The Case to Stay

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Last updated: 12/13/2013 4:44 AM
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Football
Should He Stay or Should He Go? The Case For Braxton Miller Staying
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — We've already talked about why Braxton Miller might be convinced to leave, but the point of writing down the pros and cons is that there are two sides to every decision. The arguments for staying can sometimes fall on deaf ears when the sound of cha-chings are dancing around in a player's head.

Braxton Miller
Photo by Dan Harker
Braxton Miller

Putting a list together is one way to silence those distractions and allow a player to look at a situation analytically. It will also allow them to see if their heart and mind are aligned on the same side. If they are, then the decision is easy. If they aren't, that's when the pain sets in. If the two sides are evenly weighted, then even the smallest addition can swing the balance.

If a player is already leaning one way or the other, then many times the pros and cons will simply confirm their feelings. Whether that describes Braxton Miller or not, we don't know. What we do know, however, is that there are certainly reasons for Miller to return.

Pros of Staying

1. College is pretty fun. Yeah, going to school and playing football is like having a job or two, but it's still not a “Job”. There's a reason that everyone will tell you that their college years go by quickly, and it's not because they hated them. Players miss college when they leave it, even despite the “school” part.

2. The NFL is a cutthroat business. This goes hand-in-hand with how fun college is. There is no loyalty. There are no four-year scholarships. Once you stop performing, you stop getting paid. This is real life. There is no staying in the background. That only lasts so long. Real life is stressful, even with the paychecks. Some players just aren't ready to be thrust into that world at 21 years old, and it's understandable, especially when they're competing against 31-year old men who are willing to kill themselves for just one more contract.

3. Just not ready yet. This is always a tricky one because what one player may be hearing in his left ear may be completely different than what he is hearing in his right ear. For Miller, there is obviously still room for improvement, and we only have to look at the struggles in his last four games for proof of that. However, he is still very much the quarterback that was at the top of the nation in passing efficiency and completion percentage through October, but one more year of improving his craft could bring him the consistency that he is lacking right now.

4. Earn much more money in less time. There really isn't much difference monetarily between the third and seventh round of the NFL Draft. If Miller was to be the first pick of the second round, however, his signing bonus alone would essentially equal any four-year contract as lower-round pick. The four-year contract for a second-round pick is worth $1-$3 million more over the life of a contract than anything from the fourth round and below. Additionally, the last pick of the first round is looking at a million more in signing bonus, and at least that over the four years of the contract. If Miller has the potential to be a top 10 pick, then you're looking at a signing bonus of anywhere from $7-$15 million, and that top 10 status is much more likely to happen next year than this year.

5. The opportunity to win a national championship. Yes, this is sappy and storybook, but it's also not new. Players return for their senior seasons “all the time” because of a desire to win a national championship. Sometimes those players fail (see: Michigan; 2007), and sometimes those players succeed (see: Doss, Michael; 2002). With that in mind, could a loss in a Big Ten Championship Game be the turning point in bringing Miller back for one more go at it?

We can speculate on which of these pros and cons might mean more to Miller, and for all we know, just one factor can outweigh every other factor combined. Miller will likely put in for his draft evaluation, and in many cases, that is the ultimate deciding factor. If he doesn't like his draft position, then it would be understandable for him to come back.

While many would wonder about his current financial situation, especially considering the fact that he has a one-year old son, his father told the Chicago Tribune that there isn't a “hardship situation” involved, and fatherhood likely wouldn't influence his decision.

If he comes back, then yes, the money would have to wait a year. The money he finds waiting for him after that year, however, could surpass anything he would have received by leaving a year early. If money is ultimately the deciding factor, then couldn't the “most money” be the final decider?

Only time will tell, but it will be telling soon.

The Case to Go - By Tony Gerdeman

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