Categories
eSports Gaming

Subnation and Seiler Team Up to Educate NFL Players on esports

Today’s pro athletes know there’s more to life than just making insane amounts of money and spending it all on frivolous things. The young sports greats we constantly cheer for are smarter with their income and usually make worthwhile investments that benefit more than just them. In the case of pro-NFL personalities, the growing trend of notable players dipping their toes into the esports arena is an intriguing one.

Tennessee Titans guard Rodger Saffold birthed his own esports business venture RISE Nation. Jay Ajayi, a former running back for the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles, signed on with Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union organization to become a member of their eMLS League Series One esports team. And NFL legends Steve Young and Jerry Rice have made a concerted effort to open learning centers that teach the youth living in underserved communities all about esports and so much more. It’s clear that esports efforts such as those point to NFL players’ continued interest in all things pro gaming.

Gaming and esports media holding company Subnation and financial wellness firm Seiler Financial Education Consultants have clearly taken heed of this growing trend, which is why they’re looking to help even more NFL players gain a better understanding of the esports realm. Both companies are doing so by holding the first annual Players Symposium, which will take place over the course of three days and emanate from the new Resorts World Las Vegas I property. From July 6th to the 9th, 100 current NFL pros will converge upon this invite-only conference to attain the know-how needed to better one’s business acumen. The Players Symposium won’t just be about getting schooled, however – everyone will get to participate in a 16-team esports tournament and compete for $50,000. So along with learning about marketing, cryptocurrency, finance, and esports, that huge lineup of NFL athletes will also get to unwind and compete on the sticks.

Some of the players in attendance include LA Chargers Running Back Austin Ekeler and Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Plus Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling will be on hand to be one of the Players Symposium’s many speakers – his inclusion comes as no surprise since he launched his own esports team and lifestyle brand, Trench Made Gaming. Los Angeles Chargers Running Back and Gridiron Gaming Group Founder Austin Ekeler will also be in attendance to offer some words of wisdom regarding the thriving world of esports and gaming culture as a whole.

Doug Scott, Co-Founder and Chief Managing Director of Subnation, spoke on the widening knowledge of today’s sports athletes when it comes to amassing different streams of income. “Whether it be requesting their salaries in cryptocurrency, launching esports teams or participating in health and wellness start ups, professional athletes are expanding their purview and getting involved with innovative business ventures off the field,” said Doug. “We created the Players Symposium to educate athletes on what’s new and next, while exposing them to the companies and entrepreneurs that are disrupting the tech, media and entertainment world.”

In the case of sponsors for the Players Symposium, Alienware, The Ben Moss Group, Dreamseat, Eleve Health, and Voyager have signed on to show their support. Stephen Ehrlich, Voyager’s Co-founder and CEO, commented on his company’s excitement in regards to getting behind this beneficial endeavor. “Voyager is proud to support the first Players Symposium to help educate these outstanding pro athletes about one of today’s most extraordinary wealth-building vehicles, cryptocurrency,” Stephen said. “Voyager is the ideal digital asset platform to help these athletes meet and exceed part of their long-term financial goals with crypto. With over 60 digital assets, interest offerings as high as 10%, and an easy-to-use app, Voyager is the crypto platform for champions!”

The first installment of the Players Symposium has all the makings of an annual event that could create a new array of NFL players that will dive headfirst into esports and help it continue to prosper.

Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

GaryVee Talks To Pro Athletes About How to Make An Impact

If you saw the “30 for 30″—then you already know the story.

“By the time they have been retired for two years, 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress; within five years of retirement, an estimated 60 percent of former NBA players are broke.”

Former Tennessee Titan, Derrick Morgan, is looking to change that.

Last Friday, Morgan spearhead a financial conference called “I AM Nation.” It included guests speeches from the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk and Anthony Pompliano.

“Life is only about access. And the great mistake of athletes is not going aggressive enough, to make relationships in the cities where they have played,” Vaynerchuk had to say when speaking at the event, emphasizing the need for personal connections.

In addition to increasing financial literacy, Morgan, and a slew of other current and former athletes, are hoping to also make an impact. They’ve laid out their priorities as capital, community, and culture.

When players are in the primes of their career, financial strategy and investing are rarely discussed in the locker room. The event was made to provide a forum for players to learn, network, and open that conversation.

The “I AM Nation” group has put together quite the team. The roster includes Josh Childress, Byron Jones, Stephen Tulloch, Winston Justice, Justin Forsett, EJ Manuel, Vincent Fuller, Kevin Byard, and Spencer Paysinger.

These players’ backgrounds are all different. Some of them have already dabbled in entrepreneurship and others are just getting started. Either way, their involvement is helping diversify the investment space.

At the event, the conversations revolved around NFTs, real estate, cryptocurrency, and stock trading. Each subsection was given a speaker dedicated to providing valuable information for the group.

“[Athletes] are playing in real cities, with real die-hard fans. Football is one of the great passions of our society.  And because of that passion, you can access some really influential people, who will take a meeting with you, who will say yes to doing business with you” Vaynerchuk emphasized.

The event united the focuses of Morgan’s vision, by bringing capital, community, and culture together.

Categories
Sports Strength

The 12 Highest Paid NFL Coaches Right Now

Many factors go into making a great football team: The players (obviously), the management, the strategy, and, maybe most importantly, the coaching. In the NFL, there is a certain upper echelon of coaches that have either led their team to a Super Bowl, are on an upward trajectory, or are at least being paid like they are. If you’re reading this, then you might be wondering who the highest-paid NFL coach is, and the answer would be the New England Patriots’ own Bill Belichick, who earns an impressive $12 million annually. 

