I just posted a few days ago about how injury has such a huge effect on people, and how careers can change in an instant. With all of that consideration, what does that leave for collecting potential in the NFL? Who are the best people to collect when the environment is so uncertain? Here is my take, and some of the cards you need to pick up.
#1 – Aaron Rodgers
As a Vikings fan I hate the Packers. I hate them so much. Mainly because year after year they are in contention despite not having the weapons or having a ton of injuries. One reason is because Aaron Rodgers is easily the best player right now in the NFL. Although Tom Brady’s resume is far better, its clear who is more talented at this particular moment. Rodgers already has a Super Bowl under his belt, and might be on his way to another. Collectors love that accomplishment, and also like that he is a TOUGH signature to get. Because he wasnt at the rookie premiere in 2005, he doesnt have 1/4th the bulk others do now. Some rookies, especially with Panini at the helm, will have 10,000 autographs their first year. Rodgers, during his whole career, cant even be close.
His autos obviously sell for huge dollars already, so be prepared to open your wallet:
2005 SP Authentic Aaron Rodgers RC Auto Patch /99
2015 Black Gold Aaron Rodgers Sizeable Signatures Auto Patch /10
2015 Flawless Aaron Rodgers Red Auto /5
#2 – Tom Brady
He will be a unanimous first ballot HOF inductee. He is at the top of or near the top of the greatest NFL players of all time, and his career is almost over. Although his signature has been more common because of deals with Topps in 2014 and Panini in 2014-16, you cant buy a nice card of his for less than 300. He has won more Super Bowls than anyone in the last generation, and he has been in more AFC title games than anyone in history. The guy owns pretty much every meaningful record when it comes to winning, and though he likely wont reach Manning, he has put on a career unlike anything I have ever seen. He might be a product of a system with Belichick, but collectors dont care.
With his career, his top cards are some of the highest asking prices on eBay:
2002 Topps Ring of Honor Tom Brady Auto
2015 Immaculate Tom Brady Jumbo Patch Auto /10
2014 Topps Five Star Tom Brady Auto
#3 – Andrew Luck
He may have had a rough year last year, but he is still the brightest young star in the collecting world. He has shown that his skill is capable of bringing a mediocre team deep into the playoffs, something that many QBs would be incapable of doing. Collectors already know that he is worth the hype, and his cards are not cheap. Its for a reason. As the Colts draft more stars, and shore up their defense, you can be sure that Luck will continue to grow and win. This potential drives his value, and I dont see it dropping anytime soon.
You can see he is already a top collected player:
2012 Topps Chrome Andrew Luck Auto 1985 RC
2012 Contenders Andrew Luck Auto Ticket RC
2012 Exquisite Andrew Luck Auto RC /99
#4 – Cam Newton
The loss and subsequent press conference at the Super Bowl aside, Cam Newton has a very bright future in the NFL. Even though the Panthers should have been much more of an opponent for the Broncos than they were, it isnt the end of the road for Cam. The only issue is that im not convinced many of his autographs from his rookie year are real, as his signature doesnt make sense when held up next to his verified one. Cam doesnt sign a ton, and has a reputation of being a diva with the manufacturers, so its possible that his card signings could end up being limited in the future. I suspect the Panthers will be competitive for a number of years to come, so collectors are going to recognize that he is worth dumping money into. If only Panini hadnt made 2011 their personal trash heap for card design. Man, each one of their main sets had one of their worst years in history.
These prices are post Super Bowl and still going strong:
2011 Topps Chrome Cam Newton Atomic Refractor Auto RC 50/50
2011 Topps Five Star Cam Newton Auto Patch RC
2011 Exquisite Cam Newton Auto Logo Patch RC /99
#5 – JJ Watt
This is my bold and amazing hot TAEKZ for this article, as I believe that defense is WOEFULLY undervalued in the hobby. Watt is one of the people who continued to have value even though he played on the other side of the line. If you need any more convincing, Watt is quickly on his way to being the next Peyton Manning as the face of the NFL, and that will make a difference in the way see his value on the secondary market. The only drawback is that Watt has already started talking about the injuries and how it could prevent a longer career for him, and that might be a big piece of a reason he shouldnt be on this list. I just think he deserves credit for bringing some sort of worth to defense.
Here are his top cards:
2011 Topps Platinum JJ Watt Auto Green Refractor RC – Not many on card RCs exist. This is one of a few.
2011 National Treasures JJ Watt Auto RC
2015 Flawless JJ Watt Auto Red /15
With a big trade today, and big injuries already grabbing headlines, this season is already shaping up to be ridiculous. Hopefully we will see that the NFL headlines continue to favor hobby friendly situations, as its clear that sales are not heading in the right direction all around.