Last November, Odell Beckham Jr. stirred up the news media when the Los Angeles Rams wide receiver said he would receive his new salary in bitcoin.
Beckham, who was moving to L.A. from Cleveland, had inked a partnership with Cash App.
Multiple NFL Players Getting Paid in Bitcoin
"It's a NEW ERA & to kick that off I'm hyped to announce that I'm taking my new salary in bitcoin," tweeted the three-time Pro Bowler, who also said he was giving away $1 million in bitcoin to fans.
Beckham is one of at least five current NFL players receiving at least some of their pay in the form of a crypto salary. The list includes Aaron Rodgers, Trevor Lawrence, Russell Okung, and Saquon Barkley.
Beckham — along with a lot of other people — took a financial shellacking last month when bitcoin's value nosedived.
The Action Network, a sports media company, looked at this situation and asked a simple question: How could other high-profile NFL athletes fare if they converted their current salaries into cryptocurrency?
The company analyzed bitcoin and ethereum trends between 2020 and 2021 and 2021 and 2022 and came up with boom and bust lists for some of the biggest names in the game.
"Rolling back the years to 2020, it’s astonishing to see just how much football players on mega salaries could’ve cashed in on the then-impending Bitcoin boom," the Action Network said in a report. "In fact, anyone investing their salary each week in 2020 could’ve increased their pay 2.5x over by January 2021."
Football and crypto are no strangers. Last month's Super Bowl was dubbed "The Crypto Bowl" due to the number of cryptocurrency exchanges buying airing ads during the Game Bowl.
The Action Network said each star’s annual income was divided by 52 to reveal their weekly salary.
Mahomes Goes Long on Crypto
The weekly figure was then dollar-cost averaged to reveal return on investment if converted to bitcoin or ethereum weekly through the years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was the big winner, the report said.
Fresh off a Super Bowl LIV victory and an accompanying MVP performance, Mahomes was earning $863,013 weekly.
If he had invested in bitcoin, Mahomes could have earned an additional $113.86 million between January 2020 and January 2021.
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen unwittingly sat on $108.81 million in unfulfilled potential earnings in 2020, the report said, while the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott could have made $101.20 million.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is facing civil lawsuits and reportedly criminal complaints over sexual assault allegations, missed out on $98.68 million.
Quarterback Russell Wilson, whom the Seattle Seahawks recently traded to the Denver Broncos, could have raked in $80 million.
But all good things must come to an end and cryptocurrency is no exception.
"If 2020 was the year to profit from Bitcoin, 2021 was the exact opposite," the report said. "Any player who dollar cost averaged their salary between January 2021 and January 2020 would have seen their crypto salary drop by 19.51% and lost millions."
So, if Mahomes, who got married in Hawaii on Saturday, had invested his weekly pre-tax earnings into bitcoin last year, he would have lost $8.78 million by January 2022.
Josh Allen, Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson ultimately dodged losses of $8.39 million, $7.80 million, and $7.60 million, respectively, by not investing in bitcoin.
A Bitcoin Crash Could Cost Mahomes, WIlson
Last year’s bitcoin crash could have cost Russell Wilson $6.82 million.
Now let's tackle ethereum, which is second only to bitcoin in market capitalization. However, back in 2020, it was largely an unknown quantity.
And if Mahomes had invested his weekly income in 2020 into ethereum, he would have accumulated $357.43 million, or more than a third of a billion dollars by 2021.
"It would take him eight years to earn this from his salary alone," the Action Network said. "And with the unpredictable nature of the NFL, that is hardly guaranteed money."
Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, and Deshaun Watson would have pulled in over $300 million, while Wilson could have accumulated $200 million or more.
"Of course, nobody wants to be the first to risk their hard-earned salary in an unknown commodity," the report said. "Hindsight is always 20/20, as they say."
Yes, and what goes up, must come down, and ethereum also took a tumble in 2021 and 2022.
Any player converting their 2021-22 salary into ethereum would have suffered a total loss of 4.91%.
Mahomes and Allen would have lost $2.20 million and $2.11 million, respectively. Prescott, Watson and Wilson avoided losses of over $1.5 million each, the report said.