Belichick isn’t the only one making big bucks by coaching in the NFL. In fact, he is followed very closely by a select group of coaches that have all had varying degrees of success on their own terms. Some have won Super Bowls, and some are just starting, but one fact is certain: They’re all making big money. Here are the 12 highest-paid NFL coaches in the league right now.

1. Bill Belichick-New England Patriots
Getty Images

Contract: $12 Million/Annually

The highest-paid coach in the NFL, Belichick certainly gets money like he is the best in the league because, well, he is. A winner of six Super Bowls with the Patriots, he has had a storied career with the franchise leading them to an unparalleled era of success in the NFL. He and the GOAT QB, Tom Brady, helped drive the Patriots to become a true dynasty, one of the greatest in sports history.

With his $12 million paychecks, Belichick has amassed a sizable net worth thanks to this success and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

2. Pete Carroll-Seattle Seahawks
Getty Images

Contract: $11 Million/Annually

The head coach of the Seattle Seahawks since 2010, Pete Carroll, has had a very successful career with that franchise, including a Super Bowl victory in 2013. The Seahawks under Carroll also appeared in the Super Bowl in 2014, but they fell short of a win when he called for a pass play on the goal line in the final minute that was intercepted by the New England Patriots; a call that has been publicly derided to no end ever since.

3. Jon Gruden-Las Vegas Raiders
Getty Images

Contract: 10 Year/$100 Million

It was a staggering contract for Jon Gruden when he was announced as the head coach for the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders. Gruden was coming off of a stint as the color analyst for Monday Night Football, so the fact he was able to garner such a deal was a shock to many.

4. Sean Payton-New Orleans Saints
Getty Images

Contract: $9.8 Million/Annually

Sean Payton has been the head coach of the New Orleans Saints since 2006 and has amassed an impressive career coaching record of 152-89. He also has a Super Bowl victory under his belt, leading the Saints to a title in 2010 when they defeated the Indianapolis Colts.

Payton was extended by the Saints in 2019 for another five years, so the franchise has confidence in him and believe he gives them the best chance to win another title.

5. John Harbaugh-Baltimore Ravens
Getty Images

Contract: $9 Million/Annually

After a successful career as a defensive and special teams coordinator, John Harbaugh was hired by the Baltimore Ravens to be their head coach in 2008. Since then, Harbaugh successfully led the team to a Super Bowl victory in 2013 when he defeated his brother Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers.

Harbaugh signed a four-year extension in 2019, keeping him with the Ravens until at least 2022.

6. Matt Rhule-Carolina Panthers
Getty Images

Contract: $8.5 million/Annually

Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule is the newest entry on this list, having only coached in the NFL for one season. However, before the 2020 season, Rhule was the coach that every team that needed one wanted to hire, and his salary is evidence of that.

While his first season as the Panthers head coach underwhelmed (they finished with a 5-11 record), Rhule has the potential to rebound in 2021.

7. Sean McVay-Los Angeles Rams
Getty Images

Contract: $8.5 million/annually

Once thought of like the NFL’s “golden boy”, Sean McVay became the youngest head coach in league history when the Rams hired him at the age of 30. Many of his players were (and some still are) older than he is, but he has established himself as one of the best coaches in the league, leading the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance in just his second season.

8. Mike Tomlin-Pittsburgh Steelers
Getty Images

Contract: $8 million/annually

Mike Tomlin has been the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2007, and if you can believe it, is just their third head coach since 1969. He’s had a great amount of success since taking the reins, boasting a 153-86-1 record, but despite this, he remains underpaid when compared to other coaches that have his pedigree.

9. Andy Reid-Kansas City Chiefs
Getty Images

Contract: $8 million/annually

One of the most experienced head coaches in the league, Andy Reid has been a the helm of two different teams since 1999. Firstly, he was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles until 2012, and even though he brought the team six division titles, five trips to the NFC Championship Game, and an appearance in the Super Bowl, the Eagles elected not to extend him.

He was promptly hired by the Chiefs, where he has also had a ton of success, including two Super Bowl appearances and a victory in one of them.

10. Bruce Arians-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Getty Images

Contract: $8 Million/Annually

Bruce Arians is one of my favorite coaches in the league for a variety reasons. He’s incredibly progressive in terms of hiring (all of his coordinators are black and he’s also hired two female assistant coaches as well) in a league that’s known for being backwards in that area.

He was hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019 and set out to turn the franchise around. And turn it around he did, he brought the team its second Super Bowl victory in just his second season.

11. Ron Rivera-Washington Football Club
Getty Images

Contract: $7 Million/Annually

As a head coach, Ron Rivera enjoyed a successful stint as the leader of the Carolina Panthers from 2011-2019, which included a Super Bowl appearance, where the team fell short of a victory. Following a rough start to the 2019 season, Rivera was fired by the Panthers in December but was promptly hired by the Washington Football Team in January 2020.

Playing in a lackluster division, Rivera led Washington to the playoffs despite finishing with a 7-9 record. Off the field, Rivera was also battling a cancer diagnosis throughout the season, but being the fighter that he is, he missed zero games and only three practices.

12. Kliff Kingsbury-Arizona Cardinals
Getty Images

Contract: $5.5 million/annually

Kliff Kingsbury has had an interesting career as a coach thus far, with many having thought that he was perfectly content working in the college football space. He served as the head coach of Texas Tech from 2013-2019 but was not retained by the school at the end of the 2019 season.

Upon leaving Texas Tech, he was hired by the University of Southern California to be their offensive coordinator, but he ended up interviewing with the Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets for their head coaching jobs. He took the Cardinals job and, after two seasons, has a 13-18-1 record.

Categories
NFT Sports

NFTs Are NOT Dead, According to Jack Settleman

I Promise… NFT’s Are Not Dead

I’m not sure people understand how early on we are in this NFT movement. 

