Power Players

Why NFL star Richard Sherman drove his $30,000 Dodge Challenger until 2018

Richard Sherman on the field for the San Francisco 49ers.
Roy K. Miller | Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman has won a Super Bowl and made tens of millions of dollars playing in the NFL. But the San Francisco 49ers star has tried to be careful about his spending since first being drafted in 2011. That's why his first big splurge with his NFL earnings was surprisingly frugal.

"I bought a Dodge Challenger, which I thought was the best thing ever and still do," Sherman tells CNBC Make It. "Other than at, I really spent wisely."

Sherman, 30, bought the 2012 Dodge Challenger as a rookie playing for the Seattle Seahawks. He believes it cost between $30,000 and $35,000. Sherman says he bought the Challenger, which was royal blue with black stripes on the hood, because he thought it was "cool."

He loved it so much he kept driving it until 2018, when he finally sold the car.

Sherman, who has earned $56.8 million from his professional contracts so far, according to Spotrac, has now upgraded and owns both a both a Tesla and a Maybach, which can have a starting price as high as almost $200,000.

But Sherman still remembers how cautious he was when he first started receiving his NFL paychecks.

"Growing up in Compton, [California], [a] dollar earned was always a dollar spent. There really was no concept of saving," Sherman tells CNBC Make It.

Sherman says he was "blown away" when he started receiving his NFL paychecks — he earned over $557,000 as a rookie in 2011. His experience growing up in a low-income community made him all the more determined to spend his new income wisely while learning to save and invest.

"Because of my background, I was cautious about spending [money] and quickly started budgeting," Sherman says.

NFL star Richard Sherman had to talk his grandma out of buying bitcoin
NFL star Richard Sherman had to talk his grandma out of buying bitcoin

Sherman is famous for taking a hands-on approach to his finances, even going as far as negotiating his own three-year contract with the 49ers in 2018 (as opposed to relying on an agent), which made him the NFL's highest-paid cornerback at the time. Sherman is also an active investor who has said in interviews that he's invested in municipal bonds and mutual funds, and who also has a keen interest in cryptocurrency.

Sherman has invested in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum, and he's also a spokesperson for the exchange platform Cobinhood, and an investor in the company's coin, COB.

Though he once had to stop his grandma from buying bitcoin when it was up around $19,000, Sherman says he's been "very active in the past year," even as the price of a popular cryptocurrency like Bitcoin has dipped from highs near $20,000 per unit in December 2017 to its current price around $3,400.

"Fortunately I was able to remove some of my money prior to the market falling as a whole," says Sherman, who adds that he expects the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to rise again in the future. "This is definitely a long term play for me," he says.

Still, when it comes to players just beginning their careers, Sherman says NFL rookies should try to live within their means, because you never know how long a career might last, or how much money they will eventually make.

"My one piece of advice ... is to understand that not much is guaranteed financially in this league," Sherman tells CNBC Make It. "It is crucial that you budget and save so that you can provide wealth for you and your family for the future."

CORRECTION: This article has been corrected to show that Sherman negotiated his own contract with the 49ers, not the Seahawks.

Don't Miss:

Here's what NFL star Chris Long spent his first big paycheck on

Bitcoin is the new locker room talk for some NFL players—here's what they're saying

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Former NFL player’s warning for rookies — don't count on next season's salary
Former NFL player’s warning for rookies — don't count on next season's salary