3. Drew Brees
fortunate 50 drew brees
Occupation: New Orleans Saints quarterback
Salary/Winnings: $40,000,000
Endorsements: $7,800,000
Total: $47,800,000

Brees, 34, had a relatively small base salary last season ($3 million) but landed a gargantuan $37 million signing bonus with his new contract in July 2012. He has traded on his family-man image by plugging products like Dove, Vicks VapoRub, Chase, Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500), Tide and now Wrangler.

The Fortunate 50 measures salary, winnings, bonuses and endorsements based on consulting players' associations, tour records, online databases, agents and media reports. The endorsement estimates come from a stable of marketing executives, agents, and other experts. Candidates for the Fortunate 50 must be U.S. citizens or play in a U.S.-based league. Endorsements reflect current deals, and salaries are based on current or most recently completed seasons (e.g., NFL salaries come from the season that ended in February). For auto racing and tennis, prize money came from the 2012 calendar year. Golf earnings are from July 1, 2012 through April 21, 2013. Boxing purses are from August 2012 through May 2013 (but projected money from bouts scheduled through September were included).
  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated May 15 2013 02:32 PM ET
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