NFL Star DeMarcus Ware Is Betting His Salary on His Performance in 2016. Here’s Why You Should Do the Same.

We're now more than a month into the crazy days of NFL Free Agency, and if you're keeping up with how top players are negotiating contracts with their teams, you aren't just getting good pre-season entertainment — you might be learning some salary negotiation lessons you can apply to your career, even if your job title isn't as glamorous as "quarterback" or "defensive end."

Rodgers Megadeal of $22 Million Tops NFL Paychecks … For Now

In a game of high-dollar leap frog, NFL quarterbacks are cashing in and one-upping each other to monstrous pay days. The latest market-setting contract extension belongs to Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, superstar signal-caller, who has hopped his way to the top of the list, for now.

Pro Athletes and Their Salaries

Athletes and their salaries are making the news often these days, CNN.com reports that international soccer star David Beckham has signed a 5-year deal worth $250 million dollars (salary + endorsements) with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The 31-year-old will be earning about $1 million a week, the highest professional athlete salary for a soccer player. Even with that large income, he falls behind golfer Tiger Woods, who reportedly earned over $97 million in 2006 (according sportsillustrated.cnn.com's list of athlete salaries and incomes, putting him in first place of the top 10 highest paid athletes.

While that may seem outrageous, debates over pro athletes AND salaries are really not that new, as mentioned on findarticles.com. Baseball great Babe Ruth reportedly earned a larger annual salary than President Hoover during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Ruth defended his $75,000 annual salary by replying, "Why not? I had a better year than (President Hoover) did." Athlete salary statistics were headlines in 1962 when Wilt Chamberlain shocked the NBA in 1962 by turning down an offer of $25,000, which was the more than highest-paid player at the time, Bob Cousey, who earned $22,500.

How do you and your salary compare to athletes and their salaries?  Play ball with our salary survey.

Pro Football Salaries vs. Surgeon Salaries: The Salary Super Bowl

As Super Bowl start time nears, this seems like an opportune moment to examine pro football salaries. Of course, the big question is, “Who is the highest-paid player?” The often-disappointing Atlanta Falcons failed to make the playoffs, but their quarterback, Michael Vick had a great season. He topped all pro football salaries with an annual salary of $23.1 million.

In the world of pro football salaries, is he worth 23.1 million? Well, in 2006, Michael Vick became the only quarterback in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards. But what if we compare this football player salary to a cardiothoracic surgeon salary in the Atlanta area?  How does a football player measure up to someone who saves lives? With 5-9 years of experience, a cardiothoracic surgeon salary averages out to $329,229, less than 2% of Vick’s salary!

How does your salary score against pro football salaries (as reported on CNN.Money.com)? Find out with our salary survey.