Cam Newton made $53.1M over past year, more than Jordan Spieth and Stephen Curry

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.

NBA star LeBron James came in third at $77.2 million, followed by Roger Federer (tennis) at $67.8 million, Kevin Durant (NBA) at $56.2 million and Novak Djokovic (tennis) $55.8 million.

The next-highest NFL player after Newton was New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning at No. 13. He totaled $45 million.

Newton’s $12 million in endorsements was tied with New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees for the highest in the NFL behind Peyton Manning at $15 million, according to the magazine.

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.