NFL's Financial Winners & Losers

NFL's Financial Winners & Losers

Chloe Seaman
October 11, 2016

In a recent interview with ESPN E:60, running back Trent Richardson revealed that friends and family spent $1.6 million of his NFL earnings over the course of 10 months in 2015.

Bad investments, poor budgeting, regretful spending choices and surrounding yourself with the wrong people have lead many former NFL players into the hole of financial oblivion. Others, however, made it to the other end of the financial spectrum – making investments or doing deals that made them mega rich.

What went wrong? What went right? Here’s our list of the top three players in each category.

The top 3 richest NFL players of all time

1. Jerry Richardson

Net worth: $1.1 billion

Today, Richardson is the owner of the Carolina Panthers; but in the early days of the NFL, he played for the Baltimore Colts. So how did this NFL player earn his billions? Answer: The fast food industry. With an investment of $4,744 in 1960 from his 1959 NFL championship bonus, Richardson opened his first Hardee’s franchise. The business expanded to control 2,500 restaurants and 100,000 employees before Richardson retired in 1995. This athlete-turned-businessman stands at the top of the wealthiest NFL players of all time.

2. Roger Staubach

Net worth: $600 million

This former Cowboys quarterback lead his team to Super Bowl wins and earned himself an MVP. But it wasn’t football all the time for this player. In the off-seasons, Staubach worked as a real estate broker because “I was 27 and we had three children,” he told Forbes. He was able to grow his real estate company to be so successful, that he sold it for $640 million in 2008.

3. Peyton Manning

Net worth: $200 million

Turn on your television and you’re likely to see a commercial with Peyton Manning. He’s endorsed Papa John’s Pizza, Buick, Gatorade and Direct TV. Considered to be one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, Manning made a total of $248,732,000 in cash earnings playing for the Indianapolis Colts, then the Denver Broncos. With all those endorsement deals wrapped in the mix, Manning is the third richest NFL player of all time.

The top 3 NFL players who lost big money

1. Dan Marino

The former Miami Dolphins quarterback made millions in his decorated NFL career, but lost it all to one bad investment. He purchased 1,575,525 shares in a company called Digital Domain, which later went bankrupt. His total loss is reported to be $14 million. Luckily for Marino he still has a successful broadcasting career and remains famous enough to potentially cash in on his name post-retirement. Most former NFL players will not have his advantages.

2. Vince Young

Young was a former quarterback who made around $26 million over six seasons of playing in the NFL. Now he has a net worth of negative $1.5 million. In 2012, Young filed for bankruptcy; listing “assets of $500,000 to $1 million and liabilities ranging $1 million to $10 million.” Young said his financial planner had “misappropriated $5.5 million of his money”. Young also took out a loan for $1.9 million that went into default and reportedly spent $5,000 a week eating at the Cheesecake Factory.

3. Luther Elliss

The former defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos made bad investments through bad financial advice and was forced to file bankruptcy. Elliss owed “hundreds of thousands in mortgage debt and $37,500 in delinquent state and local taxes.” In the height of his career, Elliss was paid almost $11.6 million from 2000 to 2004 playing for the NFL.

Whether you’re an NFL player making millions per year, or you’re an average middle-class worker, financial planning, budgeting and knowing where your money goes are imperative to making sure you stay financially secure.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.