Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Something to Think About

Pop culture author Chuck Klosterman once wrote that he loved to watch college football because he got to witness the greatest moment in someones life. He would watch the Bowl Games of the lesser known teams and be fascinated by the fact that for many of the players this would be the most significant moment of their life. Some players will go on to the NFL and their college career will be treated merely as a stepping stone but for most it will be the highlight of their life.

I found this point of view really interesting because its true but something you never think about. Only a few weeks ago the NFL draft was on and while I was mostly concerned about who the Jets would take I couldn't help thinking about the fact that every time a player was selected a kid no older than 23 would become a millionaire.

Every single player picked in the 1st round of the NFL draft became a millionaire in an instant. They played football their entire lives for free and then their name gets called by the NFL commissioner and they become filthy rich. 32 people make more money in one second than most people will make in their entire life.

Some become richer than others however as the number you are picked at, and also your position, factor into how much your contract and signing bonus will be. For Sam Bradford, the quarterback who was selected 1st overall by the Rams, the payday was huge and he will probably get a contract worth well over $60 million. For Kyle Wilson, the cornerback who the Jets took with the 29th pick, the payday will be a lot less eye opening as he will probably get a contract worth roughly $12 million.

The whole draft I was thinking about this. Then I thought about Jimmy Clausen. Clausen was a quarterback from Notre Dame and was being projected as a sure fire top-10 pick in the draft. He ended up getting drafted 48th overall and in the process lost a TONNE of money. Just how much did Clausen lose by falling so far in the draft? USA Today did a study and here is what they found out:

CNBC's Darren Rovell said that the guaranteed money Clausen will likely earn in the 48th spot is about $2.6 million. At pick No. 8, where ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had projected him to go, Clausen would have earned about $22.6 million. So that's a difference of $20 million.

The 48th pick in last year's draft, Bears DB Darcel McBath, signed for about $2 million guaranteed. He earned $1.9 million last year.

And the pick at No. 13 last year, Redskins DE Brian Orakpo, signed for about $12.1 million guaranteed. He earned $4.4 million last year.

How crazy is that? Every time Clausen's name wasn't called he lost roughly $500,000 and millions of people saw this. Now Clausen may well go on to have an amazing NFL career and get a huge contract when he becomes a free agent but for now he will be making only a fraction of what he could have been making had he not had so many incidents off the field while at Notre Dame.

What were these incidents you might ask. Well the first one occurred back in 2007 when he was given a ticket for illegal transportation of alcohol because he was driving a friend back from the liquor store and Clausen was underage. Apparently in Indiana it is a crime to have unopened booze in the car if you are a minor.

The second incident occurred in 2009 outside a bar. Clausen was at a bar with friends and family following a loss to Connecticut and was assaulted by some pissed off Notre Dame fans who were drunk and blamed Clausen for the loss. He got a black eye but wasn't charged with anything because, well, he didn't do anything other than get beat up.

So those are the two incidents that cost Clausen $20 million. He got caught driving a friend home from the liquor store and was punched in the face at a bar by some upset Fighting Irish fans. That is the difference between driving a Lambo and a Range Rover. Now there may have been other reasons teams passed on Clausen but for the most part it was because people questioned his "character" and his "values."

Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King tried to call Clausen after the 1st round to ask him some questions about why thought he may have not been picked but when he got a hold of Clausen all he was told was, "I don't wanna talk about it" and then a dial tone. Not the most professional way to handle it but can you blame him? I'd be pissed if a lost $100 let alone $20 million.

Whether you think he got a raw deal or not the fact remains that in the span of 24 hours Clausen lost $20 million. He will still get a contract worth over $1 million but its just crazy to think that a 22 year old had to sit and watch as his potential bank account dwindled away.

Just something to think about.

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