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Professional Athletes That Make Less Than Ninja

Esports has steadily climbed the popularity ladder for as long as it has lived. The competition draws crowds of fans, aspiring stars, and sponsors/investors. Whether or not the Olympics committee will ever recognize professional esports games, many still want to be the next big esports name because of the cash involved. Just ask Tyler "Ninja" Blevins.

Ninja is probably the biggest name in esports history. Not only is he famous, but he makes more cash in a month than most people make a year. He recently signed an exclusive streaming deal with Twitch and now earns an estimated $500,000 a month. But no matter how much he makes, it will never surpass what a professional athlete who plays real sports earns, right? That's not exactly true.

While Ninja's $500,000 a month pales in comparison to the likes of LeBron James, who pulls in $37.4 million a year, other athletes aren't so lucky. Not only do many take home far less than LeBron James, but they might be tempted to switch careers for a piece of Ninja's earnings. Yes, some professional athletes make less than Ninja, and here are a few of them.

Nick Foles

Nick Foles is a huge boon to any team he joins. He started with the Philadelphia Eagles and was later traded to the St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, back again to the Eagles, and over to the Jacksonville Jaguars before his current home with the Chicago Bears. During his second stint with the Eagles, Foles helped lead the team to victory in the 2017 Super Bowl. Squad loyalties aside, Foles has quite the impressive record. You might think a man like Foles would demand a high price, but that's only half true.

Before 2018, Nick Foles' yearly earnings rarely broke $6 million. And while his salary has jumped significantly — possibly due to his 2017 Super Bowl performance — Foles' current Chicago Bears contract is actually rather small. He earns more than $6 million a year, but that's only thanks to his signing bonus. Without it or any other windfalls, Foles only rakes in $4 million a year, $2 million less than Ninja.

Jonathan Jones

Given the importance of the Super Bowl, you might assume that players who win more championships are in high demand and thus command higher salaries. Likewise, teams would be on the lookout for players who win the Super Bowl earlier in their careers and offer them more money. Take Jonathan Jones as a prime example. He's only been a professional football player since 2016, and he's only signed with the New England Patriots. Yet despite his short career, Jones helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls. This must mean he's paid big bucks, right? Think again.

Jonathan Jones never broke $1 million earnings during each of the first three years of his career. While he finally hit the big time in 2019, Jones followed up that 2019 windfall with just under $4 million for the 2020 season. His current contract for 2021 isn't looking that much better and is expected to earn well under his 2019 record of $8.8 million — and under Ninja's $6 million yearly earnings.

Tiger Woods

What is in a name? When you're a famous athlete, a name can grab the attention of audiences. More importantly, it can attract companies who want an endorsement. Nothing sells a box of Wheaties quite like putting an athlete on the front. These endorsements can help bolster cash flow, which is a big help when you're the most famous golfer on the planet but earn less money than Ninja.

Between June 2019 and June 2020, Tiger Woods earned well over $60 million, but the majority was from endorsements. He signed deals with companies such as Bridgestone, Monster Energy, Rolex, and Upper Deck, and they supplied the money — and in some cases his golfing supplies. Whenever Woods hits a golf ball, you can be sure it's a Bridgestone. But exactly how much money did he make hitting golf balls into holes during that season? $2.3 million. As Golf.com eloquently put it, "his main job was his side job."

For now, these endorsements make Tiger Woods one of the richest star athletes, but all good things must eventually come to an end. Once the endorsements dry up, Woods won't make as much money as Ninja.