Where Do Top Boston Athletes Fall on Forbes' 100 Highest-Paid Athletes in 2020?

Jordan Cohn
June 02, 2020 - 12:08 pm

Forbes’ annual list of the highest-paid athletes within a respective year, from June 1 to June 1, is always interesting. It’s fun to see who’s overpaid relative to the talent around them, which notable names are left off the list, which perennial appearances fall off, and which newcomers arrive.

This year’s list is particularly interesting though, and it’s not hard to imagine why.

The sports world has been in a state of disarray ever since the coronavirus pandemic took its toll on the industry as a whole, and player contracts and salaries were thrust to the forefront of the conversation. In fact, the very title of the 2020 highest-paid athletes list on Forbes serves as a reminder: “Coronavirus Cuts Paydays For The Sporting Elite” sets a precedent for what numerical figures you’re about to see.

In the methodology section, Kurt Badenhausen and the rest of the excellent Forbes staff note that prize money, salaries and bonuses are all a part of the rankings, as usual, but that other measures are taken into account. For instance, overall NBA salaries were reduced by 25% to account for the delayed season, and European soccer players are few and far between on the list due to the massive salary cuts.

Because the NFL season occurred in full, those salaries are all present, and this serves as part of the reason why there are 31 NFL players on this year’s list as opposed to 19 on last year’s. The other big reason? MLB Players may not get paid at all for April and May 2020 if there is no season, meaning that their full salaries are not represented in the rankings. Only one player made the list this year in comparison to 15 last season.

Some of the rankings may seem odd, but the timing makes it so. Kyler Murray, for example, received a larger signing bonus than Quinnen Williams. Murray does not appear on the list, but Williams does. That's because Murray signed his contract before June 2019, the cutoff for this list, thus nullifying his eligibility.

Where do your favorite superstars rank? Which cities boast the highest-paid athletes of 2020? Which fan bases cringe at the thought of certain athletes making so much cash?

Let’s take a look.

All numbers retrieved from Forbes. Athletes will be ranked according to their current team, even if the money came from another city over the past year. Not all athletes on list shown. Total in parentheses is the sum of top-100 athletes’ earnings.

Ronaldo and Messi have long been the faces of international soccer. Photo credit (Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)
Woods and Mickelson are two of the top golfers in the world, as well as two of the highest-paid American athletes. Photo credit (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Brady's salary is coming from a different source in 2020 after the QB joined the Buccaneers. Photo credit (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Las Vegas is excited for professional football to be a bigger part of their culture. Photo credit (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The Bengals defense is revamped for the 2020 season and beyond. Photo credit (Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
The Cavaliers pay their big men handsomely in hopes that the franchise can rebound from a bad season. Photo credit (David Richard/USA Today)
John Wall's return to the floor could be what the Wizards need to bounce back. Photo credit (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gordon Hayward's time in Boston may be up, but the Celtics have a core of talented players who warrant large salaries. Photo credit (Kim Klement/USA Today)
The Blazers backcourt leads the team in on-court production and off-court earnings. Photo credit (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Cam Newton's time in Carolina is up, but the offense largely depends on Christian McCaffrey's amazing talent. Photo credit (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The offensive corps of Dallas is an expensive group to retain. Photo credit (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
$9 million of Aaron Rodgers' earnings over the past year have come from his many endorsements. Photo credit (Harry How/Getty Images)
The duo of Harden and Westbrook are both extremely marketable names and productive players on the floor. Photo credit (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today)
Kirk Cousins was the NFL's highest-paid player over the past year. Photo credit (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Nets fans are desperately awaiting the time when these two stars appear together on the court. Photo credit (Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson's presence as a star rookie manifested itself in several lucrative endorsement deals. Photo credit (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have been fueling the Falcons offense for years. Photo credit (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
The 76ers core group of talent is an extremely expensive group. Photo credit (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
The Splash Bros make it rain on and off the court. Photo credit (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard should fight in many NBA battles for Los Angeles. Photo credit (Harry How/Getty Images)

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