Richest Athletes in Team Sports History
Seven. Point. Seven. Billion. Dollars. That's $7.7 billion with a "B." No, that’s not the projected salary for LeBron James’ son in 2029-30. That amount is how much the 30 highest-earning athletes of all time have combined to make.
That money only takes into account what these athletes earned on the field from their teams and doesn’t count endorsement money, which could be greater than the salary earned for many of these athletes.
These 30 athletes are split evenly among the MLB and NBA as each league has 12 players on the list. The other six come from the NFL with two of those six sharing the same last name. We would have included NHL players, but their highest earner, Sidney Crosby, is roughly $95 million behind No. 30.
Of interest to some, 16 of these 30 athletes never attended college. So there’s more than one path to becoming a millionaire many times over.
Here are the 30 highest earners in American team sports history.
Note: Career earnings are through Nov. 30, 2019.
30. Matt Ryan — $223,457,925
Career: 12 seasons (2008-present)
Teams: Atlanta Falcons
Stats: 50,279 YDS, 317 TD, 94.7 RAT
Bottom line: In terms of active contracts, Matt Ryan is the highest-paid player in the NFL. He is due $150 million from 2018 to 2023 with exactly $100 million of that being guaranteed money. Whether or not you believe the 2016 MVP is worth that money is up for debate.
Ryan is great at times but has been inconsistent throughout his career. He seems to be one of those guys who perform great every other year. His four highest passer ratings were in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. Those odd years in between, including 2019, his passer rating dipped only for it to go back up in the following year.
But his contract came up at the right time, which enabled him to get that title of league’s highest-paid player.
29. Ben Roethlisberger — $232,286,864
Career: 16 seasons (2004-present)
Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers
Stats: 56,545 YDS, 363 TD, 94.0 RAT
Bottom line: If we took into account net earnings instead of career earnings for this list, then "Big Ben' would pull up the rear instead of landing in the penultimate spot.
That’s because his four-game suspension in 2010 docked him nearly $2 million in salary, and that’s the difference between No. 29 and No. 30.
Roethlisberger missed nearly all of the 2019 season, but with the struggles of the Steelers’ backups, he’s certain to return to the team in 2020 and add another $21 million to his career earnings.
28. Adrian Beltre — $220,080,500
Career: 21 seasons (1998-2018)
Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-2004), Seattle Mariners (2005-09), Boston Red Sox (2010), Texas Rangers (2011-18)
Stats: 477 HR, 3,166 H, .286/.339/.480
Bottom line: Adrian Beltre made his MLB debut at 19 but still turned out to be a late bloomer.
He hit .270 through the age of 30 and appeared to be burned out. Then something magical happened in his lone season in Boston, and Beltre hit .307 from the ages of 31 to 39.
He reached 3,000 career hits with the Rangers and is the all-time leader in hits for a foreign-born player, passing Ichiro.
Add in nearly 500 home runs and five Gold Gloves, and you have yourself a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
27. Felix Hernandez — $221,334,994
Career: 15 seasons (2005-present)
Teams: Seattle Mariners
Stats: 169-132, 3.38 ERA, 2,501 K
Bottom line: Many of the nine-figure, multi-year contracts handed out to Major League Baseball players on this list should serve as cautionary tales. That's the case with Felix Hernandez.
"King Felix' was at the top of his game when he signed the deal in 2013, but he’s fallen off a cliff since then. From 2017 to 2019, which are the last years of the deal, Hernandez went 15-27 with an ERA north of five. He actually performed even worse than a replacement-level player over that span and was even banished to the bullpen for the first time in his career.
But what did Hernandez make during the worst years of his pro career?
$81,572,000. Guess that’s why they call him King Felix.
26. Pau Gasol — $223,091,835
Career: 19 seasons (2001-19)
Teams: Memphis Grizzlies (2001-07), Los Angeles Lakers (2007-14), Chicago Bulls (2014-15), San Antonio Spurs (2016-19), Milwaukee Bucks (2019)
Stats: 17.0 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.6 BPG
Bottom line: Pau Gasol did something that very few other athletes can say they did: He got a pay raise at the age of 36.
After making $7.4 million in the 2015-16 season, Gasol hit the open market and was rewarded with a contract with the Spurs that paid him twice as much the following season.
