Bridgewater, like Clowney, should consider not playing


With college football players blocked from joining the NFL until three years have passed since the player’s high school class has graduated, what should a college football player who has shown in only two years that he has the ability to thrive at the next level do?

The right answer, from a business standpoint, is to quit playing football for free.  Or, technically, for a free education that the player may have never wanted and, if things go as planned, will never actually use.

But 20-year-old football players aren’t wired to be businessmen.  They’re wired to play football.  And to not worry about the worst-case scenario.

So the middle ground becomes buying insurance.  According to, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has become the latest underclassmen to do so, purchasing $10 million in coverage against a career-ending injury.

But here’s the problem.  If Bridgewater suffers a career-ending injury this year, $10 million won’t even begin to cover what he could have earned over the course of an NFL career, if he’s truly a top-five prospect for the 2014 draft.  And if he doesn’t suffer a “career-ending injury” (but instead an injury that limits his career or greatly reduces his value), he’s not getting any of the insurance money.

The decision to buy the insurance reflects an understanding by the player that he’s taking a risk by playing for free.  Still, players like Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney are taking only half measures to protect themselves.

If they really want to protect their future earning potential, they’ll go all the way and refuse to play another game of college football.

Fortunately for South Carolina and Louisville, the thing that helps make both players great is the thing that will keep them from ever choosing to not play.

49 responses to “Bridgewater, like Clowney, should consider not playing

  1. This is just stupid. Using this logic, they should refuse to play until their second professional contract because of the effect of the rookie wage scale on their earning potential.

  2. My one comment is guys blow out knees all the time just working out or walking down the street. Injuries happen all over the place but it isn’t a bad idea.

  3. Stop it! These guys need to play! Nobody is twisting there arms to play football. So all these “smart people” saying these guys should not play should stop. People are putting a lot of pressure on Clowney. I remember when Reggie Bush had all this hype. He is a decent player, but not great. HTTR!

  4. I disagree. Bridgewater, to become a top tier NFL QB, needs as many real game reps as possible. He won’t get those reps by sitting out a year.

    And as for protecting himself- It’s football. Injuries can and will happen at any time. Look at all the injuries so far this year and we haven’t even played a down of preseason.

  5. Pretty disgusting that you would even suggest passing up the opprotunity for a college level education that they might “never actually use.”

    Heres an idea: work as hard in class as you do in the football field. That way, you have an education to fall back on should you suffer a career ending injury this year. If you get hurt your junior year of college you attend your senior year and leave with a degree that will get you a well paying job without the risk of injury.

  6. dumb argument – if they sit out for a year they drop on draft day and don’t get the money that they are trying “not to lose” which is what this really is.

    Sports are about playing to win, not trying not to lose.

  7. if folks like Bridgewater and Clowney were smart, they would be studying finance during their third and final year in college.

  8. This is just stupid. They should also stop driving. Also, you know they will hold out after their year based on this logic.

  9. I’ve always wondered why one of these pseudo football leagues like the USFL did not make more of an effort to attract and recruit kids out of high school with the lure of actually being able to pay them and to give them exposure to players and coaches with NFL experience. With all of the restrictions with what you can or can’t do in the NCAA, I am sure that at least a few kids would take that path.

  10. Bridgewater isn’t even in the same realm as Clowney when it comes to talent. He needs to have a big year to even be considered the top QB let alone a top 5 pick. Clowney is in a league of his own.

  11. Not being from the States, I may not understand this completely (in which case, feel free to explain it to me), but wouldn’t this go against his scholarship terms?

    Seems to me it’s ‘just’ an occupational hazard.

  12. I think it’s awesome how a college kid can get a $10 million insurance policy and I can’t get half the services I need being someone who is employed with full insurance benefits.

  13. By this logic after high school highly recruited players should sit out for 3 years to make sure they don’t get injured in college playing for free. And maybe really good junior players should sit out their senior year of high school as well…

  14. I’m sure the insurance companies are more than willing to give him a 50 to 100 million dollar policy but you can bet the premiums are going to be huge.

    How is his family going to afford it and draw not suspicion as to where they money is coming from unless they are loaded.

    Bridgewater’ s premium is rumored to 80K. Not a backbreaking amount. His family can probably come up with, with the help of relatives and friends.

  15. The insurance policy is the way to go. And $10 million is plenty.

    Who knows if Bridgewater is a top-5 quarterback? He hasn’t been poked and prodded yet like a draftee. Didn’t we hear the same “sure thing top-5” about Matt Barkley a year ago? I remember hearing Dennis Dixon was a 1st rounder before his knee injury (sure…..).

    He’s got to keep playing and improving and putting good things down on tape to even GET drafted in the top 5. The NFL is harsh in their evaluation for even one bad college season, let alone “sitting out”.

    Clowney might be an exception, but he’s a Reggie White type talent. But Bridgewater? Come on… he’s not Andrew Luck.

  16. Just play the game and don’t play scared.

    He may be a great college player now, but the NFL obviously plays at a faster speed. Sitting out doesn’t help him, he needs as many reps as he can get to hone his skills.

  17. The insurance premiums must be quite a bit on a $10MM policy… Who is paying that? Boosters?

  18. If they were only interested in their health, they wouldn’t be playing football in the first place! If they decide to take a year off from college ball, many would question their motivation and their draft stock would likely suffer as a result.

    Attorneys have a hard time understanding it, but sometimes one has to live their life and deal with the consequences of their decisions. There is no perfect strategy to avert all risk, and there’s not always someone else to blame for what happens to you.

  19. Didnt Mike Williams of USC holdout a year fer some reason. N when he hit the pros he was never worth the hype. Play hard every day there is no promise of tomorrow!

