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Johnny Manziel signs trading-card deal with Panini America

Make room in the shoebox.

The Johnny Manziel rookie trading card will be released in late May, as the former Heisman Trophy and soon-to-be NFL rookie has signed with Panini America for a memorabilia and autograph deal. The company's line of trading cards, Score, will include some Manziel rookie cards that have been autographed by the projected first-round draft pick. According to, Manziel has already autographed jerseys, helmets, photos and footballs for the company that are now available online.

The release of the 2014 Score line of trading cards figures to follow the NFL draft by a couple of weeks, just in time to begin capitalizing on the excitement of his pro career. Manziel is just the latest of Panini America's line of star athletes, which include NBA stars Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin, and NFL quarterbacks Andrew Luck and E.J. Manuel.

It's difficult to fathom how much outside income Manziel has the potential to derive before he even plays an NFL game, much less if he parlays a successful pro career into even more marketing and merchandising dollars. He already has signed an apparel contract with Nike, which began profiting on his endorsement on the day of his pro-day workout with a line of Manziel "pro day" gear. He's already appeared in a McDonald's commercial, and he's also well on his way to legal rights to the phrase "Johnny Football," which could help reel in even more outside income.

The trading card business isn't exactly booming when it comes to re-sale value, but retail sales don't sag in the same way. And you can bet that for whatever Panini America invested in Manziel exclusivity, it knows what the market will bear.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread.*

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