Former Fortunate 50 Athletes
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd "Pretty Boy" Mayweather, Jr. earned $60.25 million in 2010, enough to rank him third on last year's list. Mayweather, who has not fought since last May, plans to fight Victor Ortiz in September. Boxing fans, of course, are hoping he faces Manny Pacquiao in 2012.
Shaquille O'Neal's $1.35 million contract with the Celtics this year was a big step down from the $20 million deal he had with the Cavaliers the previous season. It turned out to be his final contract, as O'Neal announced his retirement in early June.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford was 11th on last year's rankings after receiving $26.5 million in guaranteed bonuses for being drafted first overall in the 2009 NFL draft. Stafford is signed to a six-year contract that could be worth up to $78 million.
Philip Rivers' six-year contract extension in 2009 earned him a $13 million signing bonus, but without the same bump in pay this year, Rivers fell out of the Fortunate 50.
Terrell Suggs may have just had the best season of his career, but not only will he not receive a $23 million option bonus, but also he may miss game checks if the owners' lockout isn't resolved.
The troublesome Redskins defender checked in at 20 on last year's list with $24,750,000 in total earnings. Still the highest paid player on his team, Haynesworth saw his income drop to $5,400,000.
Favre earned $24 million in 2009-10, good for No. 21 on the Fortunate 50 list. In his final season with Minnesota, he had a $13 million contract but the potential to earn up to $28 million with performance-based bonuses. None of these bonuses kicked in as the Vikings skidded through an awful season.
O'Neal was the second-highest paid player in the NBA two seasons ago, raking in $23,266,000 in total earnings. Nowhere near the player he was when he received that contract, the lanky forward signed a two-year deal with the Celtics last summer for just over $12 million combined.
The injury-prone shooting guard made $22,733,124 in the 2009-10 season, finishing the last year of his seven-year, $93 million deal. Because of McGrady's health, the Pistons were the only team willing to give him a shot last year, signing him to a one-year, $1.35 million contract.
The Red Sox pitcher checked in on last year's list at 26 after raking in $21,700,000. Lackey's five-year, $82.5 million contract was structured so he would receive $18 million in 2009-10, plus a $3.5 million signing bonus. Lackey made $15,950,000 this past year, giving him one of the highest salaries in baseball, but not enough to get him into the Fortunate 50.
The Oakland Raiders' wide receiver could have stayed on the list had he been effective in the 2010 season. Heyward-Bey averaged less than two receptions per game for 366 receiving yards and only one touchdown.
The No. 2 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft decided he'd hold off on his signing bonus and take a big chunk of change after his second year in the league. Let's hope he saved that $20.2 million from last year well.
Peppers was due a $10.5 million signing bonus this year, but that was before the lockout. The Bears restructured his contract so the bonus will prorate over the course of the contract, which runs out in 2015.
Last year Allen and the Celtics were in the NBA Finals. This year, they didn't even make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Those incentives go a long way, especially after signing a two-year contract extension last year.
Wilfork is still swimming in Benjamins after signing a five-year, $40 million deal last year. But that $18 million signing bonus the Patriots dotted on their nose tackle came and went last season.
Last year, the 'Skins promised Hall an equal payout to the 16.5 million he lost after being cut from the Oakland Raiders. This year his salary returns to normal, $9.2 million. The pay shift comes at an unfortunate time for Hall, whose property in Cape Charles, Va., could be auctioned off due to delinquent taxes.
It appears Jackson's $57 million contract with the Chiefs over five years ($31 million of which is guaranteed) did not pay out as much this year compared to last year's whopping $17 million handout.
In 2009 a New York Times report claimed Ortiz tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. Since then his endorsements have declined, ultimately leading to him missing this year's list.
Last year DeMarcus Ware barely made the list with a $14 million signing bonus.