Quarterback Cardale Jones shocked the NFL world by announcing that he will not turn pro and will return to Ohio State for his junior season.
Jones is being both criticised, for taking a gamble on his financial future, and commended, for wanting to graduate before moving on to the NFL.
But while Jones is taking a gamble, it is not as big as it might appear and the upside is much bigger.
ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. projected Jones would be drafted in the second or third round. In last year’s draft, guard Xavier Su’a-Filo was taken with the first pick of the second round and signed a contract with $US4.0 million in guaranteed money. Quarterback Derek Carr was taken three picks later and received a contract with $US3.3 million guaranteed.
However, things are much different once you fall to the third round. Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz’s contract was just worth $US703,000 guaranteed for being the top pick of the third round.
And herein lies the problem for Jones. His draft projection is in no-man’s land. He’s risking a lot if he would have been taken early in the second round. But he is risking very little if he is not taken in the first two rounds. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, there is little difference between being taken in the third round versus the fourth or fifth round, something that could potentially happen if his stock falls between now and the 2016 draft.
On the other hand, as a quarterback that everybody agrees has all the physical tools NFL teams drool over, Jones has an excellent shot to boost his stock into the top-half of the first round next year.
Last year, guard Zack Martin got $US9.0 million as the 16th pick of the first round, nearly three-times what Carr got near the top of the second round. Going further, the top three picks of the draft signed contracts with an average guaranteed value of $US21.4 million.
So there is some risk for Jones, a lot of which can be compensated for with an insurance policy, but the upside is so much more and Jones just pushed all his chips to the middle of the table.
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