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Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley commits to the Marshawn Lynch school of economics

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PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Penn State v Washington Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley has excited fans and front office types alike, but recently he excited his own parents when he bought them a new house. But Barkley hasn’t even signed his rookie deal with the Giants yet. He used endorsement money to buy the home, and this article from ESPN outlines his financial philosophy, which he attributes to a current Raiders star.

“Once I realized when I declared for the NFL draft and kind of realized where I was going to be drafted, that was something I was like, ‘You know what? Kind of want to follow the Marshawn Lynch method. I don’t want to touch that,” Barkley said on the red carpet for the CC Sabathia Celebrity Softball Game on Thursday night. “I want to invest it, put it in the right people’s hands and learn as I continue to make investments. And just live off the endorsement deals.’”

Barkley’s endorsements include Nike, Pepsi and Panini America, and his signing bonuses from those companies ostensibly paid him enough to easily afford the new home for his parents. I was surprised to find that Panini America is, in fact, not a sandwich shop, but is a sports memorabilia website.

The “Marshawn Lynch method” of saving money is somewhat anecdotal in nature. This article from Business Insider notes that well-respected NFL pundit Ian Rappoport once reported that Lynch has never spent a dime of his nearly $50 million in career NFL earnings, but has invested it and has lived off his endorsement money. Forbes estimates that Lynch makes about $5 million per year in endorsement deals. He endorses Nike, Pepsi, Skittles, Progressive and Activision, among others. He also, in recent years, has developed his very own Beast Mode clothing line, further adding to his portfolio.

But Lynch himself told Sports Illustrated that Rappoport’s assertion isn’t exactly true.

“When confronted with rumors that he had never cashed a game check during his NFL career, Lynch set the record straight.

“That’s false,” Lynch said. “I’m human. I’m very much human. If you pinch me, that hurts. I make mistakes, [but] I’ve also made some good decisions. But why would you wanna pocket-watch me?”

Lynch has made some good decisions, that’s for sure. BankRate estimates Lynch’s net worth to be around $40 million currently. When you consider that many football players are flat broke within a few years of retirement, one gains real appreciation for Lynch’s wisdom and foresight. And it’s also true that Lynch is highly active with his community as far as charity and philanthropy, and that’s because he can afford to be.

So even if it isn’t exactly true that Lynch hasn’t spent any of his NFL salary, it’s still a good idea for young players to look to him as a role model in the way they handle their finances. A star on the level of Saquon Barkley should be able to live comfortably on endorsement money while saving as much of their NFL salary as possible. They can do a lot of good in their community with those savings, and set up their family for generations to come.