The NFL Draft has grown from an under-the-radar insider event into a three-day television extravaganza attracting fans and businesses across the globe.
Quarterbacks could very well rule the top half of this year’s first round on a level we’ve never seen before, and many of tonight’s top prospects are already becoming bona fide brands.
It’s no secret companies love quarterbacks. Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes earns a reported $7 million per year from endorsements and sponsors pay Tom Brady an estimated $12 million annually. Peyton Manning pops up every time you turn on the TV.
Former Clemson quarterback and presumptive first-overall pick Trevor Lawrence is headed in that direction. He’s already scored a multiyear deal with Gatorade worth up to $2 million a year and signed on to promote crypto exchange Blockfolio. That partnership includes a signing bonus paid in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana.
More notable endorsements for other projected top picks (all QBs):
- Former BYU standout Zach Wilson signed with Nike in April.
- Ex-Ohio State star Justin Fields signed his first deal with C4 Energy.
- Chipotle is naming burrito bowls after Fields, Wilson, and Trey Lance of NDSU, including a vegetarian option to coincide with Fields’ vegan diet.
2020 Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith is also seizing this moment. The wide receiver partnered with VRST, a men’s apparel brand launched by Dick’s Sporting Goods in March. Smith is VRST’s first professional athlete endorser.
In past years, we’ve seen draftees like Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster use the lining of his draft-night blazer to promote his partnership with Pizza Hut. We’ll see what brands take the opportunity to get creative tonight.