While Wilson generates millions for the NFL, he is set to earn only $662,434 this coming season after banking $526,217 in playing salary last year. His low pay is a function of the 2011 NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, which states that rookie contracts cannot be renegotiated until three seasons have passed. So despite his star status, Wilson is locked into a salary that ranks third among QBs on the Seahawks roster behind Terrelle Pryor and Tavaris Jackson.
It is the first time the NFLPI released year-end ranks of the best-selling players across all categories. Sales include jerseys, t-shirts, photos, bobbleheads and other accessories sold by 70 NFLPI licensees like Nike, Fanatics, Fathead and McFarlane Toys. The NFLPI, which is the marketing and licensing arm of the NFL Players Association, says total licensed product sales surpassed $1 billion between March 2013 and February 2014.
Wilson’s teammates’, running back Marshawn Lynch (No. 7) and cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 12), also made the cut. Lynch is the only non-quarterback to make the top 10. Wilson’s opposing quarterback in the Super Bowl, Peyton Manning, ranked second after leading the NFLPI rankings the previous year in his first season with the Broncocs. The NFL is a quarterback’s league and this ranking is no different with 17 signal-callers cracking the top 50. “These are the faces of the franchise and fans gravitate to them,” says Scebelo, who also cites the importance of QBs in fantasy football. “We are seeing [fantasy football] influence sales more and more,” he says.
Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks dominate the head of the list with six in the top 10, including Wilson, Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Drew Brees. Young, star QBs also populate the top ten with Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. Scebelo says their sales have moved well beyond the regional strongholds where their teams are popular. “These young guys have captivated the audience and are really resonating with the fan base,” says Scebelo. “Guys are breaking through more quickly than ever before.”
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is the highest-ranked defensive player at No. 11. Pittsburgh Steelers’ mainstay defensive back Troy Polamalu ranks in the top 20 for a third straight year. He peaked at No. 2 in 2011 and ranked No. 17 for this past season.
Source: Forbes.com by Kurt Badenhausen