He didn’t see the end of that deal in San Antonio as he was bought out during the 2018-19 season and linked up with Milwaukee. He then signed with the Trail Blazers before also being waived by them.
However, both his deals with San Antonio and Portland contained guarantees so Gasol, who is currently unemployed, is still getting paid by both teams.
25. Joe Mauer — $223,275,000
Career: 15 seasons (2004-18)
Teams: Minnesota Twins
Stats: 143 HR, 2,123 H, .306/.388/.439
Bottom line: Joe Mauer finished his arbitration years at the perfect time. When it came to a contract extension, he had all of the leverage in the world. He won the 2009 AL MVP and then agreed to an eight-year deal the following spring that ran from 2011 to 2018.
Little did the Twins know that they had already seen the best of the Minnesota-born-and-raised Mauer who had to move to first base due to an accumulation of injuries.
Mauer hit .327 in the seven seasons before that contract and hit .290 during the eight years of the contract.
24. Kevin Durant — $225,382,333
Career: 12 seasons (2007-present)
Teams: Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder (2007-16), Golden State Warriors (2016-19), Brooklyn Nets (2019-present)
Stats: 27.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.1 APG
Bottom line: Kevin Durant’s earnings include the first year of his Brooklyn Nets contract. He’s getting paid $37 million to rehab his torn Achilles. But he can actually earn an extra million in the 2019-20 season without even playing a game since he has an incentive package in his deal.
He can reach the $1 million bonus by hitting any of these four milestones:
- His team making the playoffs
- His team winning at least 43 games
- Playing 50 games
- Making an All-Star team
The individual milestones won’t be happening, but team achievements can trigger Durant’s bonus.
23. Justin Verlander — $229,366,000
Career: 15 seasons (2005-present)
Teams: Detroit Tigers (2005-17), Houston Astros (2017-present)
Stats: 219-127, 3.35 ERA, 2,912 K
Bottom line: Whenever there's a trade while a player is in the middle of a contract, who foots the player’s remaining salary always needs to be settled. It isn’t automatically the new team that the player is headed to that covers the rest of the contract, and Verlander with the Astros is an example of that.
Verlander was traded from Detroit to Houston in 2017 and on a contract that runs through 2019. Not only did the Astros get another ace to help them win the 2017 World Series, but they also got Detroit to cover nearly 30 percent of the remaining salary. Thus, the Tigers paid $16 million of the remaining $56 million on Verlander’s deal.
The minor league players that Detroit got back from Houston in the deal better all become All-Stars, or this will end up one of the most lopsided trades in major league history.
22. Manny Ramirez — $229,371,313
Career: 19 seasons (1993-2011)
Teams: Cleveland Indians (1993-2000), Boston Red Sox (2001-08), Los Angeles Dodgers (2008-10), Chicago White Sox (2010), Tampa Bay Rays (2011)
Stats: 555 HR, 2,574 H, .312/.411/.585
Bottom line: Manny Ramirez is the only baseball player on this list who didn’t play within the last five years, which makes you wonder how much he would have made if he came around 10 years later.
Speaking of 10 years later, that’s nearly how much longer Ramirez will receive deferred payments from the deal he signed with the Red Sox in 2001. He last played in 2011, but has received at least $1.9 million in deferred money every year since then. The payments will run through the 2026 season in which Ramirez will get a little over $2 million.
So don’t expect to see Ramirez’s name pop up on any of those "Athletes Who Went Broke" lists anytime soon.
21. Tom Brady — $235,166,804
Career: 20 seasons (2000-present)
Teams: New England Patriots
Stats: 70,514 YDS, 517 TD, 97.6 RAT
Bottom line: There were 22 different NFL players who made at least $20 million in the 2018 season, but Tom Brady wasn’t one of them and never has been one of them.
Brady never made $20 million during any season of his first 19 NFL seasons. He often took less than market value for the good of the team. It certainly helps when your spouse has a net worth of $400 million. Gisele lists herself as the head of household when filing taxes.
But Brady’s willingness to accept a moderate salary is one of the reasons why he has a good relationship with Patriots ownership.
20. Chris Bosh — $239,063,622
Career: 13 seasons (2003-16)
Teams: Toronto Raptors (2003-10), Miami Heat (2010-16)
Stats: 19.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.0 APG
Bottom line: Because of Chris Bosh’s career-ending illness due to blood clot complications, his contract and the Miami Heat’s responsibility yielded a unique situation.
