In the eyes of his former coach Nick Saban, Mark Barron had 10-15 million reasons to return for his senior season last year. As in $10-15 million dollars.
The former Alabama safety could have made the leap to the NFL after the 2010 season, but opted to stick around for another year to heal a pectoral muscle injury and improve his draft stock — and improved he did.
“From a business perspective, financially, guys that get drafted in the first round get paid quite a bit of money. But if you get drafted in the second or third round, you don’t get paid quite as much money, and you can’t enhance your chances of coming back.” Saban said during Tuesday’s SEC conference call. “Just look at Mark Barron. Last year, being injured, he may have been a late first round or early second round draft pick, now he is probably going to get picked in the top 15. That’s 10 or 15 more million dollars he made by coming back to school, plus he graduated. Plus, when he can’t play anymore, he will have much better chance to be successful in life. From a business standpoint. I thought it was a really good model for players to try and follow.”
Many experts have Barron pegged to be drafted 14th overall by the Dallas Cowboys, a team with an owner in Jerry Jones that dishes out mammoth, million dollar contracts like sticks of gum. Last year’s 14th overall pick, Robert Quinn, received a 4-year deal worth around $10 million.
Barron won’t be the only former Crimson Tide player skyrocketing up the tax brackets. Running back Trent Richardson is set to be a top-five pick in a couple days, and can expect a deal worth around $20 million over four years. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and linebacker Courtney Upshaw are projected to be off the board by pick 24, where linebacker Dont’a Hightower is projected to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last year’s 24th pick, Cameron Jordan, signed his rookie contract for an estimated $7.7 million. If the Mel Kiper’s and Todd McShay’s of the world are correct in their projections, Alabama’s five draftees could combine to earn over $50 million from their rookie contracts.
Nick Saban makes millions of dollars as the head coach at Alabama, but he is making his players millions more.
Article by Ben Culpepper for AlabamaIntel.com