Friday, December 10, 2010

the Longshots Impossibilities

Last week I promised an individual post for each of my bullet points in Richt's To-Do List. When I made that promise I didn't realize exactly how much reading I would need to do to be able to type intelligently on the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement. And I intended to do these in the order in which they were presented. All that to say two things really: I'm sorry it's taken this long for the first installment and I'm still no expert in lawyerese.

I get the feeling that many fans across the country believe the potential work stoppage in the pros may affect rising seniors and red-shirt juniors' decisions significantly. The fact of the matter is that this likely isn't true at all. Namely for these reasons:
  • I don't believe there will be a work stoppage. It doesn't appear owners or players are in any position financially to afford it. Owners have been hit by the recession pretty hard and players tend to spend as fast as they run. Couple that with the fact that there's been few (if any) hard lines when it comes to negotiating so far and it seems less and less likely the NFLPA and the NFL owners will allow a work stoppage.
  • And even if negotiations eventually do fall through, it would likely come well after January 15th which is the deadline for underclassmen to declare. 
In the words of Montgomery Gentry...Gone!
So I expect current underclassmen like AJ and Justin to monitor the NFL headlines, but it shouldn't prove much of a factor. Any college player with remaining eligibility that declares on the 15th of January will already be cozy with an agent shortly thereafter. Meaning, they're gone. Done with classes and dorm life forever.

Other factors that will come into play with AJ, Justin Houston and any others:
  • Family. Do they feel a pressing need to support their loved ones monetarily? How big of an emphasis is placed on education?
  • Education. How close are they to graduation? And closer doesn't always necessarily help the player lean towards staying. If they are a semester or two away in a major that can be found online, it becomes that much easier to finish in the comfort of their own new home with a brand new laptop.
  • Maturity. Sometimes you see kids jump too soon before they are ready athletically or emotionally. Sometimes you see grown men wait despite the fact that they are ready athletically, simply because they are not yet ready to leave what has become their second home.
But you and I both know the greatest (and usually only) factor is money. I also did a lot of searching in terms of draft status for AJ and Justin. I didn't see AJ below a 5th pick overall and saw Justin as high as late round 1 (keep in mind this is early for even speculative mock drafts, given that the teams' positions on the board plays a big role. Especially for a player like Houston that may not fit every defensive scheme).

I don't have as good a read on Justin, but I'm sure AJ would love to stay another season. But when you're the best prospect at wide receiver and can only help your stock through a proves to be nearly impossible to turn down the money. So I expect both numbers 8 and 42 to be available. We'll see if there are any surprises in the coming weeks.


Ollllddude said...

You know I love this blog and your work here as much as anyone, but your analysis on why it won't matter boils down to these two statements: 1) it ain't going to happen, and 2) even if it does happen, they will declare before it does, and it won't matter.

Point 1 assumes that owners in particular will act rationally which I would submit is a very big assumption.

Point 2 assumes that a player will act impulsively without getting any help from knowledgeable people about whether the lockout is likely and what the ramifications are. In my opinion the only players doing that are those in academic trouble who have nothing to lose.

When this issue has been brought up previously, the main argument for leaving has been that even if there is a lockout, a player can get rich off endorsements and will be fine. Maybe Cammy Cam will get that money, but as you point out, the economy is down everywhere, and I don't think any regular player will be able to count on enough endorsement money unless he also gets a contract with a team to make the jump on that basis alone.

So, I don't think we are really any closer to knowing now than we were before. Just my $.02.

Bernie said...

One thing I'm sure of - the NCAA isn't going to allow reinstatement for underclassmen after they've declared for the draft, despite what some people are suggesting.

One thing I'm fairly sure of - there won't be a lockout or any type of work stoppage. I think both the NFLPA and the owners want an 18 game season and will agree to terms on it which will ease the rest of the negotiations. Granted, if AJ and Justin are advised differently they are getting information different than what I've read, heard. Hope and pray it's information given in their best interests.

Lastly, one thing I never can be sure of - you're right Ollllddude, one can never truly predict the decision of another man, especially one who is 21 years of age. We really aren't any closer to knowing for sure.