This year’s Forbes list of highest-paid athletes in the world features a range of athletes across different sports.
While more NBA players made the list than any other sport (34 players), NFL players had their best year as a group thanks to the season’s late-summer start.
There are currently 31 NFL players on the list. Carson Wentz ranks the highest out of all of them with coming in at No.10.
Former Oregon defensive tackle Arik Armstead also made the Top 100. He came in at No. 59 with earnings of $26.8 million. After signing a blockbuster five-year, $85 million contract extension back in March, which included $45.85M in guarantees, it would make sense that him to be on this list.
Here is the thing, though. You most likely won’t be seeing Armstead in next year’s Forbes list.
Confusing? Yes, but let’s break down Armstead’s complicated contract.
As mentioned before, Armstead signed a 5 year, $85,000,000 contract with the San Francisco 49ers, including a $3,500,000 signing bonus, $40,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $17,000,000.
A lot of money upfront as you can see. But with it is a lot more complicated than that.
OvertheCap explains it a little bit more.
Armstead received $45.85 million in guarantees, $34.15 million of which is guaranteed at signing. His initial guarantee is made up of his 2020 and 2021 base salaries, a $17.5 million signing bonus, and a protected $7.5 million 2021 option bonus. If Armstead is on the roster on April 1, 2022, another $5.85 million becomes fully guaranteed. There are $750,000 in per-game bonuses in the final four contract years. The 2025 season is a void contract year used for the purposes of lowering cap charges during the contract. The contract voids if no extension is reached by the fifth day of the 2025 waiver period.”
Here is a breakdown of the cap hit by year:
2025: $18.5M (Voids on 5th day of waiver claim which is after the Super Bowl)
So, yes, Armstead will still receive $34.15 million in full guarantees and $45.85 in total guarantees.
The contract is a little different from the norm of how contracts work, but they're becoming more common.
Long story short, it’s a three-year deal. The 49ers can get out after Year 2 if the option bonus is exercised, and that would mean $6.65 of his base salary is guaranteed instead of $14.15 million.
The 49ers basically got Armstead under $19 million against the cap for the next two years combined.
Armstead did make enough money for the Forbes list this year, but don’t be on the lookout for Armstead to be on next year.
The 49ers made him a wealthy man, but the organization is playing the money game well but spreading it out over the next five years.
Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.