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The 50 highest-earning American athletes

  • 41
    Torii Hunter

    Torii Hunter

    Los Angeles Angels (MLB)

    Last Year's Rank: 28 (tie)
    1. $18,000,000
    2. $500,000
    3. $18,500,000

    This is what Torii gets for being generous: During a rehab assignment in Triple-A, he took his teammates out to dinner and was rewarded with food poisoning.

  • 42
    Tyson Jackson

    Tyson Jackson

    Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)

    Last Year's Rank: NR
    1. $18,125,000
    2. $75,000
    3. $18,200,000

    The defensive end had no sacks and ranked 10th in tackles among Chiefs starters during his rookie campaign -- yet last year's No. 3 pick takes home $17 million in the second year of his deal.

  • 43
    Josh Beckett

    Josh Beckett

    Boston Red Sox (MLB)

    Last Year's Rank: NR
    1. $17,100,000
    2. $400,000
    3. $17,500,000

    The Boston ace is playing out the option year, but an extension inked in April netted him a $5 million bonus -- and means Sox have Beckett, Lackey and Jon Lester locked up through '14. The Red Sox need him to get healthy quickly.

  • 44
    Jimmie Johnson

    Jimmie Johnson

    Auto Racing

    Last Year's Rank: NR
    1. $7,339,630
    2. $10,000,000
    3. $17,339,630

    Four-time defending Sprint Cup champ has done a lot of something Jr. and Gordon haven't lately: win. But some worry he's too laid back to reach the popularity of NASCAR's power duo.

  • 45
    Michael Redd

    Michael Redd

    Milwaukee Bucks (NBA)

    Last Year's Rank: 42
    1. $17,040,000
    2. $250,000
    3. $17,290,000

    Redd exercised an option to return to Milwaukee for $18.3 million, but the team isn't sure he'll ever be fully recovered from recurring ACL and MCL tears. Is he a tradeable asset?

  • 46
    Rashard Lewis

    Rashard Lewis

    Orlando Magic (NBA)

    Last Year's Rank: 30
    1. $16,410,791
    2. $750,000
    3. $17,160,791

    The Orlando power forward would be higher on the list -- but his 10-game suspension at the beginning of the season for an elevated testosterone level cost him $1.6 million of his $18 million salary.

  • 47
    David Ortiz

    David Ortiz

    Boston Red Sox (MLB)

    Last Year's Rank: 34 (tie)
    1. $12,500,000
    2. $4,500,000
    3. $17,000,000

    As if an early slump wasn't enough, Jay-Z is suing Big Papi for $5 million for naming his Santo Domingo nightclub "40/40," the same name as the rapper's hot spots in New York, Atlantic City and Vegas. Papi picked it up and won the Home Run Derby.

  • 48
    Mark Sanchez

    Mark Sanchez

    New York Jets (NFL)

    Last Year's Rank: NR
    1. $16,462,280
    2. $500,000
    3. $16,962,280

    Sanchez's agent held off on big endorsements so the quarterback could focus during his rookie season. But visibility, success and bilingual marketing potential could boost his earning power to eight figures.

  • 49
    DeMarcus Ware

    DeMarcus Ware

    Dallas Cowboys (NFL)

    Last Year's Rank: NR
    1. $16,000,000
    2. $800,000
    3. $16,800,000

    The four-time Pro Bowl linebacker wanted to be paid like a quarterback. His new deal isn't quite Manning-esque, but he does get $40 million guaranteed -- including $14 million of his signing bonus paid in March.

  • 50
    A.J. Burnett

    A.J. Burnett

    New York Yankees (MLB)

    Last Year's Rank: 37 (tie)
    1. $16,500,000
    2. $275,000
    3. $16,775,000

    The Yanks' top four starting pitchers -- Burnett, Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez -- are earning a combined $63 million this year. That's nearly twice the Pittsburgh Pirates' entire payroll. Burnett better start performing; he was 7-7 with a 4.75 ERA in the first half.

Sources: Salaries, winnings and bonus figures from players' associations, tour records, agents and news reports. Endorsement estimates from Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing, other sports-marketing executives and analysts, and agents. Salaries based on current or most recently completed seasons (exception: 2010 for NFL). For winnings-based sports (golf, auto racing, tennis), 2009 calendar year amounts used. Boxing purses are from July '09 to June 2010.

 
 
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