How Many Millions Will Johnny Manziel Make in the NFL?

Johnny Manziel is one of the biggest celebrities to come out of college football in recent memory. How many millions will he make as an NFL quarterback?

Jan 18, 2014 at 10:05AM

He won the Heisman Trophy and was given college football's best nickname, "Johnny Football," all before he could legally drink. Now Johnny Manziel is going pro, and with the Joe Montana and Joe Namath comparisons being thrown around like bad-hair jokes at a Donald Trump roast, many are excited about the quarterback's future.

Manziel is all but guaranteed to become a millionaire on NFL Draft Day, so the obvious question becomes: How many millions will he make?

The contract
The answer comes in many parts, beginning with the contract. Almost every analyst expects Manziel to be drafted in the first round, and he'll likely be taken off the board sooner rather than later. If he goes within the top 10 picks, his rookie deal should be worth between $12 million and $22 million over four years.

Since the NFL's rookie wage scale was introduced in 2011, six QBs have been drafted in the first 10 picks.

QBTeamOverall pick # (Year)Contract*
 
Signing Bonus
Andrew Luck Indianapolis 1 (2012) $22.1M, 4 years $14.5M
Robert Griffin III Washington 2 (2012) $21.1M, 4 years $13.8M
Ryan Tannehill Miami 8 (2012) $12.7M, 4 years $7.6M
Cam Newton Carolina 1 (2011) $22.0M, 4 years $14.5M
Jake Locker Tennessee 8 (2011) $12.0M, 4 years $7.6M
Blaine Gabbert Jacksonville 10 (2011) $12.0M, 4 years $7.2M

Sources: NFL and Spotrac. *Not included is one footnote of the rookie wage scale, which gives all teams the option to extend their first-round picks for a fifth year. As Bleacher Report explains, this decision must be made "after the third year of [a player's] contract, but before the start of his fourth season," and any top 10 pick is paid "the average of the salaries of the top 10 players in the league at his position," about $17 million by the author's calculations.

Recent history suggests that if Manziel is a top-10 pick, he could expect upwards of $5 million a year, plus a signing bonus of about $3.5 million. The Cleveland Browns, who hold the fourth pick, are reportedly "very high" on Manziel, according to CBS Sports. He could also go to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 3 or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 7 if Cleveland decides pass.

All of this, of course, is speculation. The sheer quantity of teams in need of a QB, though, means Manziel is unlikely to fall outside of the draft's top 10. In a best-case scenario, the total value of his contract could surpass $50 million if his fifth-year option is exercised come 2017. 

The endorsements
For a player as meteoric as Manziel, endorsements will be a major part of his fortune. The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Manziel confirmed the rumors: he'd chosen marketing firm LRMR to manage his sponsorships.

LRMR was co-founded by LeBron James and a group including Maverick Carter, who Forbes says has "solidified relationships" with McDonald's (NYSE:MCD)Nike (NYSE:NKE)Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and State Farm. Manziel and LeBron have publicly acknowledged their friendship.

Screen Shot

Image via jmanziel2, Instagram. March 31, 2013.

James' endorsements with these companies and a few others earn him more than $40 million annually. 

The highest paid NFL star, in terms of sponsorship dollars, is Peyton Manning, who makes an estimated $12 million to $15 million per year. Of the six recently drafted QBs listed above, though, the most marketable are Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton. Both make between $2 million and $3 million in endorsements annually, according to Bleacher Report.

It should be no problem for Manziel to match these two, if not exceed them. From his friendship with rapper Drake to his relationship with LeBron, Manziel's celebrity is already more developed than most of his NFL peers. Endorsement deals that pay him something like $8 million a year -- a middle ground between Manning, Griffin, and Newton -- aren't out of the question.

The future
With nearly four months until the draft, a lot could change. If the injury bug strikes Manziel or he has a poor combine, there's a chance NFL squads could sour on him. Those odds remain very slim, however, and it's also possible Manziel could vault to the No. 1 pick. Somewhat more likely is further public relations trouble, which could hamper his appeal as an endorser. He's already experienced more than his share of negative notoriety, including a half-game suspension for "inadvertently violating" NCAA rules about receiving money for autographs, an arrest over a late-night fight, and an early departure from the Manning Passing Academy after oversleeping. If he avoids scandal going forward, businesses will have no problem chalking that up to youthful exuberance.

Barring a catastrophe, "Johnny Football" can make close to $50 million in salary his first five years in the league, and endorsement dollars can come close to matching this figure. If LRMR can establish Manziel as a Manning-esque persona, it's plausible he could make even more off the field.

A total take north of $90 million by 2019 remains a possibility, particularly if he leads a team like the Browns or Jaguars back to NFL relevance.

The next step
Want to figure out how to profit on business analysis like this? The key is to learn how to turn business insights into portfolio gold by taking your first steps as an investor. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal-finance experts show you what you need to get started, and even gives you access to some stocks to buy first. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

Fool contributor Jake Mann has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Nike. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Nike. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers