“I believe in Bitcoin & the future is bright,” Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tweeted on November 1, announcing he was taking an undisclosed amount of his $22.4 million salary in the cryptocurrency. Now, with his legacy under pressure following a losing run in this year’s NFL playoffs, the 2011 Super Bowl champion has more woes.
Shortly after Rodgers proclaimed his love, the value of the digital coin peaked at more than $69,000. Since then, it has shared the same trajectory as his team’s postseason performance, falling below $38,000, a 39% decline from his announcement and a 45% drop from the peak.
It’s unclear exactly how much of his $33.4 million in earnings on and off the field this season are pegged to bitcoin, but he isn’t alone. Just after Rodgers tweeted his enthusiasm, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said he was also taking his new salary in bitcoin. On November 22, the day Beckham tweeted, bitcoin reached a daily high of $60,092, which means the full value of his $750,000 salary would have dropped 37%, to $465,000.
Counting Rodgers and Beckham, at least eight North America-based professional athletes have reportedly placed at least a portion of their salary, bonus or endorsement earnings into some form of cryptocurrency. Those include Los Angeles Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham. And that’s not counting the stars who have gotten involved in the crypto space without necessarily investing directly, including Tom Brady and Stephen Curry, who have endorsement deals with cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and the litany of athletes involved in non-fungible token (NFT) releases.
Timing is everything. While the majority of athletes taking pay in cryptocurrency have seen their initial investments sharply drop, some may still be in the black. Former NFL offensive lineman Russell Okung, who chose to put half of his $13 million salary during the 2020 season into bitcoin, could be seeing a gain of 38%. New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who has publicly said he plans to take all future endorsement money in bitcoin, would be up 14% from the date of the announcement.
Bitcoin data provided by Messari.io.