The total Top Shot market cap is at 605 million dollars. 

At one point, it was over a billion dollars, so naturally, people are showing concern.

Did I mention that we are early?

Clearly, the public perception is that NFT’s are dead. But I am here to tell you they are not. We are seeing a pullback. We are seeing similar reactions to the dot.com era, where 99 percent of websites failed. But the one percent that survived (Amazon, Google) became monsters. 

Quick reminder, we are early. 

What is important is that NFT’s, celebrity cash grabs are gone… which we’ve been saying. But the tech of NFT’s is going to be the thing of the next decade. As of now, all people know are the youtube clips they are watching. But we are still so early, people don’t understand what this wave can be.

The general idea from Top Shot fans is that it re-engaged them with the NBA. Who captures your attention? That is what matters. The MLB does a terrible job with it. The UFC is making a Dapper Labs product… and is asking you to pay for the viewing experience and give them your time. With the NFL, they own Sunday and Monday… but even our generation watches RedZone. Once again, the tech and utility of NFT’s are an attention and engagement capture. 

Over the next decade, the competition will be over people’s time and attention. 

To finalize things, we are super early in this. It could be five years before we see the fruits of NFT technology.

Categories
Sports Strength

Jordan Fuller Talks Sports Psychology, Getting Stronger, and Family

When you play football at THE Ohio State… and then play in the NFL, you do a lot of interviews and answer a lot of questions. 

The prompts get old and repetitive, but for the most part, the athletes are gracious enough to answer without too much attitude, even though I am sure that they are uninterested. 

Jordan Fuller is no exception. For every question asked, he gives a thoughtful response.

Even the questions that he gets asked over and over, like ‘what is it like playing with Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald?’ or, ‘what was it like to intercept Tom Brady twice in the same game?’

“Yeah I get it asked a lot,” he laughed. “It’s all good though.” 

Fuller has dedicated a good portion of his offseason to his mental training. Of course, when you are in the early stages of your career, you need to get stronger physically. But he also realized that the mental fortitude needed to be as much of a focus.

ONE37pm: How does the body feel now compared to last season? The body is still growing. 

Fuller: “I definitely feel like I am getting stronger. As a rookie, I found out other things I need to work on. Strength, mobility, and overall wellness. My mental. I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a person too. The body feels great. Mentally and spiritually.” 

ONE37pm: So many players have committed to seeing a sports psychologist. Is that something you have dabbled in? 

Fuller: “I wanted to delve into speaking things into existence. And I have, I feel like I am in a good place.”

With the high-stress nature of football, there is a yin and yang to the mental approach of the sport. He explained how going too far on one end can be costly. 

“Get into your zone. Having enough stress so the adrenaline is pumping, but not too much to where it paralyzes you. You wanna get there on command. I’m not there yet, but I am trying” Fuller says.

ONE37pm: Which way do you lean, the pumped up side or chill side?

Fuller: “I’m a thinker, so I’ll be on the more stressed side. So sometimes I need to scale it back. Understanding that nothing is good or bad, don’t make judgments in the moment cause it wastes time.”

Fuller dove deeper into those early judgments. 

“Living with regret. That’s what I hate. The way I approach workouts, games… I hate that. Why wouldn’t I give it my all? That’s what motivates me. Coulda, woulda, shoulda, I hate that” he explains.

Fuller’s awareness is really impressive. He understands his strengths and accepts some of his weaknesses. But his biggest focus is changing HOW he views his weaknesses.

Fuller: “My strengths… I’m smart. I’m consistent. I try to be a good teammate and be another coach on the field. But a lot of times, people won’t see that with the naked eye. There are a lot of things I will bring to the table. Maybe I’m not the quickest or the strongest… there are a bunch of other guys who have that on me. But talking to the psychologist, he reversed that thinking. At Ohio St., as a Freshman, it was a really big jump for me. That might have scarred my thinking a little bit. Thinking like, ‘man, these guys are way better than me.’ My thinking didn’t make sense. I just got in my head sometimes. 

ONE37pm: You make it sound really easy, but there is no way that is the case. Changing your thinking also means changing years and years of habits. So how do you rewire that process?

Fuller: “The other thing I am working on is being present. A little bit of meditation to center myself. Taking a few deep breaths and understanding that a lot of my worries aren’t real or things I can control.”

Needless to say, Jordan Fuller does not sound like your typical 23-year-old. 

ONE37pm: So many people talk about the cliche “welcome to the NFL” feeling or moment. But since you came from Ohio State and your entire family is full of superstars…was that still the case for you? 

Fuller: “In training camp, it might have happened. I was playing with the ones (starters)… blah blah blah. But then I got a pick or something and I said, ‘yeah, I am supposed to be here.’ 

Then we played the Cowboys, with a ton of big names. But then like the first play of the game, I made an assisted tackle with Jalen Ramsay on Amari Cooper. I feel like God sent that knowing that I needed it. Once you get that first hit, you’re good.”

ONE37pm: When you do these interviews, and you do 1,000’s of them, what do you want to be asked? 

Fuller: “Honestly, I want to be asked about other people that I care about. Whether it is my family or a teammate who had a great game. I don’t want to be like, ‘look at me.’ 

I am big on family. The people I am close with… My dad played at TCU. My brother was drafted by the Falcons, and he is one of my best friends. He’s into coaching, and I’ve gotten to watch him grow. Obviously, my mom is one of the best backup singers of all time. My little sister has grown into her own. My brother married into the Holiday family, if you know Jrue, Justin, and Aaron. I’m living rent-free because of Jrue and Lauren right now. She’s the real superstar. Real deal. Great, great people. For real. 

They’ve poured so much into me. It’s been really dope. Being surrounded by excellence has pushed me further. They are the reason why I am so motivated. I definitely think I have the best family in the world.”

