Forbes recently released its list of the highest-paid athletes in the world for 2020 and who knew Rodger Federer would take the lead at number one? Good for him.
Federer’s include $6.3 million in tournament winnings and $100 million in endorsement deals.
Soccer stars take over the next three slots starting with Cristiano Ronaldo ($105 million), then Lionel Messi ($104 million), and at No. 4 Neymar ($95.5 million).
Nike endorsed and NBA notable LeBron James ($88.2 million) rounds out the Top 5.
A total of 31 NFL players made the Forbe’s highest-paid list and four of them are on the Atlanta Falcons roster.
Let’s take a look at where they land and read some insight from Touchdown Wire’s Barry Werner on each player.
Richest Atlanta Falcons Players
Dante Fowler No. 81
Dante Fowler signed a three-year, $48 million contract as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons in March 2020. This marks his third NFL team as he has been with the Jaguars and Rams. His earnings in 2020 will be $24.2M.
Matt Ryan No. 47
Longtime Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan is riding a long-term contract that will see him earn $24M in salary this year. Add in another $5.5M in endorsements and Ryan is at $29.5M.
Grady Jarrett No. 37
Atlanta’s Grady Jarrett plays every play ferociously and the Falcons love having him in their nest. The defensive lineman weighs in at $33.1M, with almost all of it coming from his NFL contract.
Julio Jones No. 26
Atlanta’s star wideout Julio Jones was a great catch, and the Falcons are paying him as such. Jones will carry $37.5M from the team and another $3M in endorsements, putting him at $40.5M.
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Falcons Cap Space Situation
In order to create more cap space, Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn had to find a way around it and this time it meant letting talent walk.
The Falcons limited cap space this season forced them to let go of Desmond Trufant and Devonta Freeman. They also gave De’Vondre Campbell, Austin Hooper, and Vic Beasley a chance to find new homes in which they all did.
The team continued to invest in their best players such as Ryan, Julio, and Jarrett, and it’s hard to blame them for it. Dante Fowler was invested in due to a strong need for an effective edge and his successful NFL career.
Atlanta also reconstructed Ryan’s contract and a few other players to make some more room for free agency and rookie contracts this year.
The draft and free agency allowed the Falcons to sign on more affordable talent to replace their losses. Atlanta scored big time with tight end replacement Hayden Hurst and running back Todd Gurley at a reasonable cost.
Rookies Get Paid in June
Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant was released back in March but designated as a post-June 1 cut. This means the Falcons will be getting the $10.75 million back and divide amongst the rookies who haven’t been signed yet.
However, due to the top-51 rule (you count only the top 51 salaries for cap purposes), the team will only be spending $6.84 million against the cap leaving $7.02 million left for additional free agents and some “emergency” spending.
Falcons’ top three draft picks will make the top 51 list. First-round pick A.J. Terrell will have a cap number of roughly $2.6 million. The Falcons’ second-round pick Marlon Davidson will receive $1.2 million. And third-rounder Matt Hennessy will meet the cut-off and get paid $860,000.
Even after letting a couple of valuable assets walk, the Falcons have a very bright future with the new talent heading to Atlanta with Julio, Ryan, and Jarrett leading the way.