After the lockout of 2011, a new rookie wage scale was implemented that prevented teams from having to drop 50 million plus guaranteed to the top picks in the draft. With football cards predicated on rookies, this had a more profound effect than ever before because it meant that teams were not anchored to their new players if they didnt pan out immediately.
Under the previous collective bargaining agreement, teams would give a much longer leash to top rookies that struggled, only because it was so detrimental to the team’s budget and ownership to give up on a guy that you gave so much money to. Now, that isnt so much of a problem. It also means that the fans are becoming more and more conditioned to seeing players cut or traded before their first few years are over, and collectors have also started adopting that mentality.
This boom or bust approach has major impact on value – especially for rookies. If a QB comes out and plays well for a few games at the beginning, it can sustain value for the entire year. If a rookie sits or plays poorly, sometimes that can hurt the value immensely, to the point where it wont spike as high if they eventually figure things out down the road. Right now, Carson Wentz is playing very well against some pretty bad teams. Regardless, his stat lines are pretty nice looking, and has gotten a lot of attention from collectors who feel he is the real deal.
His cards after a big Monday Night nationally televised game have been showing some nice prices:
Similar things can be said about Dak Prescott, who has played WELL above his draft position, posting some similarly good numbers. Collectors put his value into the stratosphere thanks to a great preseason performance, and those values have stayed high as he has seemingly adjusted well to the real defenses of the regular season.
Here are his cards, which are still riding high:
As for Jared Goff, who was inactive week one and on the bench week two, it hasnt been as easy going. Case Keenum has shown to be a lackluster option for the Rams, but Jeff Fisher is determined to let his top pick develop before throwing him to the wolves. Collectors see it as a huge detriment to potential, and even if his numbers end up being equal to Wentz in the long run, Goff may always be lower because he sat.
In terms of the discussion here, collectors (as much as the ownership/coaches) want to see results from rookies almost immediately. There are exceptions sure, and being a number one pick can be a factor, but nothing brings in the big bucks like a huge game or two. Personally, I dont think that this is a good thing for QBs, especially when its clear that it is literally one of the toughest positions to be successful in all of sports. Sometimes it takes forever.
Players like Brock Osweiler and Jimmy Garoppolo are interesting counterpoints here, as they both are in the bucket of players who didnt get to play right away. Both got their shot and both have performed pretty well. Collectors havent put enormous numbers on their cards, but the value has spiked in a pretty good way that shows people havent given up quite yet. Prospecting in football rarely works the same way it does in baseball, but these two players are great examples of when it does.
The message to talk about here is that looking at cards from an investment standpoint is probably a bad idea. At the same time, its fun to speculate and see your favorite cards be worth something to more than just you. Vanity and swinging a big collecting dick is a pretty huge part of the hobby and its clear that seeing your cards increase in value is something we all enjoy. I just wish it wasnt so dependent on the first few games of a player’s career.