Gold rush

You’ve probably heard about the amazing number of juniors leaving LSU early for the glory and riches of the NFL draft, but you may not have gotten the entire story.

The NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, which was signed in 2011, cut into the gap in pay for rookies drafted in the top rounds and lower rounds. That has created more reason to jump even when a player’s draft stock could be improved with another season.

“More and more you are going to see middle-round juniors entering the draft because of the new pay scale from the new CBA,” Detillier said. “As a third or fourth round pick, you can make between $350,000 to $500,000 with a signing bonus. And it’s not worth it financially to stay another year in college to go up a round because the money is about the same. LSU is just one of the first real test cases where you had an extremely talented junior class. There will be others like this from other schools in the future.”  [Emphasis added.]

Miles may try to spin this as being a sign of success for his program, but if LSU tumbles a bit next season as a result of the departures, let’s see if he’s as sanguine about it then.

My bet is that if this trend continues, you’ll start hearing coaches at the major programs talk more about paying their players.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Gold rush

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    “talk more about paying their players.”

    Numerous punch lines available.

  2. Irwin R Fletcher

    That’s a little bit of an oversell…the difference between round 2 and round 3/4 has never been huge. When you consider most players taken in the first 4 rounds do not get cut before playing a season, the guaranteed dollars for a 4th rounder under the old CBA could be as high as $1,000,000 while a mid-2nd rounder was close to $2M.

    Of course, to 21 year olds, it’s hard to explain the huge difference between $1M and $2M. But it is easy to explain the difference between $1M and $8M-$4M which was roughly the guarantee for getting into the mid to late first round.

    Frankly, I think the biggest difference isn’t the difference in the pay scale that is going to drive more Juniors to the draft. The reason for jumping as a junior for a 3rd round draft grade is actually the same as it was under the old CBA…longevity. My hunch is that the wage scale will clarify the fact that it is hanging around for a second and third contract in the NFL which ends up being the real payday for 95% of the players. Getting in early…and bypassing one year of injuries, age, and wear and tear…makes a lot of sense from that standpoint.

  3. 81Dog

    it’s sort of like the AAU approach to NBA draft status. Go ahead and jump now, make SOME money, get that first contract behind you, and then make the BIG money for your second deal. Because, you know, you’re gonna light it up at the next level.

    I guess you can’t blame a kid who dreams of playing at the top level from pursuing it, especially if he’s going to be a pick in the first 3 or 4 rounds. Hines Ward was a third round draft choice, and it seemed to work out ok for him. He should send Jammi German a nice fruit basket every year on the first day of the draft.

    Everybody’s different. Some kids don’t come from comfortable backgrounds, they think three or four hundred grand is all the money in the world. Maybe they know they’re better at knocking people over than doing puzzles. Maybe college is a hoop to be jumped through, rather than a goal to be acheived.Good luck to the jumpers.

  4. Macallanlover

    In an age where athletes who are pro in one sport are allowed to compete as an amateur in a different sport, I really wonder why the NFL and NCAA cannot come to some agreement on the early departures. By drawing a line, say after the 1st and/or 2nd rounds, why wouldn’t the colleges and the NFL be better served to allow those players who are not evaluated as making an immediate contribution to stay in college ball and get additional playing time/training for another year? The NFL basically has a free “farm system” already with college football, paying a little up-front cash to the players wouldn’t affect them much, the players could buy their own insurance policy, and the CFB game would only lose a couple of dozen players. Much less disruptive, and the players can improve their skills on the field of play as opposed to the practice squads.

    I know this will be another non-traditional approach that many will be against automatically but the reality is, more and more players are jumping too early for anyone’s good. Selfishly this would protect the college game more, but has benfits for the NFL and allows the student to finish their degree requirements if things don’t work out. LSU’s situation is extreme but we have been hit hard with this most every year. This way the NFL gets the mega stars they can use, and the players that need additional development can get more playing time. As a condition of that, I don’t think the player should begin working with the professional staffs, and bonus payment could be partial if that becomes an issue. Just an off the wall thought before this continues to get worse for those of us who love CFB.

  5. Uglydawg

    “How ya gonna keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Parii?”
    What does this mean for players that want to actually complete their eligibility, ie Aaron Murray? It’s like dealing with “line breakers”, (see Six Flags..why Uglydawg doesn’t go there). It’s pretty easy to figure out your “place” as a quarterback entering the draft…but what about other positions? If so many juniors start coming out, that it overcrowds the field…somebody’s going to be left standing in line holding an empty bag. Of course, there are players not drafted every year, but this threatens to deplete the rosters of the schools that excel at recruiting, as is the case with LSU for next year.
    This begs the case for redshirting all of your incoming class and sticking to it. Maybe the NFL could work out a deal where they sign players, but with the caveat that they must complete another year in college and do it in good fashion, or the contract is void. Maybe restore eligibility for players who aren’t drafted…what a senior year THEY would produce, knowing they have to step their game up because they were rejects the first go-round.
    This is a growing problem and must be addressed, esp. for schools blessed with great talent.
    It could be that THE COACH WHO IS ADEPT AT KEEPING PLAYERS FOR FOUR YEARS becomes the coach who will be successful and in demand.