Should Bosh be entitled to the money due to a situation out of his control, and should the Heat have to tie up its cap space for a player unable to play?
In the end, it worked out as a win-win for both Bosh and Miami. He received the full amount of his money due (which was $52 million), and the Heat were allowed to clear that money off their books.
So Bosh got paid by Miami, but the money just wasn’t counted toward the salary cap.
19. Dwight Howard — $240,096,336
Career: 15 seasons (2004-present)
Teams: Orlando Magic (2004-12), Los Angeles Lakers (2012-13, 2019-present), Houston Rockets (2013-16), Atlanta Hawks (2016-17), Charlotte Hornets (2017-18), Washington Wizards (2018-19)
Stats: 17.1 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 2.0 BPG
Bottom line: The list of teams for Dwight Howard doesn’t do him justice. That’s just the teams he played for and not all of the teams he was paid by.
It doesn’t include the teams that bought him out without him playing for them such as the Brooklyn Nets (2018) and Memphis Grizzlies (2019).
But props to Howard for settling for a minimum contract worth $2.5 million for the 2019-20 season.
That is roughly 10 percent of the nearly $25 million he made the previous season.
18. Zack Greinke — $241,177,499
Career: 16 seasons (2004-present)
Teams: Kansas City Royals (2004-10), Milwaukee Brewers (2011-12), Los Angeles Angels (2012), Los Angeles Dodgers (2013-15), Arizona Diamondbacks (2016-19), Houston Astros (2019-present)
Stats: 205-123, 3.35 ERA, 2,622 K
Bottom line: For someone who has put together a Hall of Fame résumé, Zack Greinke has flown under the radar despite his accomplishments.
He’s won a Cy Young, Silver Sluggers, Gold Gloves and has led both leagues in ERA over his career. But since he lacks postseason success, most people associate Greinke with becoming MLB’s highest-paid player when he joined the Diamondbacks in 2016.
It’s not quite Bobby Bonilla-level ridiculousness, but Greinke’s current contract includes deferred compensation that will pay him five years after his contract ends. His deal runs through 2021, but he will then receive $12.5 million every Nov. 1 from 2022 to 2026.
Additionally, and this isn’t included in his total compensation, but Greinke gets four premium season tickets and a suite on the road from whichever team he pitches for.
17. Tim Duncan — $242,024,800
Career: 19 seasons (1997-2016)
Teams: San Antonio Spurs
Stats: 19.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 2.2 BPG
Bottom line: To show you how much Tim Duncan meant to the San Antonio Spurs, the organization did something that has rarely been seen in pro sports. When Duncan retired in 2016, the Spurs promptly waived him, but that wasn’t to wipe him from their salary books. The procedure was so they could still pay him in retirement.
Duncan had opted into the final year of his contract before retiring, so normally the Spurs wouldn’t be on the hook for that money since he was hanging them up. But waiving him allowed the Spurs to still pay Duncan whatever money he was going to make had he returned.
The money was stretched out over three seasons so Duncan was still getting an annual salary from the Spurs through the 2018-19 season even though he had been retired for three years.
That’s the ultimate thank you to the franchise’s greatest player.
16. Drew Brees — $244,710,422
Career: 19 seasons (2001-present)
Teams: San Diego Chargers (2001-05), New Orleans Saints (2006-present)
Stats: 74,437 YDS, 520 TD, 97.7 RAT
Bottom line: Drew Brees wasn’t a first-round draft pick way, way back in the day, so he didn’t get a huge rookie contract and made just $400,000 in 2002.
Contrast that with his highest annual salary, which was $40 million in 2012 or 100 times as much as he made 10 years earlier. In 2012, Brees surpassed his 2002 salary by the five-minute mark of the first quarter of Week 1.
An interesting note about Brees’ earnings is that he’s received one incentive in his entire career. That came in 2012. It’s unknown what statistical milestone or accolade he received to achieve the incentive, but it was worth $5,422, which equates to .00244 percent of his career earnings.
