Russell Wilson has been the face of the Seattle Seahawks for close to a decade. However, 2021 was not a good year for Wilson. His production is down, and the Seahawks didn’t reach the playoffs. Many wonder if this is the end for Russell Wilson. If so, where does his legacy stand? To answer that question, we bring you the Russell Wilson sports card investment outlook.
Russell Wilson’s path to the league was not as conventional as most Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. Out of high school, Wilson was only a two-star recruit and ranked 67th among quarterbacks in his class.
What was the issue? At only 5’11, height was considered a major limiting factor, and some saw his future in baseball as more promising.
Wilson was split between the two worlds in college, spending the summers between collegiate seasons playing minor league baseball for the Rockies. However, his football career took off after an explosive sophomore campaign at NC State.
The following year he transferred to Wisconsin, leading the Badgers to the Rose Bowl. He also set the FBS record for passing efficiency en route.
NFL scouts never questioned Wilson’s talent. Nonetheless, his small stature continued to plague his draft stock. Many draft experts suggested that Wilson would have been the number one pick if he was a few inches taller.
Wilson fell to Seattle in the third round of the 2012 draft. The Seahawks received a fair amount of criticism for gambling on a player many felt wasn’t built for the pro game.
Wilson, however, wasted no time silencing his critics. The quarterback led the Seahawks to a franchise first Super Bowl win in his second season. Wilson is still the shortest Superbowl-winning quarterback in league history. Nonetheless, the future looked bright.
Wilson has been one of the most successful quarterbacks of the last decade. He garnered 8 pro bowl selections, leading the league in passing rating (2015) and passing touchdowns (2017). As a result, Russell was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2020.
Wilson began the first few weeks of his 2020 campaign as an MVP frontrunner before slipping into a slump that extended into the 2021 season. The Seahawks finished the year 7-10 and are out of playoff contention.
Questions surrounding Rusell’s poor play have evolved from “is this a slump” to the “is this the new Rusell Wilson?”
The numbers suggest that a flailing passing game plays a big part in the Seahawks’ struggles. Wilson currently ranks 12th in completion percentage, 20th in TD’s, and 21st in QBR. Compare this to his being 3rd, 6th, and 4th in those categories in the 2015 season. It’s clear that Wilson is not producing at the level we are accustomed to.
It can sometimes be traced to their offensive setup when a quarterback struggles. However, advanced statistics suggest his receivers are not to blame. Seahawk receivers are dropping the ball 4% of the time, which is a little better than league average.
Instead, Wilsons 77% accuracy (which ranks a mediocre 16th in the NFL) seems to be the culprit of their abysmal offensive situation.
If Russell were to retire today, he would be remembered as one of the best quarterbacks of his era. He is a Super Bowl champion who has consistently ranked among the best passers in the league. Yet, remarkably, Wilson also owns the record for most wins (98) through his first nine seasons.
The market for Russell Wilson cards supports this. His rookie cards aren’t as valuable as Tom Brady’s or Aaron Rodgers. However, they fetch similar prices to other Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger.
Russell’s legacy is currently solid. However, a couple of bad years at the end of his career could negatively influence that perception.
Dwight Howard is an interesting example in the NBA. Howard was an 8-time all-star who led a lackluster 2009 Magic squad to an NBA finals appearance. Dwight was unanimously viewed as the best center in the league at one time. And still, Howard has left off the NBA’s recent list of the “top 75 players ever.”
Why? The veteran did not retire as a star. Instead, he has transitioned into a solid veteran role player. Howard even helped the Lakers to a title in 2020. Nevertheless, his number of “non-star” years have worked against his legacy. Therefore, some have argued that Dwight would have been included in the NBA 75 list had he retired at the height of his powers.
A similar situation can be seen in the NFL with a player like Matt Ryan. Of course, Ryan hasn’t reached the heights Wilson has, and he is undoubtedly not as beloved. Nonetheless, Ryan was one of the best QBs in the league at one point.
Years of mediocre play and disappointing results for the Falcons have undoubtedly hurt his legacy. Matt Ryan cards have been trending downwards in value for a few seasons. In 2021 that trend was more evident than ever. A Ryan PSA 10 Topps rookie card went for as high as $110-130 during the last offseason. However, they have been selling for only $60-75 in the past month.
Russell Wilson’s cards are valued around where you’d expect for a Superbowl winning, the face of the franchise-type player.
Let’s look at a PSA 10 of his most popular rookie card, the 2012 Topps Chrome #140. These cards have sold for between $380-$440 over the past 12 months.
It is worth noting that Wilson’s cards have taken a bit of a nosedive in the past few weeks. His Topps Platinum RC had been pretty consistently selling for around $420 in the off-season before going through some ups and downs that have left it valued closer to the $390 range as of late.
We doubt this is a permanent change in value; just a few months ago, the card peaked at about $440. However, some change is to be expected throughout the season. During the playoffs, collectors tend to forget about the players who didn’t make it.
Still, the fact that we are seeing a general turn downward might suggest that some sellers are getting worried about what Wilson’s legacy will ultimately be.
Russell Wilson took the league by storm in just his first year, and his rookie card value immediately skyrocketed. Here are our 5 favorites amongst his rookie cards.
By far the most popular Russell Wilson rookie, this card features him in a Seahawks uniform with the 12th man behind him. This card is widely available on eBay, so for those collectors looking for Wilson’s signature card without breaking the bank, this one’s for you.
Wilson’s most popular rookie is available in several parallels, but this orange refractor is our favorite. It uses the same image as the base card. However, it features a sleek orange border and a classic refractor tint. Other remarkable looking parallels include the military bordered and the highly coveted #/1 super-fractor.
This card is your break the bank Russell Wilson RC. PSA 9 and higher of this card don’t hit the market often, but when they do, north of $10,000 isn’t a crazy asking price. There are only 99 of these floating around, and it’s a price you’d expect to pay for the player who became 2012’s best quarterback.
One of the more unique offerings of Wilson’s rookie set, the Panini Prestige Draft Ticket, shows his draft position, position, and selecting team. We love this card because of the role his draft position plays in his legacy. However, you can’t help but look at the “75th pick” on this card and feel sorry for the 31 teams who missed out on their opportunity to select Wilson.
Topps threw in some random Wilson rookies that used their throwback 1984 design template along with the flashy chrome parallels. The Topps Chrome isn’t necessarily one of Wilson’s most expensive cards. However, it’s a great bang for your buck with an excellent concept. This card is a perfect option if you’re looking for an alternative to the base card without spending a fortune on parallels.
Is now a good time to invest in Russell Westbrook? The short answer: no.
Sure, there are still plenty of reasons to love Wilson’s long-term value. He will go down as the best Seahawk in franchise history, and there will likely always be a market for his cards.
But, we’ve already seen the peak of his value. At this point, investors need to weigh the two potential outcomes of his career:
Option 1 isn’t impossible, but it isn’t the smart bet. Based on the trajectories of other QB’s of his level who have shown regression in play at the age of 30, it’s, unfortunately, more likely Russell’s days at the top are over.
If you want to invest in Russell Wilson cards, we advise you to wait and see what the next few years have in store before pulling the trigger.
Russell Wilson has had a great career, shattering the expectation of his pre-draft naysayers. With a Superbowl win and a stretch of pro-bowl seasons, Wilson cards will have value for years to come.
However, there are clear warning signs. Russell’s recent sloppy play suggests his time at the top is ending. Intelligent investors should wait to see just how long this slide goes on for and just how much reputational damage he incurs. Only then, decide whether to invest in the Seahawks quarterback.