Retired Since 2016, Peyton Manning Still Tops an NFL Earnings List

The former QB ranks No. 1 among the NFLPA’s biggest earners from marketing and royalties

Peyton Manning before an Indianapolis Colts game in November 2019
Peyton Manning before an Indianapolis Colts game in November 2019.
Michael Hickey/Getty Images
By Evan Bleier / July 9, 2020 11:42 am

Though he hasn’t thrown a football in an NFL game since Super Bowl 50 in 2016, Peyton Manning is still beating the rest of the players in the league at raking in cash.

By earning roughly $3.4 million in the year ending on February 29, Manning came in first on NFLPA’s list of the league’s biggest earners from marketing and royalties, according to The Athletic.

Manning’s earnings, which are basically equivalent with what he earned during his final season in the league with the Broncos, come from when six or more players are used in what’s known as group licensing. This includes union-negotiated deals with companies like Electronic Arts, Nike and Fanatics.

So, even though Mannings playing days are long behind him, the demand for his jersey and his likeness to use in video games or on cardboard cutouts is still high.

“It is a real testament to his appeal and staying power that after all these years in retirement, that he still makes the list,” Russ Spielman, president of sports marketing at GSE Worldwide, told The Athletic. “I think it’s a real testament to his respect and appreciation from the fans. Winning in multiple cities (Indianapolis and Denver) probably helps pretty well, too. He’s got a lot of visibility still, and staying power, and people like him.”

Following Manning on the list are Tom Brady ($2,998,276 in earnings) and Patrick Mahomes ($2,784,255). The rest of the top 10 includes Dak Prescott ($2,564,979), Saquon Barkley ($2,340,140), JuJu Smith-Schuster ($2,193,077), Kyler Murray ($1,812,028), Aaron Rodgers ($1,453,474), Todd Gurley ($1,263,984) and Baker Mayfield ($1,139,768).

Manning, 44, won the Super Bowl twice and retired with a career regular-season record of 186-79-0 with 71,940 passing yards, 539 touchdowns and 251 interceptions.

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