15. Peyton Manning — $248,732,000
Career: 17 seasons (1998-2015)
Teams: Indianapolis Colts (1998-2011), Denver Broncos (2012-15)
Stats: 71,940 YDS, 539 TD, 96.5 RAT
Bottom line: In 1981, Archie Manning was the highest-paid player in the NFL at $600,000. His two NFL sons have done slightly better, making a combined $500 million in NFL earnings to go along with countless other millions from hilarious commercials.
If you remember Peyton Manning’s second-to-last season in the NFL, the wheels started falling off, and his struggles continued into his final season. But since Manning struggled so much in his penultimate season, the Broncos restructured his contract for his final season, and Manning had to accept a $4 million pay cut.
However, Manning and his agent smartly converted that $4 million into incentives, and wouldn’t you know, but Manning reached those incentives. They were $2 million for winning the AFC championship game, which Denver did against the Patriots, and then another $2 million for winning Super Bowl 50, which Denver did over Carolina.
14. Carlos Beltran — $248,874,995
Career: 20 seasons (1998-2017)
Teams: Kansas City Royals (1998-2004), Houston Astros (2004, 2017), New York Mets (2005-11), San Francisco Giants (2011), St. Louis Cardinals (2012-13), New York Yankees (2014-16), Texas Rangers (2016)
Stats: 435 HR, 2,725 H, .279/.350/.486
Bottom line: MLB contracts often include bonuses for obtaining certain accolades like All-Star teams, Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers. Carlos Beltran’s included bonuses for all three and he made $100,000 for each of those achievements while with the Mets and $50,000 for each of those while with the Cardinals. That enabled Beltran to collect an extra $1.1 million during his career while playing with those teams.
But another example of how the New York Yankees operate totally different than every other organization, they didn’t include those incentives in Beltran’s contract with the team. So when he made the All-Star Game in pinstripes in 2016, he received no such bonus.
13. Carmelo Anthony — $248,940,171
Career: 17 seasons (2003-present)
Teams: Denver Nuggets (2003-11), New York Knicks (2011-17), Oklahoma City Thunder (2017-18), Houston Rockets (2018-19), Portland Trail Blazers (2019-present)
Stats: 23.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.0 APG
Bottom line: The first draft of this article had 2003-19 as Anthony’s playing career, but the Blazers have resuscitated him after it appeared his career was over. A quarter of a billion dollars is nice, but Anthony likely would give some of that money back in exchange for a championship ring.
His current quest for a ring wouldn’t be necessary if Anthony had been the third part of the Miami Heat’s Big 3 from 2010 to 2014. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade originally wanted him as part of the group instead of Chris Bosh, but Anthony decided to sign an extension with the Nuggets the year before 'The Decision."
Had he taken less money and joined Miami, Anthony wouldn’t be as close to a quarter-billion dollars in earnings, but he also would likely have a ring or two.
12. Dirk Nowitzki — $251,646,362
Career: 21 seasons (1998-2019)
Teams: Dallas Mavericks
Stats: 20.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.4 APG
Bottom line: Many consider Dirk Nowitzki to be the greatest foreign player in NBA history, and he is most definitely the highest-paid foreigner in league history.
Nowitzki could have been even higher up this list, but he sacrificed tremendously toward the end of his career and took less to benefit the team. Here are his salaries over the last five years of his career:
2014-15: $8.0 million
2015-16: $8.3 million
2016-17: $25 million
2017-18: $5 million
2018-19: $5 million
That one outlier season came after the DeAndre Jordan contract reneging, which left oodles of cap space, and Mark Cuban lavished that on his franchise player. Seeing how the Mavs weren’t that competitive and won just two playoff games over that span, maybe Nowitzki should ask Cuban for some of that money back.
11. Eli Manning — $252,280,004
Career: 16 seasons (2004-present)
Teams: New York Giants (2004-present)
Stats: 56,740 YDS, 364 TD, 84.1 RAT
Bottom line: Here’s a little bit of a spoiler: There are no more NFL players on this list, which means, yes, "Eazy" Eli Manning has been paid more to play football than anyone ever.
2019 marks the 10th straight season that Manning has a $500,000 workout bonus in his contract. That means all he had to do was attend 90 percent of the team’s offseason activities between April and June to receive the money.
These include weightlifting sessions, meetings and OTAs, so Manning will have earned a total of $5 million in workout bonuses for essentially just showing up to his job. Not a bad gig if you can get it.
