In recent years, the NFL has become a minefield of big brand names, sponsorships, and enormous payouts. Players have always played an important role in endorsing companies, even during off-seasons. For some players, money has opened doors, and they have used it to invest in the greater good. These are the five best-paid NFL players and how they have used brands to generate extra income. All the highest-earning players are quarterbacks, which is interesting because they either get more media attention, or they play a greater role in the game. For more information, check out Fanduel’s NFL picks.
Patrick Mahomes- Kansas City Chiefs- $45 million
First on the list is Patrick Mahomes. His football career began in Texas Tech University, and Mahomes was rated the tenth overall selection by the Chiefs in 2017. Mahomes is the only quarterback in history to throw for over 5’000 yards in a season in both college and the NFL, and has won a string of awards so far from his success. These include achieving the NFL offensive player of the year and NFL MVP. Leading the Chiefs in the 2020-21 Super Bowl season, Mahomes secured the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl victory since 1970. One of the ways in which players earn their money is through endorsement deals. Mahomes has deals with brands including Hunts’ ketchup, Oakley, Hy-Vee, and Head & Shoulders. Other moves within the media include Mahomes being the first Chiefs player to be on the cover of Madden NFL 20. Ways in which the quarterback is planning on maintaining financial security in the future include investing in the Whataburger franchise and also various non-profit organizations. Mahomes was named one of Time 100’s most influential people in 2020.
Josh Allen- Buffalo Bills- $43 million
Next is the highest-drafted NFL player from Wyoming. Allen led the Bills to a 10-win season in his second year as a starter, securing their second playoff experience since 1999. Amazingly, Allen also led Buffalo to the first divisional title and playoff since 1995 during his third year as a starter. The quarterback has many accomplishments, including fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a Nike Inc athlete, following Kobe Bryant. Allen is also a shareholder in OnCore Golf Technology, Inc, and partnered with PLB Sports & Entertainment and Wegmans in 2020 to produce his own cereal. The proceeds from “Josh’s Jaqs” went to Oishei children’s hospital. The Bills player supports a lot of charities and seems to be using his wealth for good. Not to mention, he recently invested in his family farm.
Dak Prescott- Dallas Cowboys- $40 million
Another record-breaking rookie quarterback was Prescott, who was named the NFL offensive rookie of the year following his 2016 draft, and injury to Tony Romo causing Prescott to step up. According to Forbes, Prescott is one of four athletes who took home more than 100 million in the past six months, pre-tax. With a four-year 160 million dollar contract signed, 10 million of Prescott’s income comes from marketing and endorsements. Big brands working closely with the quarterback include AT&T, Adidas, Beats by Dre, 7-eleven, Pepsi, and Campbell’s Chunky Soup. Prescott has also founded the Faith Fight Finish Foundation. This is a charity that invests in the future of our youth by empowering individuals, families, and communities to find strength through adversity. The foundation focuses on fighting cancer and offering assistance to those facing life-challenging hardships.
Deshaun Watson- Houston Texans- $39 million
An impressive football career from Watson, who achieved Pro Bowl honors in each of his three seasons as Houston’s primary starter. Not to mention the highest career completion percentage of all time. In spite of this, Watson might be losing a lot of his brand endorsements on account of 22 lawsuits filed against him. Nike and Beats by Dre have already suspended the quarterback, which usually bring him around $8 million. Although other brands remain active such as Gillette, Rolex, Verizon, and Samsung, there is the potential of all of them dropping out with more allegations on the horizon. Watson is in danger of losing his spot as one of the highest quarterbacks, as he might only be reliant on Texans’ revenue before long.
Russell Wilson- Seattle Seahawks- $35 million
Finally, an essential part of the financial gains for many charities, and the Seahawks, is Russell Wilson. Having set the single FBS record in college for passing efficiency, and leading the team to a big ten title, Wilson had a successful debut season in 2012 with the Seahawks. As one of four quarterbacks in NFL history with a career passer rating of over 100, the quarterback has been nothing but an asset to the Seahawks. With a 140 million dollar contract extension with Seahawks signed in 2019, brand endorsement includes Wheaties, Levi’s, Pepsi, Nike, Microsoft, and Bose. Wilson and his wife are a remarkable team who are doing tireless charity work to make the world a better place for young people.
Wilson is named one of the 20 most charitable athletes in the world, donating to Feeding America and Food Lifeline in 2020. 1.75 million dollars has also been given to help a local school. Of course, the pair also founded Ciara’s Why Not You Foundation in 2014, which is a nonprofit to fight poverty through education and empowerment.
Overall, money makes the world go round, and it is refreshing to see that not all high-earning athletes are putting their money on flashy items. The role of charity work is essential for those who can afford to make a difference, and it is nice to see the economy thriving through such partnerships.