INDIANAPOLIS --- You often hear NFL players say their sport is a business. Colts left guard Jack Mewhort was recently featured in an article on Fortune for an interesting business decision he made that will soon let fans buy stock in him but more importantly for Mewhort, functions as a form of injury insurance.
The deal was with a company called Fantex, a company that lets people "buy and sell stock linked to the income of pro athlete brands". Here's how it works: when Fantex signed Mewhort, it set an a one-time fee that it paid him, in exchange for Mewhort giving Fantex a set percentage of all his future earnings.
According to Fortune, Mewhort received $2.52 million in exchange for 10% interest in his future income. Mewhort has roughly $2.92 million left on his rookie contract over the next three seasons. In his opinion, he now has a safety net.
"They approached me last year, and I kind of held off on it, just because we were in the middle of making a playoff run," said Mewhort. "It's all about building your brand, and it's kind of drilled into you when you get into the NFL that you become your own business the second you leave college. I viewed it purely as an insurance policy. The reality of football is that it's a tough game. Things can go wrong at any second, injury wise."
The reality under the rookie wage scale is also players that aren't drafted in the first round have to wait for their second contract to strike it big with 7-figure per year salaries.
"I put it in the bank, let it grow," said Mewhort of the $2.52 million Fantex gave him. "They're betting on you, which I think is pretty cool, to make a certain amount of money. It's not changing anything I'm doing. It's purely insurance for me, and I'm still the same guy I've always been."
For the Colts, that's a guy who can hold down a starting spot on the offensive line, as he did his rookie year, for many years to come. In fact, he's already evolving in his first offseason as a pro.
"I kind of know the ropes a little more. Obviously, I don't have it all figured out. I figured out my routine and what works for me," said Mewhort. "There are a lot of aspects of my game that I want to work on. I've actually been in Indianapolis the whole offseason training, just working on different things that my coaches have told me that I need to improve on. Being here, I don't think you can beat the facilities, beat the athletic trainers, the strength coach. So, it's been a big offseason for me so far."
Mewhort's stock is pointing up for 2015.