10. Chris Paul — $260,957,260
Career: 15 seasons (2005-present)
Teams: New Orleans Hornets (2005-11), LA Clippers (2011-17), Houston Rockets (2017-19), Oklahoma City Thunder (2019-present)
Stats: 18.5 PPG, 9.7 APG, 2.2 SPG
Bottom line: We’ve got to tip our hats to Chris Paul who, as president of the NBPA, worked a rule into the latest CBA which benefits all players, but most importantly himself.
The old CBA had a rule called the "Over-36 Rule," which forbid teams from signing players to four-year contracts if they turned 36 during any point during the deal. That rule was replaced by the "Over-38 Rule' in the latest CBA because, wouldn’t you know, Paul would have turned 36 if offered a four-year contract at the time.
Because of the age being bumped up two years, Paul was then able to be offered a max, four-year contract from the Rockets in 2018. The deal runs through the 2021-22 season, and Paul will turn 36 a couple of months before that season begins in which he’ll earn a staggering $44 million.
9. C.C. Sabathia — $264,785,714
Career: 19 seasons (2001-present)
Teams: Cleveland Indians (2001-08), Milwaukee Brewers (2008), New York Yankees (2009-present)
Stats: 251-159, 3.73 ERA, 3,068 K
Bottom line: C.C. Sabathia has made nearly $265 million in his career, but it’s $500,000 that really stands out. In his last start of the 2018 season, Sabathia needed to pitch seven innings to reach 155 IP on the season, which would have triggered a $500,000 bonus.
He had thrown five scoreless innings against the Rays in that start, but he then threw at a batter as retaliation for the Rays doing the same to a Yankees batter. The umpire then promptly ejected Sabathia just two innings shy of $500K.
However, to prove that the Yankees aren’t as cold and callous as they are made out to be, the organization elected to give Sabathia the bonus anyway for sticking up for a teammate.
8. Derek Jeter – $266,230,000
Career: 20 seasons (1995-20014)
Teams: New York Yankees (1995-2014)
Stats: 260 HR, 3,465 H, .310/.377/.440
Bottom line: Teams sometimes release details of a contract to make it look like they are offering a player more than the actual value as a way for good PR. That was the case for Derek Jeter’s last season. His contract was worth up to $19 million but included $7 million in unlikely-to-reach incentives.
Jeter was 40 years old, coming off a season in which he .190 and was on the disabled list four different times. Yet the Yankees included these unlikely incentives such as Jeter winning the AL MVP ($4 million), a Silver Slugger ($1.5 million), a Gold Glove ($500,000), the ALCS MVP ($500,00) and the World Series MVP ($500,000).
None of those were attained by Jeter, so in reality, his final season contract was worth $12 million total.
7. Miguel Cabrera — $279,912,000
Career: 17 seasons (2003-present)
Teams: Florida Marlins (2003-07), Detroit Tigers (2008-present)
Stats: 472 HR, 2,780 H, .315/.393/.545
Bottom line: As soon as Albert Pujols’ contract is up, Cabrera’s may take the mantle as the worst in all of baseball.
When he signed his $240 million extension in 2014, he was coming off back-to-back MVP awards. But in recent years, Cabrera’s body has broken down, and he’s now a full-time designated hitter due to a chronic knee condition. With guaranteed contracts in MLB, Cabrera will make another $124 million through the 2023 season, which will boost his earnings over $400 million.
But wait, there’s more. Cabrera also has two vesting options in his current contract for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. They are worth $30 million each and will vest if he finishes in the top 10 in MVP voting the year prior.
So Cabrera’s eight-year, $240 million extension could end up being a 10-year, $300 million contract.
6. Shaquille O'Neal — $286,344,668
Career: 19 seasons (1992-2011)
Teams: Orlando Magic (1992-96), Los Angeles Lakers (1996-2004), Miami Heat (2004-08), Phoenix Suns (2008-09), Cleveland Cavaliers (2009-10), Boston Celtics (2010-11)
Stats: 23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 2.3 BPG
Bottom line: When Shaq signed his seven-year, $120 million contract with the Lakers in 1996, it was the largest contract in team sports history.
While the Lakers got the best years of Shaq’s career, the Miami Heat paid him his highest salary as O’Neal made nearly $28 million during the 2004-05 season.
