2021 was a memorable year for NFL fans. After the 2020 season, which was cut short due to limited attendance, stadiums saw a return to full capacity. The stadium parking lots were once again filled with tailgaters eagerly anticipating the event and their barbequed camaraderie.
Investors in Bitcoin (BTC), also had a good year. The largest cryptocurrency market capitalization, Bitcoin (BTC), reached new highs multiple times through 2021. It reached $69,000 by November. This resulted in a significant increase in media coverage about Bitcoin.
In 2021, seven NFL players decided to call the audible. They will either be paid in crypto or have their cash salary partially converted into crypto. These players took advantage of the return to regular season and increased profitability of Bitcoin.
In a Nov. 1, video posted on Twitter, the reigning MVP of 2020 NFL announced that he had partnered with Cash App to accept Bitcoin as a payment method. Rodgers will be earning approximately $22.3 million this season.
Rodgers was seen in the video dressed up as John Wick at a Halloween party. Rodgers told viewers, as if by design, that he would donate $1,000,000 in Bitcoin to the cause.
Rodgers will receive a portion from his salary to his Cash App account. He will use this money to purchase BTC.
The Green Bay Packers’ star quarterback has a Twitter account that features a photo of him playing in a laser-eye game. This further signals his support for BTC.
Tom Brady, another high-profile NFL quarterback, was also a crypto enthusiast in 2021. Brady hasn’t yet stated that he will receive payment in Bitcoin by the NFL. However, FTX will pay him in crypto after he purchased an equity stake in Sam Bankman Fried’s exchange. He will also serve as a brand ambassador.
Brady is not content to only invest in crypto assets. In April, the legendary football star created his own NFT platform called Autograph to attract top talent in entertainment, sports and pop culture.
Tom Brady getting into Crypto was a top signal pic.twitter.com/hc6qxQou9o
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady), October 20, 2021
But it doesn’t stop there for Brady or crypto. Brady threw his 600th touchdown pass in October. This was an all-time record for the NFL and helped secure Brady’s place as the most successful touchdown passer in league history. Brady paid 1 BTC for the fan who received the ball from the receiver who scored the touchdown.
The BTC was valued at $62,000 at the time, but the actual ball may have a value of over $500,000 according Goldin Auctions, a sports memorabilia auction company.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr., (OBJ), followed Aaron Rodgers’ lead by announcing late November that he had partnered up with Cash App to receive his salary in BTC from the NFL. According to his contract, he will receive approximately $4.25million from the NFL for this season.
According to the Los Angeles Rams wide receiver, Beckham promised fans that he would return $1 million in Bitcoin as part of his new partnership. Beckham is no stranger to crypto and NFT as his Twitter profile features a Crypto Punk TFT.
Jack Dorsey’s Cash App has been involved in both the OBJ and Aaron Rodgers BTC salary deals. Through the first three quarters, the payment app has enjoyed a phenomenal 2021 with nearly $10 billion in revenue. This is thanks to 36 million users and 100,000,000 downloads.
The Carolina Panthers’ star quarterback has joined the ranks with other NFL stars who accept crypto payments. Lawrence’s deal is not directly with the NFL. An endorsement deal was made with FTX, formerly Blockfolio, to pay the top 2021 NFL draft pick crypto salary.
Congratulations on being #Trevorlawrencee’s #1 pick! We have a surprise for your — check your @blockfolio accounts for $25k in SOL. Thanks to you, tonight is crypto! pic.twitter.com/ci8yHp3e8W
— SBF (@SBF_FTX), April 30, 2021
Although the deal’s value has not been disclosed, it is possible that Lawrence has seen an increase in his crypto earnings and Solana (SOL), coins. Since April, when the deal was made public, the total crypto market capital has increased by approximately $500 billion.
Saquon Barkley is the New York Giants’ superstar running back. He revealed that he converted all of his endorsement money into Bitcoin in July. Barkley, like most of the others on this list is not receiving crypto directly. Instead, he trades some of his cash earnings to crypto.
Barkley uses Strike to purchase his BTC. However, he isn’t the only NFL player to use Strike for buying BTC with his salary. Russel Okung, a former NFL offensive lineman, was the first to publicly disclose that Strike was used to convert his NFL salary into BTC.
Barkley was motivated to accumulate wealth using Bitcoin because of the low longevity of NFL players. Anthony Pompliano, host of The Best Business Show, told Barkley on July 15:
“When you look at the Lebrons, Bradys, and KD’s of the world, and you want to create generations of wealth, then you can’t with the sport I play and the position I play, and coming off injuries. You realize how much this game could be taken from you if you are absent for more than a year.
Sean Culkin, the Kansas City Chiefs’ tight-end, made public his plans to convert all of his salary from the NFL into Bitcoin. Culkin will be converting 100% of his salary to Bitcoin, unlike others who have pledged to convert a small portion of their salaries into Bitcoin or receive endorsements using cryptos.
I believe Bitcoin is the future in finance. I wanted to prove I had real money and not just making a quick buck. I will convert my entire 2021 NFL salary into #Bitcoin.
Sean Culkin (@culkin22), April 26, 2021
Culkin, like Saquon Barkley’s decision to turn to crypto is based on the short half-life of players in the league. Statista reports that the average NFL athlete spends 3.3 years in the league. Culkin stated in a statement that:
“Considering my career, particularly its physical demands and short life span, it makes sense to be paid in sound currency that I believe preserves its purchasing power over the long term.”
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers’ running back, is last but not least on this list of NFL players earning crypto. In September, Jones signed a deal to become an ambassador for FTX. Jones bought an equity stake in the exchange, just like Tom Brady.
Jones will integrate the FTXPay platform into his charity’s website in order to allow it to take crypto donations.
I received my first NFT Shout to @MaisonDeGOAT. Thank you for welcoming me to #GOATz. pic.twitter.com/oLRquKjGRE
— Aaron Jones 33 (@Showtyme_33) December 9, 2021
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