Top 10 Most Lucrative NFL Endorsement Deals

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When it comes to earnings, the NFL is a quarterbacks’ league – the top earners by both salary and endorsements are almost all quarterbacks, but why? With 53 players on a team, the majority of endorsements can only go to a handful of players, and that selection will be of the ones who set the most records and get the most public exposure.

On top of the volume of players, there’s a visual element to address when it comes to the marketability of football. Helmets inhibit a viewer’s ability to clearly recognize players’ faces, making it less likely that they’ll immediately recognize them when their face pops up in a commercial.

Despite these nuances, the NFL still puts athletes in a great position for massive endorsement deals, perhaps because the players who earn fan loyalty and make it big, make it really big. Let’s learn more about the top 10 most lucrative NFL endorsement deals.

10. Matt Ryan

Value of largest endorsement dealNot Disclosed

Total estimated value of all endorsements: $5 million a year from Banana Republic, Delta Air Lines, Fanatics, Gatorade, IBM, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, Panini and Southern Company

Despite a 2016 Super Bowl loss, Ryan still rakes in $5 million in endorsement earnings each year – clearly the skills that once got him to that game are enough to keep brands interested in the four-time Pro Bowler. In fact, he leaned on the 2016 loss in a 2017 Gatorade ad, titled “Make Defeat Your Fuel.”

9. J.J. Watt

Value of largest endorsement dealNot Disclosed

Total estimated value of all endorsements: $7 million a year from Gatorade, Reebok, Ford Motor, H-E-B, NRG Energy, Verizon Wireless

Watts joins Peyton Manning as a spokesperson for Papa Johns, appearing in numerous commercials over the years. It’s unclear which of his endorsement contracts might be worth the most, but his multi-year deal with or Reebok is likely up there –  his line of JJ sneakers is on its third iteration.

8. Eli Manning

Value of largest endorsement dealNot Disclosed

Total estimated value of all endorsements: $7 million a year from Panini, DIRECTV Group Inc., Hublot, Gatorade, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Nike, Toyota Motor and Visa

After 16 years and two Super Bowl wins with the New York Giants, Manning announced his retirement at the end of January, 2020. It’s not revealed how much each of his endorsement deals has been worth, but it all amounts to enough – Manning is now currently the highest paid player in NFL history. Notably, he doesn’t have any social media accounts.

7. Aaron Rodgers

Value of largest endorsement deal$2 million with State Farm

Total estimated value of all endorsements: $9 million from Adidas, Bose, Panini, Prevea Healthcare, State Farm

The seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time MVP winner made the Packers a final four contender for the 2020 Super Bowl. His endorsement portfolio will likely continue to grow. It’s speculated that Rodgers’ State Farm deal alone is worth $2 million – it’s one of the most visible endorsements in his portfolio, bringing us many memorable commercials over the years.

6. Russell Wilson

Value of largest endorsement deal: Not disclosed

Total estimated value of all endorsements: $9 million from Alaska Air Group, Amazon, Bose, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, Wilson Sporting Goods

Wilson topped the list of highest paid NFL players overall in 2019, with $9 million of his earnings coming from endorsements. He signed a long-term deal with Nike in 2016 that many at the time said is probably another one of the biggest football shoe deals yet. He has more than 11 million followers on social media, making him one of the NFL’s most marketable players. It’s been predicted that Wilson has the third-best odds at being 2020 NFL MVP.

5. Tom Brady

Value of largest endorsement dealNot disclosed

Total estimated value of all endorsements: $12 million from Under Armour, Tag Heuer, Simmons Bedding and Ugg

While Under Armour hasn’t disclosed how much their deal with Brady is worth, they signed Steph Curry for $4 million a year back in 2013 and gave him equity stake in the company, something Brady’s deal includes as well. It’s safe to say they play a large role in his $12 million earnings per year in endorsements, especially considering he has dropped several of his other endorsement deals in recent years.

4. Cam Newton

Value of largest endorsement dealOver $1 million per year with Under Armor

Total estimated value of all endorsements: $12 million from Under Armor, Gatorade, Danon, Beats, Belk and Electronic Arts

The exact value of Newton’s 2011 Under Armor deal hasn’t been revealed, but it is reportedly one of the most lucrative deals ever agreed to by an NFL player, with several sources reporting he earns more than $1 million per year from the sports apparel manufacturer. They extended their deal with Newton in 2015, making him their top-paid NFL endorser. Injuries caused Newton to miss much of the 2019 season, with rumors spreading that he’ll be traded in 2020.

3. Peyton Manning

Value of largest endorsement deal:Not disclosed

Total estimated value of all endorsements: $15 million from Buick, DirecTV, Gatorade, Nationwide, Nike and Papa John’s

Manning’s one-of-a-kind voice has been heard on Nationwide commercials for years, and the company’s five-year deal is likely one that significantly contributes to his $15 million in annual endorsements. He’s also known for his brand partnership with Papa John’s pizza that also resulted in his ownership of 32 Denver locations. Since retiring as the MVP of Super Bowl 50 in 2016, he still regularly finds his way to the spotlight, most recently appearing in the NFL’s “Next 100” Super Bowl commercial. He’ll be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021.

2. Drew Brees

Value of largest endorsement deal:Not disclosed

Total estimated value of all endorsements: $16 million from Microsoft, Nike, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Wrangler

The NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and 12-time Pro Bowler has family-man qualities that have attracted brands like Wrangler and Procter & Gamble over the years, but none that have disclosed exactly how much their deals are worth. Brees is known for giving back to the community through his foundation, which has donated more than $25 million to causes and academic institutions.

1. Odell Beckham Jr

Value of largest endorsement deal: $29 million total with Nike ($5.8 million per year)

Total estimated value of all endorsements: $26.5M from Nike, EA Sports, Dunkin’ Donuts, Head & Shoulders, Foot Locker, Lenovo and Steiner Sports

Beckham’s $29 million, five-year contract with Nike ­is one of the largest shoe deals in NFL history. The 2017 deal was born out of Nike’s desire to match an offer he received from Adidas. It probably doesn’t hurt that, at the time the deal was signed, Beckham had 12 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, a number that has since jumped to 14 million. As the fastest-ever NFL receiver to reach both 200 career receptions and 4,000 career receiving yards, it’s clear why he’s also the NFL’s highest paid wide receiver.

The combined total value of all these NFL endorsements is an eye popping $118.5 million. While the NBA’s largest endorsement deals are often shoe brands, it seems as though NFL players are often bringing home big money from insurance and car companies. Recent record-breaking deals like Odell Beckham Jr.’s $29 million Nike deal, however, show more promise for NFL athletes, who haven’t historically received nearly as much in endorsements as their NBA and MLB counterparts. Perhaps this next decade will see a rise in record-setting, multi-million-dollar endorsement deals for these pro football stars.

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