As Bitcoin becomes increasingly popular, NFL front offices have had to negotiate with players who are now seeking some or all of their salary in Bitcoin. Sean Culkin was looking for his entire 2021 salary in Bitcoin — but it won’t be coming from the team he was a member of.
According to a report by Adam Teicher of ESPN, the Kansas City Chiefs released the tight end on Monday. He had announced prior to the NFL Draft that he planned to convert his entire salary for the 2021 season into Bitcoin. Culkin, a former undrafted free agent out of Missouri, had signed a reserve/future contract with Kansas City in February.
“I fully believe Bitcoin is the future of finance and I wanted to prove that I have real skin in the game — not just trying to make a quick buck,” Culkin wrote on his Twitter account on April 26. “I will be converting my entire 2021 NFL salary to #Bitcoin.”
Culkin, who had been seeking a backup tight end job on the Chiefs, was left as the odd man out by Kansas City’s recent personnel moves at the position. The Chiefs added journeyman tight end Blake Bell in free agency, and then used a fifth-round pick on Duke tight end Noah Gray. With Culkin’s release, the Chiefs now have a total of five tight ends on their roster: All-Pro Travis Kelce, Bell, Gray, Nick Keizer, and Evan Baylis.
Culkin had projected to attempt to make the Chiefs’ roster in training camp, as he had joined the team following a three-year stint with the Los Angeles Chargers and a 2020 season spent mostly on the Baltimore Ravens‘ practice squad. Culkin has primarily served as a blocking tight end and special teamer, but has two career receptions for 36 yards.
While he now seeks another NFL roster to land on, Culkin’s desire to convert his entire salary to Bitcoin ties into a larger trend of players seeking part or all of their salaries in alternatives to the U.S. dollar. Late in the 2020 season, veteran NFL left tackle and Bitcoin advocate Russell Okung received half of his salary from the Carolina Panthers in Bitcoin.