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The Highest Paid Bay Area Athlete Is A Shocker

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Sports Illustrated has released their annual list of the 50 highest earning athletes in America, and the list is an interesting look into the financial landscape of sports. You'll learn some things you probably already knew (certain baseball franchises in the Northeast spend lots of green) and some things you probably didn't (the NFL really needs to fix their rookie salary structure). But what about our very own Bay Area athletes? Where do luminaries like Tim Lincecum, Patrick Willis and Nnamdi Asomugha rank?

Well, it turns out they don't. But fret not, the Bay is still represented! The best compensated athlete in Northern California and No. 28 in the nation is none other than Darrius Heyward-Bey, he of nine career receptions:

Creative accounting by the Raiders included no signing bonus for last year's surprise No. 7 pick, but $20.7 million in combined option and roster bonuses following a disappointing rookie season.

SI also notes that Heyward-Bey earned $75,000 in endorsement deals, and if anybody can find witch company thought Hey-Bey would be a good spokesperson please let me know.

The only other Bay resident to make the list is Barry Zito at No. 39. Seeing the list would have been even more distressing for Giants fans last year, but since Zito has regained enough form to again be a valuable rotation member his contract has gone from franchise crippling to merely the second worst contract on the team thanks to Aaron Rowand.