There is a lot going on at The University of Louisville but the question everyone is asking is, “Will Lamar declare for the NFL draft or will he return for his senior year?”
It’s funny that everyone seems to have the answer. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who said that they know what he is going to do. Don’t believe anything you hear because nobody really knows, including Lamar.
Lamar said that he wouldn’t even entertain the idea until after the bowl game. While I believe that he and his mom probably didn’t start talking about it till after the bowl game, you would be crazy to believe that he hasn’t spent a few restless nights pondering what he should do by weighing the pros and cons. It’s just human nature.
Let’s be honest here. The only reason to leave is money and the only reason to stay is to put yourself in a better position to make more money in the future.
So let’s look at the money –
Every rookie drafted will get a 4-year deal. Undrafted rookies are only eligible for 3-year contracts and only first round players have exclusive fifth-year options in their contracts.
This is from a Business Insider article by Cork Gaines and Diana Yukari posted on Apr. 27, 2017 that shows how the value drops in the later rounds from the 2016 draft…
Last year’s top pick, Jared Goff, signed a contract worth $27.9 million, while the 12th pick received less than half of that at 12.8 million. In addition, only players in the first round received contracts that were at least 70% guaranteed.
Things really drop in the second round, where the average contract was worth about $5.1 million over four years ($1.3 million per year), according to Spotrac.com, but with only half of that guaranteed. The value of third-round contracts drops to $3.3 million, but takes an even bigger hit in guaranteed value, with the average contract worth just $756,000 in guaranteed money.
Once a player falls past the third round, most draft picks will sign a 4-year deal in the $2.4-2.9 million range. The only major difference late in the draft is the signing bonus, ranging from $400,000-600,000 in the fourth round to slightly more than $60,000 in the seventh round.
So the thought is that if Lamar doesn’t think he will go in the first or second round, he could return to school and try to raise his draft position for the 2019 draft.
But at what risk?
Yes, there is insurance that athletes can take out in case they get injured but what if he returns to UofL and has a bad year (by his standards)? His draft value could go even further down costing him ever more money. The return to school could potentially cost him money and a year of NFL experience.
He could also have an even better year at Louisville where he showcases his improved accuracy and potentially moves up to one of the top 2 quarterbacks drafted in 2019.
Most NFL analysts and scouts believe that 3, maybe 4, quarterbacks will be taken in the first round. They predict that 2, possibly 3, will be taken in the second round of this year’s draft. They also rank Lamar as the 5th or 6th best quarterback in the draft. That would mean that Lamar would most likely be a second round draft pick.
But with Lamar’s super freakish athletic ability, you would think that at least 1 team would take a chance on him earlier than projected. There in-lies the problem.
If Lamar decides to enter the draft you would have to think that he is either, okay with being a second round pick, or he has been assured that a team would be willing to take a chance on him earlier.
I have had the pleasure of covering Lamar this season and was able to witness his greatness from the sideline. While it was amazing to watch, that doesn’t make me an expert on the subject. So I reached out to several people who deal with NFL talent for a living and asked them what would they advise Lamar to do if he was their son. Everyone of them said they would tell him to enter the draft because another year of putting up ridiculous statistics isn’t going to change the opinion that NFL general managers and scouts have already made about him. He could help himself more at the NFL combine than he could in college. Most think he needs to sit and learn from a veteran quarterback for a couple of years before he is ready to take over a NFL team. He is the youngest QB in the draft and has plenty of time to learn and fill out his frame.
My opinion is that I want him to do what is best for him. I appreciate all he has done for Louisville and now it’s time to do something for himself. I don’t envy his situation because this is a very tough decision. It will heavily impact the rest of his life. If he decides to return for his senior year, I won’t be sad. No matter what he does, I will never doubt him and he will always have a fan in me. #L1C4
As Always, GO CARDS!