Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees on Forbes' highest-paid list


Quarterbacks Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers are the highest-paid players in the NFL, according to Forbes' latest list of "The World's Highest-Paid Athletes."

Brees has earned $51 million in combined salary, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees and licensing and endorsement income for the 12 months between June 1, 2012 and June 1, 2013. Rodgers comes in just behind Brees at $49 million after landing a $35 million signing bonus as part of the new contract he inked in April.

The NFL is responsible for the bulk of the turnover in this year's list, as the number of football players dropped from 30 to 13. Forbes attributes the discrepancy to the 2011 lockout, which pushed NFL earnings into their June to July timeframe the previous year. It should be noted that the latest collective bargaining agreement has been owner-friendly, depressing player salaries this offseason.

Somewhat surprisingly, Tom Brady (No. 11) and Peyton Manning (No. 19) are the only NFL players to appear on the list in each of the past two seasons.

Because of the way the NFL salary structure works, the players on the list are those who have landed long-term contracts within the past 12 months. For example, Tony Romo ($28.8 million) is the fifth-highest paid player. Calvin Johnson ($26.3 million), Ray Rice ($25.8 million) and Dwayne Bowe ($24.9 million) are the highest-paid non-quarterbacks in the NFL.

Who is No. 1 overall among all professional athletes? Tiger Woods reclaimed the throne after losing it to Floyd Mayweather last year for the first time since 2001.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.