Thanks to Adidas, the prospect who posts the fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine will earn more than just pride.
Darren Rovell of ESPN reported that the company will sign the Combine's fastest runner to a shoe deal. Adidas has been advertising its promotion throughout Indianapolis, where the Combine is taking place.
Thus far, former Texas wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is set for the payday after posting a blazing time of 4.27 seconds in the drill. That's the second fastest time ever, only .03 seconds behind what Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson ran in 2008.
Interestingly, there appears to be a chance that whoever gets the top billing will play for the Oakland Raiders at some point in his career. As Rovell notes, the player who posted the top time in four of the past six Combines has played for the Raiders. Oakland drafted DeMarcus Van Dyke (2011), Jacoby Ford (2010) and Darrius Heyward-Bey (2009) and signed Yamon Figurs (2007) in 2010.
A company spokesperson told Rovell that Adidas hasn't decided on the size of the offer to the top speedster from this year's Combine.
Last year Robert Griffin III posted a time of 4.41 seconds, the fastest by a quarterback. He signed with
Adidas, making him the company's most prominent NFL player. Adidas also has deals with Broncos linebacker Von Miller, Dolphins running back Reggie Bush and Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. But because the NFL does not have a marketing deal with Adidas, these players are not allowed to wear Adidas gear during games.
Last year's top pick, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, signed with Nike. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, the top choice in the 2011 NFL Draft, signed with Under Armour.
Adidas gave Bush a contract for $1 million a year in 2006 when he was entering the NFL. That was a record for an NFL rookie. There haven't been precise figures cited, but published reports state that Griffin's deal with Adidas and Newton's deal with Under Armour have been higher.
If Goodwin maintains the top spot and accepts the offer from Adidas, he will be changing brands. Texas is a Nike school, and Goodwin also wore Nike at the London Olympics where he placed 10th in the long jump. Throw in the fact that the Combine is sponsored by Under Armour, and you get a sense of how competitive this industry is, and why it makes sense for Adidas to make some noise with this offer.