CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton's meteoric climb in notoriety and popularity also has resulted in a surge in financial status.
The Carolina Panthers quarterback and reigning NFL MVP ranks seventh among the world’s highest-paid athletes of 2016, according to a list recently published by Forbes.
Newton made $53.1 million over the past 12 months, which is more than golfer Jordan Spieth (No. 9, $52.8 million) and way more than two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry (No. 69, $23.6 million).
Oh, and he made more than teammate Luke Kuechly (No. 44, $27.1 million).
The magazine ranked the top 100 earning athletes from 23 countries that compete in 10 sports. Newton made $41.1 million in combined earnings from salary/winnings and $12 million in endorsements.
Newton wasn’t in the top 100 in the previous year’s ranking. Much of his jump came from a $22.5 million signing bonus received last June when he reached a five-year, $103.8 million extension.
Soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo topped the list at $88 million, followed by soccer’s Lionel Messi at $81.4 million.
Last week, Newton was the highest NFL player at No. 32 in ESPN’s World Fame 100, a list of the most famous athletes in the world based on a formula that combined salary and endorsements with social-media following and Google-search popularity.