In sports you are either overpaid or you are underpaid, there is no in between.
Most of the time, the overpaid athlete is going to be the veteran who no longer possesses the skills that they once had.
The underpaid athlete is likely to be a rookie or a young player that has entered their sport recently.
This list will take a look at 20 of the most underpaid athletes in professional sports.
These are a group of players that have made all-star teams, won championships, won individual awards, these guys have done it all and are getting paid much less then they should given the work that they have done up to this point in their careers.
So here are the 20 most underpaid athletes in professional sports today.
Salary figures come from various different sites, notably from the ESPN and USA Today websites. NFL salaries are based on the base salaries for players and do not include incentive bonuses.
2010 Salary: $9,000,000
It’s hard to say that Lincecum is underpaid at $9 million per year but that’s exactly what he is.
Linceum has won two Cy Young Awards; he has led the National League in strikeouts; in a World Series game, he put on one of the most dominating performances when he clinched Game 5 of the 2010 World Series.
Even at $9 million per year, Lincecim is still one of the most underpaid athletes in all of sports.
2010 Salary: $6,053,663
Kevin Durant is making $6 million in 2010.
That’s a very good sum of money for anyone, but not quite good enough for one of the best players in the NBA. It’s even more egregious considering the salary figures for a number of NBA players.
Likely feeling the pressure to build off of last year, Kevin Durant started out slow this year, but he will be fine and the Thunder will be very dangerous come playoff time.
2010 Salary: $1,250,000
If Ubaldo Jimenez had finished 2010 the way that he started it, he would be much higher on this list. As it stands, he had a very good year for the Rockies. He started it with a no-hitter in May against Atlanta.
Jimenez really tailed off at the end of the season but his overall numbers for the year were still very good (2.88 ERA, 19-8, 214 K’s in 221.2 IP).
2010 Salary: $1,121,865
DeSean Jackson may be the best playmaker at the wide receiver position in the NFL.
He has great speed and tremendous ability to separate from the defender. He can get behind the defense in a snap and burn defenders for an 80-yard touchdown at any point.
Yet he hasn't been paid like a top receiver in football. He will pretty soon.
2010 Salary: $3,016,680
Eric Gordon has really come out of nowhere to become one of the Clippers best scorers this season. He is averaging nearly 24 points per game and his shot selection has gotten much better this year.
He has turned into a steal at just over $3 million in salary this season.
2010 Salary: $1,535,000
Joe Flacco has had an impressive start to his NFL career.
He has thrown for over 3,000 yards in his first three years, led his team into the playoffs all three years and won at least one playoff game the first two years.
Flacco has done all that while making only $1.8 million in base salary in 2009. He is still on his rookie contract but one has to believe that the Ravens will lock him up with a much bigger contract sooner rather than later.
2010 Salary: $1,650,000
Wes Welker is the key to that New England Patriots passing attack. He is the one guy that makes everything else go.
Even if he doesn’t put up the flashy numbers, what he brings to the short passing game acts as the Patriots' running game.
Without Welker, the Patriots offense wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as it has been in the last four years.
2010 Salary: $3,880,920
Tyreke Evans, the 2009-2010 NBA Rookie of the Year makes in onto this list easily. He is one of the most exciting players in the NBA and he is the only reason to watch the Sacramento Kings play.
His shooting has gotten worse this year, but that’s likely a product of him trying to do too much and the fact that he’s the only player on the team.
2010 Salary: $4,875,000
Adrian Gonzalez had long been the subject of trade rumors because San Diego needed to rebuild and he was the perfect piece to get them exactly what they needed because he was so good and so cheap.
Gonzalez may be the best first baseman in the American League right now when you factor in all aspects of the game. He will get paid by the Red Sox and won’t be on this list for a whole lot longer.
2010 Salary: $2,250,000
Marques Colston has been as productive as any receiver in the NFL since he came into the league in 2006. He has gone over 1000 receiving yards in 4 of his 5 seasons.
He is a big, productive playmaker who was also one of the great finds in NFL Draft history. Colston was taken in Round 7 of the 2006 draft.
2010 Salary: $5,357,290
Blake Griffin missed all of the 2009-2010 season with micro fracture knee surgery. He is making up for that lost time in a big way this year. He has averaged 21.5 points and 12.4 rebounds per game.
Griffin has given fans of “The Other” Los Angeles team a reason to be excited and optimistic about their future. It’s the first time in a long time that anyone can say that.
2010 Salary: $5,546,160
Derrick Rose could be the NBA MVP if the season were to end today. He has the Chicago Bulls playing really well right now at first place in the Central division.
He is such a dynamic playmaker that it makes the Bulls a very dangerous opponent come playoff time.
2010 Salary: $461,100
Shin-Soo Choo has really become one of baseball’s best all-around players.
The Korean hits for average and power, has speed, and is a terrific right fielder.
Choo will enter his first year of arbitration this year looking for a big raise over the $461,100 that he made in 2010.
2010 Salary: $525,500
Both the National League and American League MVP’s are on this list for very good reasons. Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto made just over a half-million dollars in 2010. Votto earned every penny of that and then some with his performance.
He has said that he’s not in any rush to negotiate with the Reds about a long-term deal.
After posting the season that he did in 2010, why wouldn’t he try to use some leverage to get a mega-deal somewhere down the road?
2010 Salary: $3,250,000
Josh Hamilton completed one of the most uplifting stories of any athlete in history in 2010 when he won the American League MVP Award. He led the American League in average, slugging percentage, and OPS en route to winning the AL MVP.
He has overcome a lot of self-inflicted demons in his career, but Hamilton has shown why he was so highly treasured coming into the 1999 draft.
2010 Salary: $400,000
Jason Heyward entered the Major Leagues with high expectations. But as 20-year-old, not only did he live up to those expectations, he exceeded them. He hit 18 home runs, had a .393 on-base percentage, and had a slugging percentage over .450.
Heyward had a lot to live up to in 2010 and he did not disappoint. Even at such a young age, he is already a superstar player and will continue to get better.
2010 Salary: $400,000
The San Francisco Giants did everything that they could in order to keep Buster Posey off of the Major League roster. Eventually they had to give him a chance to play and when he got the chance he took it and ran with it.
Even as a rookie, he led the Giants lineup all the way to the World Series. Posey did a,l that while playing the most demanding position in baseball—catcher.
Posey’s season was rewarded with a World Series and NL Rookie of the Year trophy.
2010 Salary: $2,413,320
You could make a case the Brooke Lopez is the second best pure center in the NBA right now. He averages 19 points and 6 rebounds per game for a putrid New Jersey team.
Lopez needs to get better in the post, but right now it’s hard to argue with the results.
2010 Salary: $2,815,330
You could make a case that the very first day that Adrian Peterson stepped on an NFL field in 2007 he was the best running back in football. He has that much talent and has lived up to every expectation he set for himself in college at Oklahoma.
Peterson made only $2.8 million in base salary last year. That’s a heck of a bargain for the consensus No. 1 running back in pro football.
2010 Salary: $950,000
Evan Longoria has maybe the most team friendly contract of any superstar player in sports.
He signed a six-year deal a week into his major league career and, even at that time, a lot of people were left scratching their heads over the deal.
Now the Rays have won two American League East titles and an American League pennant with Longoria anchoring their lineup and playing Gold Glove defense at third base.