Shaq didn't become a free agent again until just before his final seasons in the league. In 2010, he accepted a minimum contract from the Celtics, who elected to pay Jermaine O’Neal the mid-level exception of $5.7 million while Shaquille O’Neal had to settle for $1.3 million.
5. Albert Pujols — $298,470,000
Career: 19 seasons (2001-present)
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals (2001-11), Los Angeles Angels (2012-present)
Stats: 650 HR, 3,164 H, .300/.380/.551
Bottom line: For as great as Albert Pujols was as a Cardinal, his Angels contract has turned out to be one of the worst in sports history.
Most players have a gradual decline, but Pujols appeared to fall off a cliff when he headed west. After hitting .328 during his 11 years in St. Louis, Pujols has never even hit about .285 in any season with the Angels.
Age and injury have all but robbed him of his ability to play in the field, and no designated hitter is worth $28 million per year, which is what Pujols pockets in 2019
But things get worse from there. The team still owes him $59 million over the next two seasons. Once Pujols retires, then a 10-year "personal services" contract will kick in with the Angels that will pay Pujols a total of $10 million for things like autograph signings and throwing out the first pitch.
4. LeBron James — $306,984,009
Career: 17 seasons (2003-present)
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers (2003-10, 2014-18), Miami Heat (2010-14), Los Angeles Lakers (2018-present)
Stats: 27.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 7.2 APG
Bottom line: With the two NBA players above him on this list retired, LeBron James is poised to become the greatest earner in NBA history. If he plays out the length of his Lakers deal, James will have earned about $424 million on the court — and he would still be underpaid.
According to an article by Darren Rovell in 2014, back then, James was worth roughly $53 million per season based on the value he brought the Miami Heat at the time. Yet his annual salary won’t even reach $40 million until the 2021-22 season thanks to the NBA’s salary cap.
Fans may think that NBA players are overpaid, but superstars like James are underpaid based on what they generate in terms of ticket sales, sponsorships, TV contracts and more.
3. Kobe Bryant — $323,312,307
Career: 20 seasons (1996-2016)
Teams: Los Angeles Lakers
Stats: 25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.1 APG
Bottom line: Players are usually given huge contracts for their future performance, but Kobe Bryant was lavished a big deal based on his past production and name value.
In 2013, Bryant was 35 years old and coming off arguably the worst injury in sports, a torn Achilles’ tendon. Even with that, the Lakers gave him a two-year, $48 million extension that paid a 37-year-old Bryant $25 million in his final season.
The contract actually amounted to a pay cut for Bryant since his salary increased every year from 1996-97 ($1 million) to 2013-14 ($30 million).
2. Kevin Garnett — $334,304,240
Career: 21 seasons (1995-2016)
Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves (1995-2007, 2015-16), Boston Celtics (2007-13), Brooklyn Nets (2013-15)
Stats: 17.8 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 3.7 APG
Bottom line: NBA contracts worth $100 million were a new thing in the mid-to-late-1990s, and then Kevin Garnett reset the market by signing a seven-year, $126 million deal in 1997. That deal kept the small-market Timberwolves from being able to attract other big-name players, and some people believe that deal led to the NBA lockout during the 1998-99 season.
Many may be surprised that Garnett is the highest-earning NBA player of all time, but he had a couple of factors in his favor. One was coming along at the right time since contracts exploded in the late 1990s.
And the other is his longevity. He skipped college, so he was a teenager when he joined the league and played until he was 39 years old.
1. Alex Rodriguez — $450,159,552
Career: 22 seasons (1994-2013, 2015-16)
Teams: Seattle Mariners (1994-2000), Texas Rangers (2001-03), New York Yankees (2006-13, 2015-16)
Stats: 696 HRs, 3,115 H, .295/.380/.550
Bottom line: The only athlete to sign two contracts s in excess of $250 million, Alex Rodriguez made at least $22 million a season a staggering 16 times. All of those seasons came with either the Rangers or Yankees as A-Rod made just over $12 million, total, during his seven years in Seattle.
Rodriguez’s career earnings could have been even higher had he not been suspended during the 2014 season. That cost him roughly $22 million in salary.
No one did a better job of exploiting the lack of a salary cap in MLB than Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez.