I wish I could come here and tell you to sit back and relax because Russell Wilson will be our starting QB in the fall. I still can’t say that though. I know that all the media reports are about him playing both professional baseball and one more season of college football. Just yesterday the NC State compliance office released the criteria of what it would take for Russell to maintain his NCAA football eligibility. Even Russell came out Tuesday, the day he was drafted, and stated that his wish is to play both. The one party we still haven’t heard from is the Colorado Rockies and they are the ones that hold all the cards. If they don’t want Russell playing football then guess what … he won’t be playing football, no matter how much Russell, TOB, or Wolfpack Nation wants him to.
Then on Wednesday night Russell’s dad passed away. So the day after getting drafted and experiencing one of life’s biggest highs was followed by a sucker punch to the gut and one of life’s biggest lows. Please join me in sending your thoughts and prayers to Russell and his family right now in their time of need. I know Russell’s dad, who was himself a college football and baseball standout for Dartmouth University, was extremely proud of his son. I’m glad that one of father and son’s last moments together was that of celebrating the son realizing his dream of being drafted in the 4th round (140th overall) of the MLB Draft. I don’t want to speculate how this will affect Russell’s decision, but I have to think that it will affect it one way or another. Russell had a lot of love and respect for his father so if his father had given him some advice I would think that would weigh a little heavier on him than anything else right now.
I’ve actually tried to do some research on what the slot money is for 4th round selections in the MLB Draft. MLB doesn’t make that info easy to find, but the best I can tell is the slot money is in the $250k – $400k range. I know that’s a huge range, but I feel pretty confident that the actual slot money is somewhere in that range. I told you I did my research, right? I can tell you that several 4th round selections over the past few drafts have received signing bonuses in the $1 million – $1.5 million range. All those players were either high schoolers or college underclassmen so they had the leverage in the contract negotiations.
Then there’s the huge outlier that is called Jeff Smardzija. The former Notre Dame RHP and WR that was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 5th round (149th overall) of the 2006 MLB Draft signed a $10 million, five-year contract that included a $2.5 million signing bonus to give up football. That was a special exception because Smardzija was projected as a 1st round pick in the next NFL Draft and was a top baseball prospect that only fell to the 5th round because of uncertainties regarding his future so I’m not suggesting that Russell could be in for that kind of payday. The reason I bring that up is to just point out the fact that the Colorado Rockies have the power to pay Russell enough money to keep him from playing football if that is the direction they wish to go.
If I was a betting man … I don’t know why I always say that, who am I kidding. Let me start over, since I’m a betting man I’m going to predict that Russell signs with the Rockies for $1.15 million with the stipulation that he gives up football. Actually I just modified a dartboard by placing a bunch of different contract figures on it and that’s the one I hit. I’ve never been the best dart player so we shall see if my method for predicting the future is worth anything. I said this back in January and I think it still applies. Stay tuned.