In the world of professional sports, few things strike a nerve with fans and the media as player salaries do. When an elite player signs a big-money free-agent deal, it adds another level of pressure to deliver immediate results and raises expectations on the entire team to bring home a championship.
We looked at the five major sports leagues in America and found the highest-paid player for the current 2013 or upcoming 2013-14 season.
By Brian Beers, CNBC senior producer
Updated 5 Aug. 2013
Originally posted 2 Aug. 2013
(data via spotrac.com)
Rodgers, who has been featured in commercials for State Farm promoting the "Discount Double Check," agreed to a five-year deal this spring with the Green Bay Packers worth $110 million.
The contract contains a whopping $35 million signing bonus in addition to a base salary of $4.5 million for the upcoming season. As part of the agreement, Rodgers also receives an annual $500,000 workout bonus.
Even though the Packers have some flexibility in how they can structure Rodgers' pay against the NFL's salary cap, the quarterback will still receive $40 million in the first year of the deal.
The 15-time all-star from the Los Angeles Lakers suffered a season-ending injury to his Achilles tendon in April. Kobe will be entering the final year of a contract extension he signed in 2010 for three years at a total of $84 million.
Bryant could become an unrestricted free agent for the 2014-15 season.
The often-polarizing Yankees star missed the first 110 games of the season while recovering from off-season hip surgery. On August 5th, Rodriguez was suspended for 211 regular season games without pay by Major League Baseball for violations of the league's joint drug prevention and treatment program as well as the basic agreement.
Rodriguez is hardball's highest-paid player making $28 million in salary and a $1 million bonus for 2013 as part of an overall 10-year, $275 million deal he signed with the team in December 2007.
The slugger is fifth on the all-time home run list with 647.
Many wouldn't expect a defenseman from the Nashville Predators to be the NHL's highest-paid player, but Shea Weber is set to make $14 million in the 2013-14 season.
As a restricted free-agent in 2012, Weber originally received a 14-year offer from the Philadelphia Flyers worth $110 million.
But the Predators chose to match Philly's offer and welcomed back their team captain with the biggest contract in team history.
Henry rose to fame in the Premier League with Arsenal. He was later acquired by Barcelona before ending up across the Atlantic with the New York Red Bulls. The striker passed David Beckham as the league's highest paid player when he signed a four-year deal in 2010.
In 2013, Henry's contract calls for him to be paid less than any of the previous three years when he was making $5.6 million per season, but surprisingly he still makes more than any current player in MLS.