Deion Sanders Net Worth
It's kind of a trip that a new generation of football fans now know University of Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders as just that — a football coach.
That's because Sanders was so much more to football fans before he ever picked up a headset on the sideline and began calling plays. That's because, before that, he was the game ... perhaps one of just a handful of individuals who can make the claim of having been the greatest athlete who ever lived.
And with that came some money. Before "Coach Prime," there was "Prime Time" and "Neon Deion" — a show-stopping athlete who is still the only person in history to play in both the World Series and the Super Bowl. And he's also a self-marketing machine who raked in millions as an athlete, pitchman and announcer before he ever began raking in the big bucks as a coach.
Here's a look at the net worth of Deion Sanders, which might surprise you.
What Is Deion Sanders' Current Salary?
Deion Sanders left HBCU Jackson State after three seasons to become the coach at the University of Colorado, announcing the move to the Pac-12 Conference school on Dec. 3, 2022, after Jackson State completed a 12-0 regular season.
Colorado agreed to a five-year, $29.5 million contract with Sanders that features up to $2.5 million in annual bonuses, including bumps for things ranging from meeting goals for Academic Progress Rates ($50,000) all the way to winning a national championship ($750,000). Hiring Sanders could end up being a steal for Colorado even if he doesn't make it to the mountaintop right away — elite college football programs can be worth tens of millions of dollars annually to their schools. When they're winning.
Deion Sanders: Always a Winner
Deion Sanders grew up in Florida, where he was a star athlete in football, basketball and baseball at North Fort Myers High, making All-State teams in all three sports.
Sanders was good enough as an outfielder in baseball that the Kansas City Royals selected him in the sixth round of the 1985 Major League Baseball Draft — a high pick despite the almost certainty that he was going to college and what would have been the first big payday of the young star's life. Instead, Sanders stayed in his home state and chose to attend Florida State University.
'Prime Time' Comes to Florida State
Deion Sanders earned one of the greatest nicknames of all time when he was in high school and brought it with him to Florida State, where he played football as a cornerback and return specialist, baseball as an outfielder and was on the track and field team as a sprinter.
"I'd already earned 'Prime Time' in high school (basketball)," Sanders told Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show." "I dropped like 37 (points) that night, had two dunks back to back, curl was wet, looked dry. We were on our way home on the bus, and my homie says, ‘You know what, man? You’re Prime Time.’ I said, ‘You’re right.’ So, it was birthed then.”
Sanders lived up to his billing at Florida State, becoming one of the greatest college football players of all time — he was a three-time All-American from 1986 to 1988 and won the Jim Thorpe Award in 1988 as the nation's top defensive back. In baseball, he batted over .300 and led his team in stolen bases. In track and field, he ran a leg of the 400-meter relay and helped lead the team to the conference championship.
Baseball Money Comes First
By the time Sanders' time at Florida State was coming to an end, he had professional prospects in both football and baseball.
The New York Yankees drafted Sanders in the 30th round of the 1988 MLB Draft — before his final year playing football at FSU — and he lit up the minor leagues that summer and was paid handsomely. Because it was a different sport than football, Sanders was still allowed to play collegiately although he wasn't on scholarship ... the Yankees paid his tuition along with his salary.
Sanders was then drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the No. 5 overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft — widely considered one of the greatest NFL Drafts of all time, as four future Hall of Famers were taken in the first five picks.
Prime Time to Get Paid
Sanders was already making money off his professional baseball career with the New York Yankees when he was drafted No. 5 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1989 NFL Draft and was good enough in the minor leagues to earn a call up to the majors by the spring of 1989.
He used the leverage of his baseball career to lean on the Falcons, who were desperate for him to join the roster and signed a massive (for the time) five-year, $9 million contract to play football. In the fall of 1989, he became the first athlete in history to hit a home run in Major League Baseball and score a touchdown in the NFL in the same week.
Sanders was placed on the Yankees' opening-day roster in 1990 but bickered almost constantly with the club about his football career and attitude, famously drawing a dollar sign on the dirt at home plate in front of Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk. The Yankees, growing tired of Sanders' antics, ultimately released him after the 1990 season citing his football career as stunting his baseball development. Sanders simply signed with the Atlanta Braves, consolidating his two pro sports teams into one town.
Deion Hysteria Hits Full Pitch
There were a handful of athletes who defined the 1990s, and at one point, Deion Sanders was as famous as any of them.
Sanders famously led the Braves to the 1991 National League West Division title but had to leave the team before the postseason because of a clause in his NFL contract. In 1992, after reworking contracts with both teams, Sanders had his best season in the majors by batting .304, stealing 26 bases and leading the NL with 14 triples — all done in just 97 games. In the 1992 World Series, which the Braves lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in six games, he led his team in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and total bases.
Sanders would ultimately play parts of nine MLB seasons and bank $13 million from his baseball career — not bad for what essentially amounted to a part-time job.
MLB Money Is Nice — but NFL Money Is Better
While Deion Sanders was a really, really good baseball player — sometimes great — there has never been any debate as to what his best sport was.
Sanders is widely considered not only the greatest cornerback of all time but also one of the greatest returners of all time. After his original, five-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons was up, he began signing a series of lucrative free-agent contracts and was a key player on Super Bowl-winning teams for the San Francisco 49ers in 1994 and the Dallas Cowboys in 1995.
Sanders would ultimately play 13 seasons in the NFL — from 1989 to 2000 and again in 2004 and 2005 — making roughly $34 million from football. In total, Deion made almost $50 million playing professional baseball and football over 15 years.
But that's almost $50 million just in contract salaries, not endorsements.
Making Money Off the Field
Deion Sanders was a sought-after pitchman throughout the entirety of his pro sports career.
Although the exact numbers on his endorsement contracts have never been made available, Sanders reportedly was paid seven figures by Nike during his playing career and also did advertisements for Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Burger King, GMC, Van Heusen and American Express, among others.
You know what else he did? He made an album, "Prime Time," produced by rapper M.C. Hammer and released in 1994 — and it reached No. 70 on the Billboard Hip Hop/R&B charts! So, when Deion wasn't making money playing football or baseball, he was still making money.
After Deion's Playing Days Were Over
The end of Deion Sanders' days playing professional football and baseball did not mean the end of his days making big-time money.
Sanders became one of the main analysts for the NFL Network following the end of his playing career (the first time) in 2000, where he continued to make almost $2 million per year and eventually turned down an offer of $2.5 million per year in 2004 to return to the network.
After Sanders retired from the NFL a second time in 2005, he had a reality television show on the Oxygen Network with his first wife, Pilar, and five children. It was called "Deion & Pilar: Prime Time Love," and he cashed in big with his "Leon Sandcastle" persona in 2013 as part of advertisements for the NFL Network leading up to the NFL Draft.
Sanders' Estimated Net Worth: $45 Million ... and Growing
In 2022, before he took the job as the head coach at the University of Colorado, Deion Sanders had an estimated net worth of $45 million, which is essentially equal to the amount of money he made playing professional football and baseball.
Here's the thing — coaching college football could end up being the most lucrative undertaking of Prime Time's life if he can turn the Buffs into winners. The roughly $6 million per year he's already under contract for puts him in the upper level of college coaches but not yet to the "elite" tier. The top-five, highest-paid coaches in the country — Alabama's Nick Saban, Clemson's Dabo Swinney, Georgia's Kirby Smart, USC's Lincoln Riley and LSU's Brian Kelly — all make between $10 million and $12 million annually.