That’s the kind of person Jordan Fuller is.

Categories
Sports Strength

The 20 Best NFL Free Agent Wide Receivers

Every offseason in the NFL, fans put their plans together for how they would spend their team’s available salary-cap space. Free agency is a great way to plug holes in a roster with veterans who have, for one reason or another, shaken loose from their old teams.

This year’s wide receiver class was not the strongest in recent years at the top, but it was deep. With most teams dealing with extremely limited finances and a reduced salary cap stemming from a loss in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were a flurry of short term contracts given out by general managers who were seeking depth and value at the position.

The list below ranks the best available free agent wide receivers heading in to the offseason, where they landed, and their outlook for the upcoming 2021 season.

1. Allen Robinson – Tagged by Chicago Bears
Getty Images

Allen Robinson has been an absolute star in the NFL, even though he has been paired up with some of the worst starting quarterbacks since entering the league. 

Blake Bortles. Chad Henne. Chase Daniel. Mitch Trubisky. Nick Foles. 

Will the Bears drafting Justin Fields finally be exactly what Robinson has sorely needed to take the next step and get the respect he deserves? It should be fun to watch. He received the 5th best PFF ranking in the league in 2020 for all wide receivers (88.4) and almost never drops a pass. The Bears franchise tagged him, but they would be wise to lock him up long term sooner than later. 

2. Chris Godwin — Tagged by Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Getty Images

Chris Godwin is one of the top receivers in the game, catching 65 balls for 840 yards and 7 touchdowns in just 12 games in 2020, while boasting a 90.7 PFF grade. In 2019, he had 1,333 yards and 9 touchdowns and has dropped only four passes in three seasons.

The Bucs franchise tagged him during the offseason, but much like Allen Robinson, they should look to give him the long term deal that he is looking for. 

3. Kenny Goladay – Signed by New York Giants
Getty Images

Kenny Golladay signed a massive four-year, $72 million dollar contract ($40 million guaranteed) with the New York Giants, joining a returning Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram on what could be an explosive offense.

Golladay is known as one of the top deep threats in the game, ranking 4th in the NFL in deep receiving yards over the past three years. Giants young quarterback Daniel Jones throws a nice deep ball, so this signing should do wonders for his development.

4. JuJu Smith-Schuster – Signed by Pittsburgh Steelers
Getty Images

JuJu is a polarizing player who seems to have taken a bit of a step backwards during the last two seasons. In 2018, he caught 111 balls for 1426 yards and 7 touchdowns and appeared to be on track to become one of the best wide receivers in the entire league.  An injury shortened 2019 season in which he only played in 12 games resulted in a massive dip in production (42 catches, 552 yards) and was followed by a relatively subpar 2020 campaign (97 catches 831 yards) that was more memorable for TikTok antics than big catches. 

With that said, he has all the tools and motivation to have a huge season in 2021, as the Steelers gave him just a one-year “prove-it” deal. Expect a renewed focus and big things from JuJu in 2021. 

5. Will Fuller IV – Signed by Miami Dolphins
Getty images

Fuller could not have possibly left the Houston Texans at a better time, with the Deshaun Watson mess taking center stage in his former city. He joins a Miami team on the rise, but he comes with quite a few question marks. 

Last season was Fuller’s best as a professional, putting up a career high eight touchdowns in just 11 games before being suspended for six games due to testing positive for PED’s. That suspension will carry over through week 1 of the 2021 season. Were the PED’s partially responsible for the breakout season? Only time will tell. 

Either way, Fuller is an emerging young wide receiver that should have a chance to flourish with the Dolphins young signal caller, Tua Tagovailoa. 

6. Corey Davis – Signed by New York Jets
Getty Images

Corey Davis was selected 5th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft and never lived up to the pre-draft hype. However, in his final season in Tennessee, he had 65 catches for 984 yards and five touchdowns in what was his best season as a pro. 

During the offseason, he signed a 3 year, $37.5 million dollar deal with the New York Jets and looks to become a star under the bright lights of Broadway with Gotham’s newest “savior” quarterback Zach Wilson, who they drafted second overall in the 2021 draft. 

The Jets haven’t had a 1,000 yard receiver since 2015. Will Davis break that streak?

7. Antonio Brown – Signed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Getty images

Brown resigned with the Bucs on a one-year $6.25 million dollar contract this offseason after a bizarre string of incidents that began with forcing his way out of Pittsburgh and being traded to the Raiders, forcing his way out of Las Vegas and signing with the Patriots–where he was released after just one game–and then signing with Tampa Bay, ultimately helping them win a Super Bowl. 

His talent on the field is undeniable, but he comes with so much baggage. I wouldn’t be shocked if he has a big year in Tampa this season, and would also not be shocked if he gets himself in trouble again and winds up playing just a handful of games. 

Brown is coming off of a procedure to repair a torn meniscus, so it’s not quite certain when he will get back on the field yet. 

8. Curtis Samuel – Signed by Washington Football Team
Getty Images

Curtis Samuel joined the Washington Football Team in the offseason, signing a three-year $34.5 million dollar deal and joining fellow Ohio State alumni “Scary” Terry McLaurin to form quite a dangerous wide receiver room. 

Samuel caught 77 passes for Carolina last year for 851 yards including three touchdowns in what was a bit of a breakout season. He also carried the ball 41 times for 200 yards and two touchdowns, illustrating how versatile his skill set is. 

Newly signed quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will look to impart some “FitzMagic” in that Washington offense, and they could be one of the more improved teams in football. This will be a fun team to watch in 2021. 

