Where he’ll play pro football is still a mystery but Panini America is banking on Saquon Barkley. The company announced an exclusive agreement with the former Penn State running back on Monday, one that will put his autograph on trading cards and his signed memorabilia on Panini’s website.
Expected to be one of the top picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, Barkley is the fourth NFL player to become an exclusive member of Panini Authentic, the memorabilia division of Panini America, joining Andrew Luck, Dez Bryant and Leonard Fournette.
The money will come in handy. Barkley’s girlfriend, fellow Penn State student Anna Congdon announced on social media over the weekend that the couple was expecting a child in April.
Panini says Barkley “will be featured prominently throughout Panini America’s 2018 NFL product line.” Panini Instant offered Barkley cards commemorating his performance at the scouting combine and they quickly sold out.
During a spectacular career at Penn State, Barkley rushed for more than 3,800 yards and 43 touchdowns. He also caught 102 passes for 1,195 yards and eight more touchdowns. He’s expected to the first running back off the board at the draft.
“Saquon Barkley is a franchise-type talent that promises to be one of the first players selected in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. We’re thrilled to partner with him in such a meaningful way as he begins his NFL career,” said Mark Warsop, Panini America CEO. “Fans and collectors almost instantly devoured his first Panini America trading cards on the Panini Instant platform. That demand is certain to increase throughout his rookie season. Barkley will absolutely be a key driver for our NFL business in 2018.”
“Saquon is a special talent with unprecedented abilities on and off the football field,” said Michael Yormark, President & Chief of Branding and Strategy at Roc Nation Sports, which facilitated the deal. “Panini and Roc Nation Sports have a very special relationship and this partnership is yet another example of that. We are thrilled to have them behind Saquon as he begins his NFL journey.”