June 1, 2015, and June 1, 2016. Endorsement incomes are an estimate of sponsorships, appearance fees and licensing incomes for the same 12 month period based on conversations with dozens of industry insiders."
The fact that these two players are on the list should not be a surprise since both signed major contract extensions last year. The Panthers' quarterback signed a 5 year, $103,800,000 contract extension that included $60 million guaranteed. Forbes estimated that Newton made $41.1 million in salary, along with $12 million in endorsements for a total of $53.1 million over the past 12 months.
Luke Kuechly also signed a five-year extension worth $61,801,565 last offseason and according to Forbes had earned $26.1 million in salary and an additional $1 million in endorsements for a total of $27.1 million over the last year.
For a full list of the highest paid athletes, click here.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.com.