Titans Help Put Two on Forbes List of Top-Paid Athletes

David Boclair

It is clear that the Tennessee Titans are willing to pay for a quarterback.

It remains to be seen whether they will experience the payoff they desire.

Current and former starters Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota, respectively, made the Forbes list of the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes for 2020, which was recently released.

The ranking is based on all prize money, salary and bonuses between June 1, 2019 and June 1, 2020. It also takes into account income from sponsorship deals.

Tannehill and Mariota each got a big payday from the Titans in the past 12 months, which placed them among the 31 football players who made the list (19 more than in 2019). Only basketball, with 35, was better represented.

Tannehill is at No 70 with $25.5 million in earnings. The bulk of that is from the four-year, $118 million contract extension he signed, which included a $20 million signing bonus. Beyond that was the $2 million he was paid from the Titans and Miami Dolphins last season, $3 million in performance bonuses and $300,000 in endorsements.

Mariota is at No. 83 with $23.9 million. Nearly all of that comes from the $20.922 million he earned last season with Tennessee, the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. The rest comes from endorsement deals, which include Nissan’s “Heisman House” campaign, Nike, Beats and multiple businesses in his native Hawaii.

Tannehill replaced Mariota as the Titans’ starting quarterback last October, which convinced franchise management to allow the latter to become a free agent this offseason. He quickly signed with the Las Vegas Raiders as the presumed backup to Derek Carr, who is No. 99 on the Forbes list ($22 million).

Tennessee gave Tannehill a deal that averages $29.5 million per season and includes $62 million in guarantees. The only quarterbacks who came in ahead of him on the list were Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins (No. 9), Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz (No. 10), L.A. Rams’ Jared Goff (No. 15), Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady (No. 21), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (No. 22), Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (No. 45) and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (No. 47).

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