The NFL is the most popular and most violent sport in America, the one with the shortest average career and the least secure contracts.
Most players never see a majority of the large-figure deals that are signed, because they aren't fully guaranteed like Major League Baseball or NBA contracts. That's how you end up with a crazy stat like this:
According to a study by Colleen Carey of Wall St. Cheat Sheet, who counted down the top 10 career NFL salary earners, there are just nine players in NFL history who have pocketed $100 million to date. There were 10 players on the 2013 New York Yankees' payroll who have either made $100 million in their careers, or had contracts guaranteed to pay them that.
The Yankees list of $100 million men? Alex Rodriguez, Vernon Wells, Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and A.J. Burnett (according to Baseball Prospectus, $8.5 million of his 2013 salary was paid by the Yankees even though he was with the Pirates, and yes, Burnett is well over $100 million in his career). Catcher Brian McCann went over the $100 million mark when he signed an $85 million deal with the Yankees this offseason, and Yankees free agents Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano will enter the club this offseason.
The NFL list compiled by Carey has Richard Seymour, a former defensive lineman for the Patriots and Raiders, checking in at 10th on the list at $99.6 million. Champ Bailey, the longtime cornerback of the Redskins and Broncos, comes in at 9th at $103.3 million.
That mind-blowing comparison between every player in NFL history and the 2013 Yankees is yet another example why the NFL Players Association has failed miserably. You don't hear about baseball players having severe concussion problems after retirement, yet they are far more financially secure than NFL players. It's also worth wondering how much the epidemic of former players having physical problems is due to the terrible situation the NFL and the union have put them in, considering so many rush back from injury because they have no job security.
The other shocking part of Wall St. Cheat Sheet's list might be how much more money Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has made compared to everyone else.
Manning has made more than $207 million in salary (including bonuses) during his NFL career, by far and away the most in league history. He's more than $67 million ahead of Brett Favre, who is No. 2 on the list that was compiled by Carey, citing information from Spotrac. Tom Brady is third at a little more than $134 million, about $73 million less than Manning. You'd probably never guess that Bears defensive end Julius Peppers is the fourth highest-paid NFL player of all time, in terms of salary earned. Other current players could move up the list once their non-guaranteed salaries in future years get paid.
So while Manning doesn't have as many Super Bowls as Brady, and has lost 10 of 14 meetings against Brady, he is far ahead of his longtime rival in career salary. No wonder Brady had to marry supermodel Gisele Bundchen. He probably needed help with the bills.
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