Not all NFL players are paid equally. For all the individuals who make serious loot, there are a handful of stars making way less than they deserve. As unfortunate as this is, especially when it comes to these players’ bank accounts, at least there’s one thing folks can’t take away from them: their popularity. How do we know this? Merchandise sales, obviously.
Thanks to the release of the latest “NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales List,” we now know which players had the greatest “total sales of all officially licensed NFL player merchandise from March 1 through November 30, 2016.” Of course, in the end, only one player can lead the pack. Which individual holds the No. 1 spot? Check out the top 10 and see for yourself.
10. Cam Newton
The 2016 season was one to forget for Cam Newton. A year after winning MVP and leading his Carolina Panthers, the king of the dab went 6-8 as a starter, completed 52.9% of his passes, and threw 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. And yet, from a merchandise sales standpoint, Newton didn’t miss a beat, finishing fourth in jerseys sales and No. 10 overall. If Cam has a bounce-back year in 2017, don’t be surprised to see him near the top of the list next time around.
9. Rob Gronkowski
Injuries may have limited Rob Gronkowski to eight games in 2016, but they certainly didn’t hinder his popularity with the people. The All-Pro tight end finished fifth in overall jersey sales, second in pet jerseys (sold through Fanatics), and fifth in total Fanatics sales. Moral of the story: No one can stop Gronk.
8. Dak Prescott
No one expected Dak Prescott — a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft — to set the world on fire. And that’s exactly what the former Mississippi State standout did. Prescott put together one of the finest seasons by a first-year quarterback ever, going 13-3 as a starter, completing 67.8% of his passes with a quarterback rating of 104.9, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl, and winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
A performance like this definitely inspired the people, as Prescott finished No. 8 in overall merchandise sales while topping all NFL players in Fanatics sales.
7. Aaron Rodgers
Once again, Aaron Rodgers proved why many consider him to be the best quarterback in the game today. In 2016, the Packers QB threw for 4,428 yards and a league-best 40 touchdown passes. He completed 65.7% of his passes and earned his third straight trip to the Pro Bowl. It’s hardly shocking that his gear flew off the shelves. After all, Green Bay does have the best fans in the National Football League.
6. Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson continued to show why he is among the most popular players in the NFL. Despite missing out on the Pro Bowl, the fifth-year quarterback managed to sell the third-most jerseys while finishing No. 6 overall on the total merchandise sales list. As long as the Seahawks remain one of the top teams in the league, Wilson’s status as a fan favorite is pretty much secure.
5. Carson Wentz
Although Carson Wentz’s rookie campaign wasn’t as impressive as Prescott’s, it’s clear the Philadelphia faithful — and football fans in general — feel good about his potential. The former North Dakota State sensation, who started all 16 games in 2016, was second in Fanatics sales, fifth in jersey and apparel sales for Nike, and topped all players in pet jersey sales (through Fanatics), fleece, T-shirts, and kids jerseys from Outerstuff, and player-identified caps from Lids and New Era.
4. Odell Beckham Jr.
Following a third straight season of at least 1,300 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns, Odell Beckham Jr.’s popularity continued to soar. The three-time Pro Bowler was third in pet jerseys sold through Fanatics and second in overall jersey sales. OBJ’s antics might rub some people the wrong way, but based on this information, it’s clear he has more fans than haters.
3. Dez Bryant
Dez Bryant played 13 games in 2016, yet it was enough to help him earn a third-career trip to the Pro Bowl. The superstar wideout finished the season with 50 receptions, 796 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns. He also averaged 15.9 receiving yards per reception. While this production may appear to be below Bryant’s standouts, the fans clearly don’t seem to mind.
2. Ezekiel Elliott
It didn’t take long for Ezekiel Elliott — selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 draft — to make a serious splash in Dallas. The former Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year had 15 rushing touchdowns (16 overall scores) and led the NFL in rushes (322), rushing yards per game (108.7), and total rushing yards (1,631). As you can see, Zeke’s electric play, along with a contagious personality, made him a fan favorite in 2016.
1. Tom Brady
This is Tom Brady’s world and we’re all just living in it. In 2016, the greatest quarterback in the history of the game made his 12th trip to the Pro Bowl, won his fifth career Super Bowl (in dramatic fashion), and moved to the front of the class in total merchandise sales. This goes to show that, try you as you might, you can’t ever keep Touchdown Tom down.
To see the complete “NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales List,” click here.