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NFL stars are paid less than you might think

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So you envy the quarterback his money, huh?

You think it would be fine to be paid like the wide receiver? Or the defensive end? Maybe the cornerback?

Oh, those guys aren’t missing meals. But if you’re talking about the top paid athletes on the planet, there are other athletes worth envying. The point guard, maybe. Or the the outfielder. Or the goaltender.

As it turns out, the NFL is only the fifth highest scoring sports league on the planet, according to stats compiled by a website called Sports Intelligence.

According to the site, which ranked the 17 high-paying sports leagues, NBA players make the most money with an average salary of $4.5 million. The IPL, a cricket league in India, is second at $4.33 million.

After that comes major league baseball at 4.17, the EPL in the United Kingdom at $3.82 and the NHL at $2.62. Bendesliga, a soccer league in Germany, is next at $2.20. Only then, in seventh place, do you find the NFL at $2.11 million.

In 13th place is the MLS, which pays players 0.31 in average salary.

Individuals? According to Forbes, counting salary and endorsements, boxer Floyd Mayweather at $105 million led all athletes, followed by soccer star Christiano Renaldi ($80 million), the NBA’s LeBron James ($72.3 million) and soccer star Lionel Messi ($64.7 million). They were followed by the NBA’s Kobe Bryant ($61.5 million), golf’s Tiger Woods ($61.2 million) and tennis’ Roger Federer ($56.2 million). Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons was the top NFL earner in 10th place at $48.2 million.

A Tampa Bay athlete was not represented in the top 100. Counting salary only, Gerald McCoy leads the Bucs in total compensation. With salary and bonuses, he makes $14.5 million. The Rays are led by Evan Longoria, who makes $11.5 million. Steven Stamkos led the Lightning at $7.5 million. Jameis Winston, the Bucs’ No, 1 draft pick, recently signed a four-year contract worth $25,351.277, including a $16,697,292 signing bonus.


Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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