Five Veteran NFL Rookie Cards Worth the Investment

Obviously Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are a worthy investment now and in the future.  Of course, you’re probably wishing you invested in Manning in 2011 while his future in the game was in question.  But both of them are still at the top of their game, and at the top of the headlines.  So we chose to focus on five other players, but clearly no player with Hall of Fame credentials is going to be an unknown.  Click their names to see their rookie cards on eBay.

Brees might be a bit on the short side, but unfortunately the prices for his premium RC's are a tough reach

Brees isn’t really an ‘under the radar’ player, as he is a still a top performer and one of the best gunslingers in the NFL.  But it is becoming more obvious, that if it weren’t for Brady and Manning he would be hallowed as the best in a generation, especially numbers-wise.  Once it is all said and done, he will probably enter the HOF within a couple years of both Manning and Brady, and all three of them will be mentioned together as the trio that led the way into this QB dominated league.  So while it may seem like this moniker detracts from his status now, over time he will be hallowed in this circle, which will help keep his stock up for years to come.  And he is still breaking records.  Here are a few Brees rookie cards worth targeting.

2001 Playoff Contenders Autograph Rookie Card
They are very hard to find in good condition because of the colored borders that exist.  Cards that grade in Mint 9 or 10 sell between $1,000-$3,000.

2001 Topps Chrome RC
Highly graded refractor versions run in the $1,000-$2,000 range

2001 Bowman Chrome RC
Autographed and refractor versions available as well.  The centering of these cards is worth close attention.

RANDY MOSS 1998 DONRUSS LEAF R&S CRUSADE RED ROOKIE was listed on ebay for $3,500 and POP1 in PSA10 condition in 2012

Moss may not be able to flash the talent he once had, but don’t let that cloud your judgement about his historical impact.  Wide receivers tend to get a pass on being evaluated solely on whether they won a title, unlike QB’s.  Moss definitely deserves to be in the conversation of top 5 WR’s of all-time, despite missing out on a ring.  The benefit for card collectors, is that since he has been quietly floating along over the last couple years, there is still some time to invest in his RC's before people truly start to reflect on his significance in the game.  Make no mistake about it, he was great.  People will always question some of the decisions he made, but those years with the Patriots cemented his legacy, and he will go into the Hall of Fame.

While the high end Moss RC's can touch into the $1,000 range, the 2 to target are the '98 SP Authentic (Die-cut and Players ink are derivatives as well), 'and '98 Donruss Leaf R&S Crusade variations.

Tight ends never really get their due, and Gonzalez will never be a superstar in the card world.  But just like his play on the field, consistency and longevity are just as important in the investment world.  He will probably go down as the greatest tight end of all-time, which might seem like an insignificant moniker to the younger readers.  But with names like Kellen Winslow, Mike Ditka, Shannon Sharpe, Ozzie Newsome and John Mackey in the company of Gonzalez, that's not a bad list to top.  He is the perfect player to invest in now, and then sell during the week he gets inducted into the Hall.  His 1997 BOWMAN'S BEST ATOMIC REFRACTOR PSA 10 was sold on eBay in May 2012 for $306, while prices leveled off soon after.  That all might change if the Falcons were to get to a Super Bowl before he retires.

Sitting alongside names like Butkus, Nitschke, and Lambert makes Ray Lewis a hot commodity as he heads into retirement

Lewis will go down as one of the greatest linebackers of all-time, and that is a tough list to crack.  With apologies to Junior Seau, not since Mike Singletary has someone dominated the game and position from the middle of the defense.  Lewis, not without controversy, has persevered to have a long career and will be enshrined in Canton now that his career is over.  His 1996 Bowmans Best Atomic Refractor PSA 9 is already a hot ticket.  One was sold on eBay in July 2012 for $600, and in November 2012 for just under $1,000.

Surprise.  He may just be in the top 3 safeties of all-time.  Somehow, he and Lewis led the Ravens to a championship with Trent Dilfer at quarterback.  Enough said.  Hall of Fame.

It may take a few more years for him to exit the league, and for people to respect his game.  But once this next generation of safeties gets a bit older (there doesn't appear to be anyone on Reed's level coming along anytime soon), his place in history will only improve over time.

As far as his rookie cards are concerned, his 2002 Topps Chrome Black Refractor PSA 10 sold on ebay for $900 in 2012.  You can find value in the $100 range with some of his other auto's and refractors for the more conservative investors.

Honorable Mentions:
Brian Urlacher
Champ Bailey
Charles Woodson

You can invest in current rookie cards but it's a bit of a gamble.  Veterans with Hall of Fame credentials are a much safer bet when it comes to NFL players whose cards are worthy of investment.

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