Russell Wilson is the new kid on the block — 25 years old, coming off an amazing sophomore season and a fresh Super Bowl champion. He’s charming, marketable and damn good at playing quarterback.
Which is why it should surprise nobody that Wilson has become the league’s biggest draw when it comes to merchandise sales.
That is according to the NFLPA, which released a list of the top sellers from the last full fiscal year. A look at the top 10:
1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
2. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
3. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
4. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
6. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
7. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
8. Eli Manning, New York Giants
9. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
10. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Manning was knocked from the top of the mountain by Wilson, but that only makes sense because Peyton’s been around forever and has now been in Denver long enough that those initial buys on his new jersey have finally started to settle down.
You’ll notice that three of the top four players on the list have only been NFL starting quarterbacks for two years. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are established, but in 2011 there was no such thing as NFL merchandise for Wilson, Kaepernick or Griffin. Same rule applies to Luck in the No. 9 spot.
But Wilson rose above all from the No. 19 spot because Griffin and Luck were studs as rookies. Wilson was also stellar in his 2012 rookie season, but he wasn’t a first-round pick. As a result, he didn’t have the same early impact on merchandise sales but has made up for lost sales by killing it in 2013 and 2014.
The question, now, is who might be next to climb all the way to the top? Johnny Manziel makes a lot of sense if he can succeed early, especially in a big market and on a winning team.