The Highest-Paid NFL Player is… Kirk Cousins?

Kirk Cousins during pregame at Lambeau Field

Getty Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander called back to his safety on Kirk Cousins in 2020 ahead of the team's season opener on September 11, 2022.

Forbes recently published its annual list of the world’s 100 highest-earning athletes from June 2019 to June 2020 and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was the highest-paid NFL athlete and ninth overall following his contract extension.

Cousins signed a two-year contract extension worth $66 million in March that included a $30 million signing bonus and a $500,000 workout bonus. Those bonuses added to the 32-year-old quarterback’s 2019 salary, total $60.5 million made over the past 12 months.

His cap hit in 2020 will be $62 million and is expected to drop to $41 million in 2021.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson currently has the highest yearly base contract earnings at $35 million, compared to Cousins’ $33 million under his new deal.

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Others on the List

Carson Wentz

GettyPhiladelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz followed Kirk Cousins on the Forbes 100 Highest-Paid Athletes list at No. 10.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz followed Cousins at No. 10, earning $59.1 million. Last June, Wentz signed a $128 million four-year contract. He received a $16.4 million signing bonus along with a $30 million option bonus in March.

Jared Goff (No. 15, $49 million ), Tom Brady (No. 21, $45 million) and Drew Brees (No. 22, $44.8 million) were next NFL athletes to crack the list. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones was the first non-quarterback at No. 26, earning $40.5 million. Falcons teammate and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was the highest-paid defensive player at $33.1 million.

Roger Federer took the No. 1 spot on the list for the first time with $106 million of pre-tax earnings, beating out soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo (No. 2, $105 million) and Lionel Messi (No. 3, $104 million) who’ve traded the top seat three of the past four years.

Lebron James was the highest-earning NBA player at No. 5, raking in $88.2 million. Tennis star Naomi Osaka ranked No. 29 as the highest-paid female athlete in the world ($37.4 million).

Salaries Cut Due to Coronavirus

Players from Guadalajara and Monterrey train prior to the Mexican Clausura soccer tournament at the Akron stadium in Guadalajara, Jalisco State, Mexico.

GettyPlayers from Guadalajara and Monterrey train prior to the Mexican Clausura soccer tournament at the Akron stadium in Guadalajara, Jalisco State, Mexico, on March 14, 2020. – The match is played without public as a preventive measure in the face of the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Ulises Ruiz / AFP) (Photo by ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Paydays for the world’s highest-paid athletes dropped for the first time in four years due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Forbes:

In cases where players continue to be paid beyond May for a regular season that is typically concluded by then, like the NBA and European soccer, we assign the full season of salary. With the delayed seasons due to the coronavirus, we reduced overall NBA salaries 25%, based on our estimate for the maximum salary cut; European soccer player had several months of their salaries slashed up to 70% depending on the club. We gave veteran MLB players only $286,500 for April and May, based on the agreement between owners and players.

This led to just one MLB player making the list, compared to 15 last year. Here’s a full spread of how many of each sports’ athletes landed on the list in the past two years.

READ NEXT: Kirk Cousins Looks to Take Hold of His Narrative in 2020

Follow Trevor Squire on Twitter: @trevordsquire

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