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Matt Ryan leads NFL players on Forbes.com's highest-paid list

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Falcons QB Matt Ryan is No. 1, according to Forbes.com. (USATSI)
Falcons QB Matt Ryan is No. 1, according to Forbes.com. (USATSI)

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Forbes.com released its list of the 100 highest paid athletes and, not surprisingly, you had to scroll down a bit to find an NFL player. What was surprising, at least to those of us who don't study salary-cap data in our spare time, is that Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is the NFL's highest paid, as measured from June 1, 2013 to June 1, 2014.

Overall, Ryan ranked 10th, earning $43.8 million over the last 12 months. Boxer Floyd Mayweather was No. 1 ($105 million), followed by a mix of stars from the worlds of soccer, the NBA, tennis and golf.

Interestingly, a Major League Baseball player didn't make an appearance until No. 30 (Cliff Lee), though 27 players would be represented in total. The NFL, meanwhile, had 17 names on the list:

10. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons, $43.8 million
18. Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions, $33 million
26. Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos, $27 million
40. Darrelle Revis, CB, Patriots, $23.8 million
53. Geno Atkins, DL, Bengals, $22.4 million
55. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers, $22 million
62. Joe Haden, CB, Browns, $21.4 million
66. Drew Brees, QB, Saints, $21 million
66. Eli Manning, QB, Giants, $21 million
69. Julius Peppers, DE, Bears, $20.8 million
70. Jason Peters, LT, Eagles, $20.7 million
84. Carlos Dunlap, DE, Bengals, $18.8 million
89. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals, $18.5 million
91. Branden Albert, OT, Dolphins, $18.4 million
94. Jairus Byrd, S, Saints, $18 million
96. Terrell Suggs, DE, Ravens, $17.6 million
97. Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears, $17.5 million

If you're wondering, here's how Forbes.com explained its data-collection methods:

"Our earnings figures include all salaries and bonuses paid out between June 1, 2013 and June 1, 2014. So in the case of baseball players, the listed salary will include salary from the 2012 and 2013 seasons, as well as any signing, award or playoff bonuses. Winnings for golfers and tennis players represents their prize money over that period. NASCAR drivers receive a percentage of their winnings (it is split with the team), as well as a salary.

"Endorsement incomes are an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees and licensing fees for the 12 months through June based on conversations with dozens of industry insiders. ... We do not deduct for taxes or agents' fees and we do not include investment income. We do include income from the sale of a business related to a sponsorship in the case of someone like LeBron James, who made millions via the $3 billion sale of Beats by Dre to Apple"

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