Iowa football: Hawks rank 23rd in active NFL earnings

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 20: Marshal Yanda
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 20: Marshal Yanda /

One measure of NFL success is by looking at active NFL earnings, and in that regard, the Iowa football team is doing pretty well in the pros.

The Iowa football team isn’t typically known for sending flashy guys or high-profile players to the NFL. Outside of both TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant going in the first round this year, the Iowa football team hasn’t sent a skill position to the NFL in the first round since Dallas Clark went to the Colts in 2003.

The point is that sometimes the Iowa football team can be lost in the shuffle of college teams experiencing the most NFL success simply because most of their big-time NFL guys are linemen.

A recent study, however, puts the Iowa football team right in the conversation of top teams in producing NFL talent, and there’s a little catch with it as well.

Sam Hellman from 247Sports ranked every single college football team by their active NFL earnings to create a top-25. Sitting at 23rd with $310 million active dollars earned was the Iowa football program, two spots ahead of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and behind four other Big Ten programs.

What I found interesting about this data though is that many of these programs were high on this list because of one player, meaning there was one stud that held up the program.

For example, Wisconsin is at 20th with $334 million, but $74.4 of that comes from Russel Wilson who spent just one season with the Badgers.

Purdue is an interesting inclusion on this list as well coming in at 18th with $344 million. The Boilermakers should be thanking Drew Brees for that though as he accounts for nearly 66% of total active earnings.

Utah, NC State, Ole Miss, Pitt, and Michigan all fall in this line of being held up by one very rich NFL player (Alex Smith, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald, and Tom Brady). Moreover, it’s worth noting that outside of Russel Wilson, all of these guys are on the verge of retirement so two years from now, we could see the Iowa football team rise significantly in these rankings.

George Kittle will be in line for a major contract deal and TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant could be as well. If Nate Stanley improves his draft stock to become a first-round quarterback, he could also cash in on a lucrative (and somewhat ridiculous) quarterback market.

Either way, what I find most interesting about this is the Hawks are held up by NFL veteran Marshall Yanda who has made a modest (by NFL standards) $60 million in his long career with the Baltimore Ravens. The other $250 million is made up by a large collection of guys from the Iowa football program that are just grinding. Guys like Josey Jewell, CJ Beathard, Adrian Clayborn, Casey Kreiter, and Carl Davis all come to mind.

Next. Where Stanley ranks among Big Ten West QBs. dark

It’s a testament, once again, to the type of program Kirk Ferentz has built with the Iowa football program. It’s a program build off blood, sweat, and tears. It’s hard work over talent, and the hard work translates well into NFL as evidenced by the Hawkeye’s inclusion on this list.