New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley plans to live off of his endorsement income and devote the rest of his NFL earnings to investments and savings, including the $31 million contract he signed with his new team on Sunday.
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Barkley, who was taken with the No. 2 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, inked a four-year deal that includes a $15 million payout on signing, ESPN reported. The deal establishes Barkley as one of the NFL’s highest-paid running backs, with a league-leading $21 million in compensation for the 2018 season.
For now, Barkley plans to rely on his income from deals with Nike, PepsiCo, Panini America and other sponsors for day-to-day life. He used a portion of that money to buy a home for his parents in Pennsylvania this offseason.
"Once I realized when I declared for the NFL Draft and kind of realized where I was going to be drafted, that was something I was like, 'You know what? Kind of want to follow the [Oakland Raiders running back] Marshawn Lynch method. I don't want to touch that,'" Barkley said in June at a celebrity softball event hosted by New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia, according to ESPN. "I want to invest it, put it in the right people's hands and learn as I continue to make investments. And just live off the endorsement deals."
Lynch and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski are known for adopting a similar approach to their personal finances. In his 2015 book, Gronkowski said he didn’t spend any of the salary he earned in his first three seasons in the NFL.
"That's the goal," Barkley added. "Not to touch it."
A Penn State University product, Barkley is already a hit among fans. Though he has yet to play a snap in the NFL, Barkley ranked fourth among all players in terms of overall merchandise sales in the first quarter of 2018, according to data from the NFL Players Association.