  20. Go to the CFL for one year and make sure they understand your terms or play college ball or sit out a year ya that would really do some good. Try growing up nothing in life is a sure thing. What a fool.!!!!!

  21. raidadon says: Jul 30, 2013 4:44 PM

    Didnt Mike Williams of USC holdout a year fer some reason. N when he hit the pros he was never worth the hype. Play hard every day there is no promise of tomorrow!

    Mike Williams declared for the draft and hired an agent even though he was only 2 years out of high school and thus lost his eligibility to play again for USC. He then stuck in a state of limbo for a year.

  22. I dont think there is a such thing as a career ending injury anymore. The way these guys come back from injury now what do these guys have to be afraid of. Prob no matter what Id imagine Clowney will be the first pick. If Latimore and Gore are able to come back from those injuries then they should be fine.

  23. How did not playing work out for Maurice Clarrett and Mike Williams? Remember they both went a year without playing after losing their college eligibility because of Clarrett’s lawsuit to get into the NFL, which I think Williams joined or something like that. Once they finally did get into the NFL, they were both awful.

    You don’t get better by not playing, you only get worse. So unless both Clowney and Bridgewater want to end up as NFL busts that won’t see a second contract then they better keep playing.

  24. On one hand, if you are good enough to be a top 5 pick, then you shouldn’t have to wait another year to enter the league and risk a career altering injury/performance. But if the player sits out a year, their draft stock plummets and some team gets a steal in the 3rd round. Either way the kid gets screwed out of money. The only recent example that I can think of that contradicts this is Mike Williams (USC) who missed a year and went #10 to the Lions in 2005. But he can probably just thank Matt Millen for that. Anyone else?

    The 3-years-out-of-highschool rule is a crime for maybe one or two players every couple of years. It also protects 10s-100s of kids from making terrible decisions because they need the money/don’t want to go to college. You can probably use Mike Williams as an example for this side of the argument, too. If he played that last year instead of sitting out (because he was ineligible, but whatever), he might have had a better chance and a longer career/bigger impact.

  25. Yeah, sit out the year and slip to the 2nd or 3rd round because your competitive drive is questioned. Then spend the next 4 years trying to earn your big contract in the NFL instead of against college players. Who’s the genius here?

  26. Yeah, pretty sure blowing out my knee is worth a $10 million payout before I’m 22. He’ll have two teammates this year do that for free. Lets not put this guy in the hall of fame just yet. Oh no, Warren Moon is coming after me now.

  27. True competitors play the game because they love it. The money is an added bonus.

    Also, show me a QB who’s taken an entire year off and came back the same player. This argument is circular and will always be. If you want to argue D1 football and bball players should get a cut of licensing agreements and bowl payouts. I’m all for it, but these kids will not and should not stop playing, just ask Mr. Clarett or Mike Williams.

  28. This kid should be like luck rg3 and Wilson and get the DEGREE he is being given for FREE. And he’s not an eighth of the quarterback those three are, so he will need it.

  29. I get so sick of hearing these guys and their supporters whine about being forced to “play for free”. They’re getting a $100,000 education in exchange for playing a game they love “for free”. I would have gladly spent 4 years playing football in exchange for a free education. Frickin spoiled, pampered babies. Shut up and play. Or quit and get a job. But either way…..shut up.

  30. Agreed, they system needs to be changed. It’s a mess for so many reasons. And it’s just a matter of time before some change happens, so the wise thing would be to figure out the best way to change it and make that happen before somebody with a really bad or disastrous idea comes into power and makes things worse.

  31. These “student” athletes are already getting paid handsomely for their play on the football field. Otherwise, how could they possibly afford such expensive insurance policies?

  32. why do people like me who would go to college to get a degree have to pay ? there are players who never attend class or graduate. the books need to be opened

  33. Agreed. The scholarships for athletes are not that great of “redness” creations in the school budget anyways.

    Plus, why play for a scholarship that has to be annually renewed while not being able to have a real outside job to get additional income anyways??

    You can only survive on a mandatorily annually renewed scholarship if your parents got in the oil business. Right Johnny Manziel.

    Plus, you may have less risk if you say no to college football, wait for the combine or wait and pay $250 for the regional combine.

    I am rooting for Marcus Lattimore, but my proposed alternative may have been better for him than playing.

  34. In a sport that prides itself on being tough, never giving up and being the ultimate team sport; you’re suggesting players think purely of themselves and quit? Yeah, that sure will endure themselves to that culture.

    More and more talented players are falling in the draft these days due to character. These guys could drop like stones regardless of their skills. What team wants a guy who very well may have the mentality to be saving himself for his second contract or free agency?

    And who is to say these guys can thrive at the next level? There have been plenty of players who have succeeded in college only to be humbled in the pros.

  35. doucheflorifice says: Jul 30, 2013 4:43 PM

    Attorneys have a hard time understanding it, but sometimes one has to live their life and deal with the consequences of their decisions. There is no perfect strategy to avert all risk, and there’s not always someone else to blame for what happens to you


    Perfectly said!!

  36. The problem these kids have is that the NCAA acts as a minor league for the NFL but turns around and uses them to make money hand over fist for the schools athletic directors none of which they will ever see a penny of. Scuttle the NCAA, create a true minor league for young prospects and pay the kids for putting their health on the line.

  37. This is as ridiculous as Florio’s fear of flying. Should Bridgewater and Clowney avoid airplanes too? How is sitting out a college season acceptable while every other potential 2014 draftee faces questions about their passion for the game? If these kids are afraid to risk playing college football, what else are they afraid of and how can you expect those players to be accepted by their future NFL teammates who must play to earn much less money?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!