Who is bigger than the most popular National Football League rookie quarterback since the days of Tim Tebow?
A Super Bowl champion.
The NFL Players Association has released updated jersey and t-shirts sales for the fiscal quarter from June 1 through the end of August. Not too surprisingly, a first-year pro who hasn't yet received an opportunity to start in a regular season game has dropped down that list. Back to the top are two players who have won titles, two who happened to face off against each other on football's biggest stage last February.
It's not all bad for the young man known as Johnny Football. He remains in the top-ten.
These are the 10 top-selling NFL Player Jerseys in 2014 (June 1-August 31).
Note: List from earlier in 2014
10 J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
Life has been good for the 25-year-old in 2014. He is being featured in multiple nationally televised advertising campaigns. Watt was awarded with a contract extension that could keep him with the Texans up through 2021. That deal could make him over $100 million. $51.876 million of the contract is guaranteed to Watt.
Good money if you can get it.
Watt is also having a solid campaign on the field. The defensive end has 4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries and a touchdown in six games.
Houston began the season with a 3-3 record.
9 Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
How 'bout dem Cowboys?!? Dallas has been shockingly good on both sides of the football, and some are believing the 'Boys to be the best team in football seven weeks into the season. Dallas is 6-1, and “America's Team” notched the biggest win of the season to date by beating the Seahawks in Seattle.
Witten's personal stats are down across the board in his 12th NFL season. The tight end is being targeted by Dallas quarterback Tony Romo under four times per game. Witten has 21 catches and only a single touchdown.
He had eight scores a season ago.
8 Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
That Brees's popularity remains high despite the fact that the Saints have stumbled out of the gates en route to beginning the season with a 2-4 record is not surprising. The 35-year-old has a reputation for being one of the better guys in the NFL and in North American professional sports in general. Brees is also an all-time great who is bound for the Hall of Fame.
There are probably some fantasy football owners who are upset that they used a high pick on Brees in their drafts. Brees is averaging under 2 touchdown passes per game for the first time since 2007. His yards per pass attempt is lower than it has been in four seasons. Brees tossed 6 interceptions in his first five games.
7 Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
Cleveland starting quarterback Brian Hoyer has thus far kept Johnny Football a spectator. With the Manziel hype now a fragment of what it once was, the rookie has fallen from the top of the summer list of player sales to seventh.
Don't necessarily expect Manziel to sit behind Hoyer for too long.
Hoyer is out of contract with the Browns at the end of the 2014 season. The Browns have not yet approached the 29-year-old about any extension since earlier this year, and there is a wide belief that those within the organization view Manziel as the team's quarterback of the future.
6 Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
With Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green both dealing with injuries, it's possible that Bryant is the best overall WR in the NFL this fall. Bryant is averaging 6 catches per game. He has found the end zone on four occasions.
Bryant will likely go on to win what was a public game of “Chicken” against the Cowboys.
Bryant is playing through the conclusion of a five-year contract, as he and the Cowboys could not come to terms on an extension before the start of the season. Make no mistake about the fact that Bryant is going to get paid and soon.
How much he will earn has yet to be determined.
5 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
That is what the one-time Super Bowl champion told fans of the Packers to do after Green Bay began the season at 1-2. The Packers went on to win four straight contests, including divisional victories against the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. One of Green Bay's most impressive moments of that particular stretch involved Rodgers throwing a touchdown pass in the final seconds of a road game against the Miami Dolphins.
Rodgers is a top-five NFL quarterback and possibly the best at the position in the business. He continues to be featured in national ads for State Farm TV commercials. You can watch that and other ads that include Rodgers here.
4 Tom Brady, New England Patriots
The two traditions that seem to hit the NFL every September struck again in 2014:
Fans wondering if this is the year when Brady's spectacular quarterback play will come to an end, and Brady proving his doubters to be wrong.
After a slow start to the campaign, Brady has once again shown that he can get the most out of those around him. The veteran playing in his 15th NFL season seems capable and ready to lead the Patriots to yet another playoff berth.
Brady has done it all as a pro, and that he remains as popular as he is should surprise nobody.
3 Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Kaepernick signed an interesting contract extension with the 49ers this past offseason. It appears, at first glance, as if the 26-year-old will earn over $100 million off of that six-year deal. Upon further examination, however, you'll notice that only a little over $13 million is guaranteed to Kaep. Even more remarkable is that San Francisco can choose to move on from that contract every spring moving forward without having to worry about feeling it in salary cap space.
It's been a tumultuous 2014 in general for San Francisco. There continue to be rumors swirling about that head coach Jim Harbaugh could be set to leave the 49ers this coming winter. What that would mean for Kaepernick and others in the team's locker room is a mystery.
2 Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Manning is possibly the most popular NFL player of his generation, and he is also one of the best to ever play the quarterback position. He now possesses the all-time record for career touchdown passes. Manning and the Broncos are early favorites to play in a Super Bowl for the second straight year.
He remains elite despite his age.
Manning will turn 39 years old next March. The 17-year pro has not yet publicly discussed his future as an NFL player past this season. Enjoy watching him every chance you get, as there's no telling how much longer we will be able to do so.
1 Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
The famous “12th Man” that makes up the diehard Seattle fan base coupled with the fact that Wilson and the Seahawks won the Super Bowl this past February have helped boost sales of the player's merchandise. Don't let anything overshadow the fact that Wilson has played beyond expectations, to the point that he is now being rated among the best quarterbacks in the league.
Wilson's rookie contract runs out after the 2015 campaign. So long as he stays healthy and continues to exceed in games, Wilson will be one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL a couple of years down the road. The future is bright for a the young QB who hasn't yet hit his ceiling.
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