As legend has it, Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino once told a player who was thinking about leaving for the NBA, “You can go and help your family, or you can stay and help mine.”
Louisville football coach Charlie Strong may want Pitino to keep that sentiment to himself, at least for the next few weeks.
John Middlekauf of CSN Bay Area and Gil Brandt of NFL.com report that Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has contemplated staying in school. Brandt adds that he would be “shocked” if that happens.
We’d be shocked, too. Bridgewater currently sits at or near the top of the expected draft order. He can’t push his stock much higher by staying in school for another year.
Even if he could, the current CBA doesn’t reward waiting. Before 2011, coming back to school could for some players help both the coach’s family and the player’s family by driving up exponentially the player’s expected earnings on his rookie deal. Now, with the dollars at the top of the draft dramatically lower, it’s far more important to get to the NFL and start putting in years toward the second contract, when a player (especially a franchise quarterback) can get paid a lot of money for his services.
For Bridgewater, the question is whether he wants to continue getting paid nothing, while others connected to the program get paid plenty.
Of course, there’s a chance Bridgewater will get paid under the table by someone. (Legal disclaimer: We have no evidence of any kind to support the notion that any player at any college has ever gotten paid by anyone connected to the football program.)
There’s also a chance he’ll end up buying at some point down the road at a reduced cost a bunch of Papa John’s restaurants in a state that has just legalized marijuana. (Legal disclaimer: We have no evidence of any kind to support the notion that the Papa John’s guy would sell a bunch of Papa John’s restaurants at a reduced cost to Bridgewater or any other current or former Louisville player.)