With the big game just around the corner, it seems like everyone has a touch of pigskin fever. While you’re watching the final showdown, you might just start wondering how much players earn while fighting for every yard on the gridiron. Topping the list for 2016 is Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, whose contract is worth nearly $25 million this season.
Hopefully Mr. Luck isn’t counting on playing in the NFL for the rest of his life, and he avoids the pitfalls of others who have gone broke after their playing career is over. So instead of focusing on those stories, let’s take a look at a few NFL players who continued growing their wealth after retiring from the league.
*Net worth information collected from CelebrityNetWorth.
Richardson was recruited in 1958 to play for the Baltimore Colts, where he stayed for two seasons. The 1959 championship-winning Colts players each took home a bonus of just under $5,000, which Richardson used to open a Hardee’s franchise. He co-founded Spartan Foods, then later became the CEO of Flagstar, which was the United States’ sixth largest food service company.
Today, Jerry Richardson owns the Carolina Panthers and is worth a staggering $1.1 billion. Not bad for someone who only played in the NFL for two years!
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The second player on our list with serious business acumen, Roger Staubach played for the Dallas Cowboys for 11 seasons, retiring in 1979. During the offseason throughout the 70s, Staubach was a real estate broker because, “I was 27 and we had three children. If I got hurt, I knew I had a family to provide for, and it was not crazy money in the NFL then.”
The Staubach Company was founded in 1977, which got his undivided attention when he hung his jersey up two years later. In addition to coining the iconic long-pass term “Hail Mary,” Staubach is worth approximately $600 million.
Michael Strahan played for 14 seasons with the New York Giants, where he helped the team win one Super Bowl, and set a still-standing record for most sacks in one season. But that’s probably not why you recognize Strahan.
Since his retirement in 2007, he’s appeared on and hosted a bevy of shows, including Fox NFL Sunday, Live! with Kelly and Michael, Good Morning America, and The $100,000 Pyramid. It’s estimated that his salary for Good Morning America matches his highest-paid year in the NFL, bringing his net worth to approximately $65 million.
Manning played for 18 seasons in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, racking up no fewer than a dozen standing records, two Super Bowl rings, and an MVP award. Living legends pretty well sums up his career, but that’s not why he’s on this list.
According to Spotrac.com, Manning pulled in a base salary of $15 million a year in Denver, which matched his $15 million a year from endorsements. Because of his general likability and calm, drawling voice, you’re likely to continue seeing Peyton in commercials for the foreseeable future.
If you were asked to name a player who you considered to be the face of an NFL team, John Elway would always be a contender for top spot. With 16 years leading the Denver Broncos, Elway led his team to five Super Bowl appearances, walking away with two wins and an MVP award.
But football isn’t Elway’s only strength. He’s also a passionate businessman who’s backed several ventures with varying degrees of success. In 1997, he sold his string of car dealerships for $82.5 million, and currently has a stake in four restaurants that carry his name. Of course, no story about Elway’s wealth would be complete without mentioning that he once passed on a deal that would have netted him a 20% stake in the Broncos, which is valued at $388 million today.
In addition to his business affairs, John Elway works as the Broncos’ General Manager, and is worth an estimated $145 million.