9. John Brown – Signed by Las Vegas Raiders
Getty Images

Brown signed a one-year $3.75 million dollar deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, his fourth team in five years, the last two of which he spent in Buffalo. Last season for the Bills, he played in just 9 games due to injury issues but in 2019 he had his best season as a pro, tallying 72 receptions for 1,060 yards.

In Las Vegas, Brown joins Henry Ruggs, Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller in what appears to have the makings of quite an explosive offense. 

“The biggest factor was, I had to think about my career,” Brown said shortly after his signing. “I actually turned down more money to come here. I felt like it was the best decision for my career, so I had to put everything else aside and had to try to decide what would make me happy at the end of the day.”

10. Marvin Jones Jr. – Signed by Jacksonville Jaguars
Getty Images

Jones Jr. signed on to play with the up-and-coming Jacksonville Jaguars who will be led by mega-prospect Trevor Lawrence and coached by Urban Meyer. He joins a loaded offense, boasting emerging wide receivers DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault, a running backs room including star rookie running back Travis Etienne and James Robinson, as well as the intrigue of newly signed tight end Tim Tebow. 

How will all of those pieces fit together? It will be interesting to watch. Jones nearly topped 1000 yards in Detroit last season. If he can replicate those numbers in Jacksonville, they have a really good chance of surprising some people. 

Best of the Rest:
11. TY Hilton – Signed by Indianapolis Colts
Getty Images

TY Hilton is a Hall of Famer. Many people will try and argue with that statement, but take a look at the man’s numbers! He has 608 catches for 9360 yards and 50 touchdowns in his nine year career. He signed a one-year, $10 million dollar deal to remain in Indianapolis this offseason, and will likely crack the list of top 50 most receiving yards of all-time at some point this season, passing A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker in the process. 

12. Nelson Agholor – Signed by New England Patriots
Getty Images

Agholor had a sneaky good season for the Raiders last year, totaling 48 catches for 896 yards and five touchdowns, boasting the highest yards-per-catch in the entire league. He is projected to be the Patriots number one receiver this season, which is not exactly a positive for New England. They could be an absolute mess this year, with an unsettled quarterback situation and a lack of talent at the skill positions. Bill Belichick has his work cut out for him.

13. Larry Fitzgerald – FREE AGENT
Getty Images

Larry Fitzgerald is a sure-fire Hall of Famer and one of the greatest to ever play the game. He remains unsigned, but there have been rumblings that he may consider playing his final season in his hometown of Minnesota for the Vikings. That would be bizarre, to say the least. It would be a shame if Fitz were to suit up for another team after 17 years in Arizona, but Tom Brady was the quarterback of the Bucs last season, so I suppose anything is possible.

14. Keelan Cole – Signed by New York Jets
Getty Images

Keelan Cole sign a one-year $5.5 million dollar deal with the New York Jets, joining fellow free agent wide receiver Corey Davis to completely revamp a wide receiver room in dire need of some fresh talent. Known as a solid route runner and for his versatility, he will be a welcomed addition to Gang Green as they look to surround new quarterback Zach Wilson with some weapons. 

15. Sammy Watkins – Signed by Baltimore Ravens
Getty Images

Watkins signed a one-year $5 million dollar deal with the Baltimore Ravens and will give another speedy weapon for former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson to utilize in what appears to be a scary offense that is headlined by another speedster in “Hollywood” Brown and young star running back J.K. Dobbins. Can he stay healthy though? Watkins has played in fewer than ten games in three of the last five seasons. 

16. Emmanuel Sanders – Signed by Buffalo Bills
Getty Images

Sanders has been a part of some prolific offenses in his 11 year NFL career, including the Ben Roethlisberger led Steelers (2010-2013) and the record breaking Peyton Manning led Broncos, and now steps in to Buffalo to catch passes from emerging star quarterback Josh Allen after signing a one-year $2.8 million dollar contract. However, he won’t be asked to carry the load, as Buffalo has Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis already in the mix. You can never have too many weapons, and Sanders will be a veteran addition capable of making big plays in big games. 

17. Adam Humphries – Signed by Washington Football Team
Getty Images

Humphries joins fellow wide receiver Curtis Samuel as another addition to the Washington offense, signing a one-year contract in March. The oft-injured former-Titan gets a fresh start with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was his quarterback for two years in Tampa Bay, where he posted his best season as a pro (76 catches, 816 yards, 5 touchdowns). 

18. Alshon Jeffrey – FREE AGENT
Getty Images

Jeffrey remains unsigned after four injury plagued and underwhelming seasons in Philadelphia. He played in only seven games last season for the Eagles, catching just six passes. With only 12 combined starts the last two seasons, Jeffrey will likely have to accept a one-year prove it deal just to get on a roster. 

19. Danny Amendola – FREE AGENT
Getty Images

Amendola, like Jeffrey, remains unsigned and is fighting an uphill battle just to get on an NFL roster after catching just 46 passes for 602 yards last season for Detroit. The odds are high that we have likely seen the last of Amendola in the league, but with an expanded season and injuries, you never know. 

20. Tyrell Williams – Signed by Detroit Lions
Getty Images

Williams signed a one-year $6.2 million dollar contract with the Detroit Lions, pairing with new quarterback Jared Goff after the Lions traded franchise signal caller Matthew Stafford to the Rams earlier this offseason. The former Raider missed the entire 2020 season due to a shoulder injury, but had a promising 2019 campaign in which he caught 42 passes for 651 yards and six touchdowns. He is somehow currently number one on the Lions depth chart at wide receiver, a group that also starts Breshad Perriman and Kalif Raymond, which is underwhelming to say the least. The Lions are going to be historically bad this season.

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

Analyzing The Trends: The Hottest Rookie Quarterbacks

Recent NFL drafts have yielded some exciting rookie quarterbacks, and their impacts on the card market have not gone unnoticed.

