Nike, Under Armour, Adidas All Reportedly In The Hunt To Sign QB Johnny Manziel
Nike, Under Armour and adidas are "all in the game" to sign NFL Draft prospect Johnny Manziel, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell. Players "really want adidas in the game here" because the last two guys who the company gave major money to -- Lions RB Reggie Bush and Redskins QB Robert Griffin III -- "got the highest-paid deals of NFL rookies ever in the shoe and apparel space." Rovell reported Manziel "does not want to do deals before the draft," but in the shoe and apparel space, someone is "going to want to do a deal with him right away and actually have the marketing going into the draft." The companies think that they could "pay him enough money to actually change his opinion there on timing." Rovell said one of the risks involved for a brand giving Manziel a big endorsement deal is the "fact that maybe he parties hard or does things off the field that maybe a big brand can't take." Rovell: "I would say that the Nikes and the Under Armours and the adidases of the world can take a lot and the partying is not a problem." As long as there is not "anything criminal, those brands are usually pretty good, and that brashness plays into who he is as a marketing icon." Rovell noted with some of the bigger NFL QB endorsers, like the Broncos' Peyton Manning, Patriots' Tom Brady and Saints' Drew Brees, there is "a lot of vanilla there," and he thinks brands are "looking for an NFL guy, a quarterback, who has a lot of that, kind of can, shake things up a little bit." But Manziel "ultimately has got to perform on the field" ("OTL," ESPN, 2/18).