After a star-studded rookie season for the New York Giants, which earned him The Associated Press' coveted Rookie of the Year title, running back Saquon Barkley is already planning for life after football.
"When I get to $22 million saved in the bank, you can live comfortable with that for the rest of your life," Barkley told CNBC in an interview this week, ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl game. "That's the game plan my financial advising team has made for me. Hopefully we can make it higher, but that's the spot I target."
Barkley is following in the model of Rob Gronkowski, promising to save all his on-field salary while living only off his endorsement income. "I haven't touched anything out of my salary, and God-willing I make it to another contract, I wouldn't touch that, because it's football, it's the nature of the game. You never know when it can be taken away of you."
He added: "If I can go my whole career without touching my salary," Barkley said that would be ideal. He even highlighted the immediate advantage of endorsement income. "I was even able to buy my mom a house before I even got my NFL contract."
Barkley said if he represents himself the right way, he sees a bright future. "There's so much money you can make off the field, so why not take advantage of that?"
However, he warned that big money contracts should not become an athlete's "main focus, because it's not about money. It never will be about my money," he said. "My love for the game started at eight years old when I was playing for free."
The 21-year old was in Atlanta on behalf of Visa, discussing the company's contactless credit card payment system. "It's just so easy to tap and pay, to make your day more efficient. It's definitely a much easier way to get the job done."
Visa this week also announced its plan for a completely cashless Super Bowl at some point in the future. But Barkley said "hopefully the Giants" get to the Super Bowl before it goes cashless.
"I still believe we can win with Eli [Manning]", Barkley said when asked if his stats were helped by not having a stronger quarterback, "I think he does an unbelievable job of handling that pressure in the spotlight."