BIRDLAND – Back in May of 2008, Matt Ryan signed a six-year, $72 million contract that included $34.75 million in guarantees with the Falcons.
Because Ryan’s set to receive a major bonus when the lockout is settled, he’s No. 8 on Sports Illustrated list of the top 50 highest-earning American athletes.
The bulk of guaranteed money in Ryan’s six-year, $72 million contract he signed in 2008 should be paid out this year, when he’ll earn a $22 million roster bonus on top of his $10.25 million salary.
The magazine projects that Ryan also will make $450,000 in endorsements which would bring his total salary to $32.7 million for 2011.
Golfer Tiger Woods ($62.9 million) is at the top of the list followed by golfer Phil Mickelson ($61.1), NBA star LeBron James ($44.5), Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning ($38.07), New York Yankees star Alex Rodriquez ($36), Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant ($34.8) and Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett ($32.8).
Ryan has led the Falcons to 33 wins which is tied in NFL history with Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino for most wins in his first three seasons in the NFL. He is an impressive 20-2 at the Georgia Dome during the regular season.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog