As one of the named plaintiffs in the players’ antitrust lawsuit against NFL owners, Peyton Manning may have a particular interest in how his pay stacks up to that of the top stars in other sports — and if he takes a look at the numbers, he’ll see that his pay is dwarfed by that of the top earners in some other sports.
ESPN has compiled a list of the highest-paid athletes in just about every sport, and Manning checks in as the top NFL earner, with $15.8 million. (That’s just his salary from the Colts; the ESPN list isn’t looking at endorsement income.)
A $15.8 million salary is an awful lot of money, but it doesn’t come close to what the top earners in several other sports make. Among the athletes who make more than Manning are baseball player Alex Rodriguez ($32 million), boxer Manny Pacquiao ($32 million), auto racer Kimi Raikkonen ($26.3 million), basketball player Kobe Bryant ($24.8 million) and soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo ($19.5 million).
If the NFL franchise tag disappeared, and Manning could get a taste of true unrestricted free agency, he might find himself rivaling the top earners in all of sports. That’s probably not going to happen, but for Manning, it would be the perfect ending to the lockout.