Justin Herbert to Join Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes as 3rd NFL Player Ever to Sell $1 Million Card

Justin Herbert to Join Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes as 3rd NFL Player Ever to Sell $1 Million Card article feature image

Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Herbert.

He hasn't played in a single playoff game yet, but Justin Herbert has been anointed the darling of the trading card world.

Already, the Los Angeles Chargers signal caller has had 10 trading cards sell for more than $100,000, more than any other player with as few accolades as the third-year starter can tout.

And now, a card for over $1 million will sell on Saturday.

A Herbert rookie National Treasures 1/1 shield card has a top bid of $1.29 million as of Wednesday, including buyer's premium. The auction still has three days left to run.

Once sold, Herbert will become just the third NFL player to sell a card for $1 million, behind Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady. That list doesn't include private sales.

Even fellow draftmate Joe Burrow hasn't broken that mark despite leading the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance last season.

That's largely due to the idea of prospecting. Burrow's rise was meteoric and heavily concentrated during and after his playoff run earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Herbert hasn't won much of anything, but investors believe when he does, the value of his cards will skyrocket, just as Burrow's did.

Herbert has, indeed, proved systemically that he can be an elite quarterback in the NFL for years to come.

The former Oregon QB has the most combined passing yards (9,350) and touchdowns (69) of any quarterback in NFL history over his first two seasons. He also owns the franchise record for the most passing yards and touchdowns over a single season.

The prospect of Herbert leading the Chargers to a Super Bowl is one of the main arbiters driving this rampant speculation.

In comparison, Burrow's downside is now far larger after he nearly reached the pinnacle.

Winning is what really juices a player's value.

"Investing in premium cards like this is high risk investing," said Dave Amerman, head of revenue for Goldin. "It's a lot like gambling. Players can be great on their own, but they have to be winners. So, for Herbert, the whole offense matters as does the defense."

The gambling market, for one, believes in the totality of the team. The Chargers' win total has been set at 10.5 wins, the same as the Chiefs and the Broncos for the highest mark in the AFC.

"Collectors are looking for the next superstar, someone who can win league MVP in the short term," said Jesse Craig of PWCC, which sold Herbert's most valuable card to date. "With someone who has already done that or has won a Super Bowl, there's just so much more downside."

Still, even among prospects, Herbert is in a league of his own.

Take Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence, for instance. While he hasn't produced nearly the same output as Herbert has, Lawrence was far more touted out of college. And yet, the former national champion hasn't come close to selling a $100K card.

As aforementioned, Herbert has 10.

San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Trey Lance — another popular vessel for speculation — sold his own rookie National Treasures 1/1 shield card in August.

That card went for $130K, roughly 10x less than Herbert will net, at minimum, on Saturday.

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