In 2016, we had Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott. In 2017, we had hobby darlings emerge in Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. In 2018, five were taken in the first round, including Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield. In 2019, Kyler Murray was selected by the Cardinals with the top pick, just one year after they chose another quarterback in the first round (Josh Rosen). In 2020, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert headlined a class that also included the emerging Jalen Hurts. Finally, in 2021, we saw an exciting new crop of rookie signal-callers, with Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance selected with the top three picks.

Card prices for the largely unproven rookie quarterbacks tend to be strong out of the gate, but the hype typically dies down a bit and prices drop over time.

Below, I will analyze the card prices and trends of some of the hottest young quarterbacks dating back to 2018 (the point at which the hobby started to rapidly grow) to see if we can form some expectations about this year’s recently drafted rookies.

1. Baker Mayfield – 2018 Round 1, Pick 1
Getty Images

When analyzing football cards, I tend to look at three flagship Panini rookie cards: Prizm Silver, Contenders Cracked Ice, and National Treasures Rookie Patch Auto /99.

While accurate and reliable historical data is not available for Baker’s latter two cards, we still have some good data on his base and Silver Prizms, and can use recent sales data to gauge where his cards are in the market.

The first recorded Prizm Silver PSA 10 sale for Baker Mayfield occurred on March 13th, 2019 with a sale price of $1,299.99.

For hobby context, on 3/19/2019, a Patrick Mahomes Prizm PSA 10 sold for $180. Mahomes was announced the MVP the prior month. It’s important to remember that Mahomes’ Prizm Silver is not a true Silver, in that it wasn’t short printed with a higher print run base version.

On 8/9/2019, the Mahomes’ /49 Red Power Prizm sold for $1,500, just slightly higher than Mayfield’s Silver Prizm.

While Mahomes hadn’t yet won a Super Bowl, the data shows that rookie quarterbacks can command significant prices at the thought of their potential performance vs. actual performance of accomplished veterans. Mayfield didn’t win “Rookie of The Year”, but had a strong season and it was enough that everyone was clamoring for his cards during new product releases.

Due to a very low population (13) of the Silver Baker Mayfield PSA 10s, there aren’t many recent sales:

CardLadder

However, after the 2019 season, the price of this card dropped by 38%.

In 2021, after a promising play-off run and strong off-season acquisitions by the Browns, his cards are again on an upward swing:

CardLadder

This is Mayfield’s base Prizm PSA 10 and with a pop of 859, we have plenty more sales data to look at. The card bottomed out in November 2020, dropping to $107.50 from a previous high of $345, but has since climbed to new heights at a price of $415.

Because of this rise in his base price, his silver Prizm is predicted to be worth $4,909.22 by Cardladder.

Mayfield’s National Treasures Rookie Patch Auto /99 last sold on May 11, 2021 for $6,000 (ungraded), which is a data point we’ll use later to compare with new rookie quarterbacks Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow.

2. Kyler Murray – 2019 Round 1, Pick 1 (ROTY)
Getty Images

The initial recorded sale of a Kyler Murray Silver Prizm PSA 10 occurred 1/23/2020 for $320. The card quickly climbed to it’s peak price of $4,950 on 9/4/2020, representing 1446% growth!

The Cardinals are in a competitive division, finishing 8-8 overall in the 2020 season, but the acquisition of Deandre Hopkins proved to contribute some new value to Murray’s cards.

After record prices leading into his second year, the card has retreated in value to $2,247, a 54% decrease.

Mayfield had similar hype going into his second season, with his Silver Prizm PSA 10’s hitting a record-high of $1,350 on July 20th. It then retreated 46% to a new low of $718 on 3/2/2020.

These are two examples of first overall picks, both with record highs just prior to their 2nd season, with an average dip of 50% in the following offseason.

3. Joe Burrow – 2020 Round 1, Pick 1
Justin Herbert – 2020 Round 1, Pick 6 (ROTY)
Getty Images

Justin Herbert is the sought-after quarterback of the 2020 draft class, but it’s prudent to look at both Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert heading into the 2021 season.

Burrow’s Prizm Silver PSA 10 (pop 42) is currently valued at $2,900, while Justin Herbert’s Silver PSA 10 (pop 45) recently brought in $6,200.

It’s important to recognize that the populations of Burrow, Herbert, and future rookies are going to be higher.

Baker Mayfield has just 13 Silver Prizm PSA 10s – there may still be some raw versions floating out there, but I wouldn’t expect a huge rise in those numbers. Kyler Murray’s Silver Prizm has a pop 142 and has been out a year longer than Burrow and Herbert.

That’s a 992% increase in PSA 10s from Mayfield to Murray.

It’s important to consider gem rates (% of cards submitted to PSA receiving a 10 grade), so let’s look at some data:

2018 Prizm Silver Baker Mayfield: 21% gem rate on 61 total submitted cards

2019 Prizm Silver Kyler Murray: 38% gem rate on 366 submitted cards

2020 Prizm Silver Justin Herbert: 13% gem rate on 346 submitted cards

2020 Prizm Silver Joe Burrow: 19% gem rate on 224 submitted cards

At this point, with card grading companies raising prices and temporarily suspending operations on certain packages, combined with lower than normal gem rates for the 2020 draft class, it might help with PSA 10 population control.

Next, we turn to the National Treasures Rookie Patch Auto that is numbered to 99 copies and won’t be affected by direct population increases. It can be argued that there are more rookie patch autos available for newer rookies between new sets and parallels, but the /99 copy is recognized as the true rookie patch auto amongst collectors. 

Burrow’s latest National Treasures Rookie Patch Auto /99 sale (it’s a redemption to receive the card in the future, not the actual card) sold for $19,995.

Herbert’s latest National Treasures Rookie Patch Auto /99 sales were for $36,300 and $50,000.

These are big numbers for unproven players, especially when we saw the previous two top quarterbacks prices retreat 50% after their second season.

Mayfield made the playoffs, but his National Treasures RPA /99 sold for 83% less than Herbert’s $36,300 RPA. 

4. The Trevor Lawrence Effect
Getty Images

The 2021 draft class is an intriguing one with three quarterbacks going off the board in the top three picks, featuring Clemson mega-prospect Trevor Lawrence. 

Lawrence has been described as a generational talent by some, and it’s likely to build excitement around the football card market. While it’s hard to show direct cause and effect, top players prices do seem to influence the rest of the market. 

For example, Patrick Mahomes National Treasures Rookie Patch Auto sold for $50,000 on July 9th, 2020. The following March, it sold for $297,660:

CardLadder

Would Herbert’s RPA /99 still sell for five-figures if former MVP and Super Bowl Champ Patrick Mahomes’ RPA was still sitting at $50,000? 

It’s unlikely. 

It’s also interesting that after the 3/6/21 record sale of Mahomes’ RPA, Deshaun Watson’s RPA /99 set a record on 3/20/21 for $19,680: 

CardLadder

This represents a 228% increase. It’s not quite the 495% increase the Mahomes’ RPA experienced, but it is an indication that the top of the market pulled up another promising young QB. 

It’s worth noting that Lamar Jackson’s RPA /99 has experienced a decline in the month after the Mahomes’ new record sale, when the price dropped from $18,000 to $12,000: 

CardLadder

However, Jackson’s RPA peak sale of $24,990 occurred on July 30th, 2020, three weeks after Mahomes’ initial record price of $50,000 on July 9th 2020. 

The peak Jackson sale was 25% above it’s previous sale, while the Mahomes record was 54% higher than its previous sale. The Mahomes to Jackson growth ratio was about double, similar to the Mahomes to Watson growth ratio. 

The takeaway here is that top-of-market record sales don’t automatically bring up every other card, but it does seem to elevate the next hot player and in a similar growth pattern. 

We’ll look at two more data points before discussing Lawrence and his potential impact on the card market: 

Patrick Mahomes Prizm PSA 10 (pop 865): Sold on July 26th for $8,488, a 39% increase 

Lamar Jackson Silver Prizm PSA 10 (pop 24): Sold on 8/9/2020 for $16,320, a 230% increase

These two sales may not be directly related, but many collectors and investors try to use comps to figure out how much to pay for a card. In the case of Jackson’s Silver Prizm, the low population makes it hard to come up with a price on an exact comp. 

It’s possible that buyers used Mahomes’ new prices as a data point when making a bid, thus pushing Jackson’s silver into a record price. 

So, could Trevor Lawrence have a similar effect on the rookie market? 

While Lawrence’s flagship rookie cards (Prizm, Contenders and National Treasures) won’t be released until after the season begins and in some cases after the season ends, it’s possible he shows signs that he’s playing to his potential and that it could influence the overall market. 

As we’ve seen with Murray and Mayfield, the market can quickly forget about once-promising quarterbacks and move to the next batch. 

Many are likely chasing the next Mahomes, and who wouldn’t? If you make that $40,000 bet on a Justin Herbert card, and you’re right, you could potentially have life-changing gains. 

If Lawrence plays well, and his initial cards command high prices, who wouldn’t want to start chasing the next Lawrence? There are a lot of variables to play out, but other rookies may benefit if Lawrence plays to his potential. And that’s a big if. 

5. Tying it All Together
Getty Images

There are a lot of quarterbacks in the NFL who show potential and collectability in today’s market, but it’s critical to remember that only one team walks away a Super Bowl champion each year. There’s only one league MVP, and the team (and coaching) around a player matters significantly in their chances of success. 

Tom Brady has set the top of the market, followed by Patrick Mahomes. Brady has won seven Super Bowls. Mahomes has one, but has been to three straight AFC championships and back-to-back Super Bowls. 

Brady is an anomaly, and even Mahomes might still have more to prove to match his card values, but he has a stellar team and coaching staff around him. 

Players like Lawrence, Herbert, Mayfield and Murray will have a lot of time to prove their worth and win championships (barring injury) but the market quickly forgets, so tread carefully as you make your football card investments. 

Categories
NFT Sports

DeVonta Smith’s NFTs Offer Unprecedented Access, According to Jack Settleman

When DeVonta Smith’s name is called during the NFL draft, history will be made. Smith plans on minting that moment of him getting drafted and selling it. It is just another addition to this incredible NFT wave. 

This will be part of a series of NFTs that Smith intends on dropping. The series includes highlights from college, digital art pieces featuring his Heisman Trophy, and digital cards capturing iconic moments of him during college.

Smith was a standout wide receiver at Alabama. Last season, he reeled in 117 catches and found the endzone on 23 different occasions. He led the NCAA in both catches and touchdowns scored.

When Alabama defeated Ohio State in the National Championship, Smith was voted MVP. In the first half alone, he had three touchdowns and 215 yards.

But Smith’s involvement in the NFT world won’t stop on draft day. The Heisman Trophy winner plans on engaging with his fans by creating “Smitty Coins.” Fans will be able to use those coins in a variety of unique ways to get exclusive access to Smith. 

Here are the things you can do with “Smitty Coins”: 

  • Play video games with Smith
  • Facetime with him 
  • Dinner
  • MNF Watch Party
  • Go to a game and meet with him on the field 
  • Signed gear and memorabilia 

Previously in these blogs, I have talked about all of the celebrities trying to capitalize on this wave. However, some of their efforts have fallen short and been clear cash grabs. With Smith, though, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Smith appears to understand the NFT community and wants to provide utility to any of the buyers of his products. From what we know, he is entering the space in the right way. Smith’s focus seems to be in the long-term and not as a short-term way to make a quick buck.

Hallelujah.

Categories
Sports Strength

NFL Draft Prospect Rashad Weaver Is Cool, Calm, and Confident

Rashad Weaver is one of the highest-rated prospects at his position in this year’s NFL draft, and yes, he is listed at 6’5, 270 lbs, and yes, he is in the middle of a crazy time in his life. 

He has a lot of things that you want in a draft prospect. And those things are well documented. 

But what about which Jordans he will wear on draft night? What about his favorite cheat meal spot? What do people get wrong about him? 

There are a lot of people providing voices and opinions during the weeks leading up to the NFL draft, so it was a refreshing change of pace to hear thoughts directly from the source of one of the players. 

ONE37pm, meet Rashad Weaver.

The University of Pittsburgh defensive lineman is one focused cat. Of course, the days around the NFL draft can be complex. He doesn’t know where he will live for the foreseeable future and if you put yourself in that scenario, there would be some discomfort. 

But don’t confuse that uncertainty with a lack of confidence. Because Weaver knows that he’s got game. 

Bo Templin: Have you set goals for yourself already? Or are you waiting to see where you go first? 

Rashad Weaver: I don’t know how other people go about it. For me, yeah I set goals. My goal is to be the defensive rookie of the year. Be starting on the team. You know, they are drafting me to be a top player…My goal is to meet every expectation, plus one.

And it is responses like those that make him a coveted NFL prospect. That confidence is infectious. But it isn’t a loud, boisterous confidence. It is quiet, in the shadows. When he delivers a sack or a big play, he will act accordingly. 

Templin: Are you a celebrations guy? Do you plan any out? 

Weaver: If you don’t have celebrations in mind, I feel like you’re not expecting big plays. In college, I knew what moves I would celebrate with cause I expected myself to get a couple of sacks or big plays. I think it’s all a part of the mindset.

Obviously, winning is the most important thing. It is all about winning. But if you are doing your job… celebrating can bring the team and yourself energy and people can feed off of that. 

Templin: You obviously get a player comparison question all the time. So I’m not going to ask you about ‘Jason Pierre-Paul’ or anything like that. But is there a career you would want to model yours after? Whether it be longevity, endorsements, or commercials? 

Weaver: “Yeah. First, for defensive players, it is tough to get sponsors. You gotta be the top, best of the best—defensive rookie of the year, that type of stuff. And just football in general cause we have our helmets on, we don’t have much facial recognition… I could say right from Pittsburgh; I’d say Aaron Donald. What he strung in his first 7-8 years in the league, that got him plants of endorsements. You see a lot with J.J. Watt.”

Templin: Any idea what you are going to wear on draft night? 

Weaver: Yeah, chill outfit. Jordans.

Templin: Which Jordans?

Weaver: I don’t know, we will have to see when the picture drops.

Sorry ONE37pm family, I tried.

Templin: How about a favorite cheat meal spot?

Weaver: I was super strict during my pro-day training. But during those cheat meals… fried chicken honestly. Chicken wings.

Templin: OK, but what kind of wings? Mom’s homemade or a spot?

Weaver: Anywhere. The spot, bar, restaurant… any chicken wings anywhere. Or I am big on sweets. Shakes are my thing… There are a couple of places in Pittsburgh. GetGo is a convenience store in Pittsburgh and they have a late-night menu with an oreo shake.

Weaver is destined for big things. Sure, there may be uncertainty right now.

But his success feels inevitable.

Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

Myles Garrett Is Tackling The Global Water Crisis By Partnering With Waiakea

Myles Garrett put it simply. 

“There are people who do not know what clean water looks like. They do not know what it tastes like. There are people drinking the same water as their livestock.” 

Today is World Water Day, and the NFL Superstar wants to do his part to help address the growing crisis that affects people all over the world. 

One of the most important things to remember about athletes is that they have a life outside of the game. For Garrett, he is focused on helping others and giving back, wherever and however he can.

It is easy to get caught up in our lives. For a large majority of the United States, water is something that we take for granted. 

When I talked with Myles, I was curious about something that I myself struggle with. So many people are advised to “not care what other people think.” Yet, it is so important to be a good representation of your family, the company you work for, or any community you might be a part of. Garrett says it comes down to one thing: 

“My mom kinda said there was only one thing that mattered, kindness. She was the one who showed me the water crisis when I was a kid.”

He said that he knows what it is like to, “be under the microscope,” and to be at the center of the conversation, but he does his best to not pay that much attention.

Instead, Garrett said that he has a lot of faith “in listening to my heart and my gut.” He feels that he is in a position where he can really change the world and affect lives. 

I asked Garrett about seeing the lives he is affecting through his new partnership with Waiakea

“I went on a trip a little over a year ago to Africa and that really opened my eyes.” 

Obviously, during this pandemic, it is difficult to get around, but Garrett is, “absolutely,” going back to Africa as soon as he can. This is something that he speaks about with passion. 

“People have stomach aches and headaches from drinking unsafe water.” 

When you are a superstar in the NFL, there is no shortage of networking opportunities and Garrett wants to put the power he has and the advantages he has to the test.

“I’ve been able to get David Njoku to help out. I am trying to get Baker (Mayfield) and Christian McCaffrey next.” 

But not all of us are friends with Baker Mayfield. I wanted to know what can someone such as myself do? What can the average person do to help this cause?

“Just donate. The amount doesn’t even matter cause anything helps.”

And he’s right. 

A $5 donation can hydrate a community for a week or a farmer for a month. 

No one is asking people to break the bank. But that statistic really proves a lot. Every little bit helps.