Monday night, J.J. McCarthy helped lead his Michigan Wolverines to their first National Championship in the Bowl Championship Series/College Football Playoff era. The last time Michigan won a “Natty” was in 1997, and they had to share it with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, prompting the creation of the BCS the next year.
Now, the question for the star junior quarterback – with another year of eligibility – is already making its rounds on social media:
“Will he, or won’t he?”
Almost every media pundit has already punched his NFL Draft card, but they are all wrong.
Do I have some inside information? Perhaps, or maybe I’m just better at reading the tea leaves than the rest. Regardless, I’m here to tell you, J.J. McCarthy is returning for another season of Michigan football.
Let’s look at the tape:
As a junior, McCarthy has accumulated impressive statistics, with 6,086 passing yards, 49 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. His consistent performance as a quarterback for a team regularly in the playoffs raises the question of whether he will return to Michigan for another season to enhance his NFL draft prospects for 2025, or choose to enter the draft this year to begin his professional journey.
While McCarthy’s abilities are clear, he doesn’t always stand out as much as some of his peers in the quarterback class, such as Caleb Williams from USC, Drake Maye from UNC, and Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels. All the aforementioned rank higher than McCarthy in various mock drafts.
The predictions for McCarthy’s position in the NFL draft vary widely, but his draft stock has seen an uptick due to Michigan’s successful run to a College Football Playoff crown.
While commanding the offense, McCarthy’s abilities are undeniable, leading some experts to consider him a potential first-round pick. Others, however, predict he’s more likely to go on the second day of the draft. This would diminish the value of his first NFL contract significantly, which plays into my prediction of why he will return.
The NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) era of college football that we now live in has changed everything. Right now, the top earners for NIL make anywhere from $3-$6 million a year. These numbers will only increase, as more businessmen figure out how to maximize their revenue streams using college athletes.
The first pick of the NFL Draft’s second round is projected to ink a deal valued at roughly $9.9 million, complemented by a signing bonus close to $4.2 million. That means Pick 33 can make some serious cheese. Unfortunately for McCarthy, Mel Kiper has him as the #5 rated QB prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft (and Bo Nix is pushing to make him #6).
Following closely, the player chosen with the second pick in this round will likely secure a contract of around $9.8 million, alongside a signing bonus of approximately $4.15 million. But as the round progresses, the value of the contracts & signing bonuses offered to each subsequent pick gradually decreases. By the time the 32nd pick of the second round is reached, the contract offered is expected to be in the vicinity of $6.17 million, with the signing bonus being about $1.49 million.
This valuation assumes that McCarthy will be taken in the second round, but keep in mind, Day 2 of the NFL Draft covers BOTH the 2nd & 3rd rounds. Should he drop to the 3rd, that $6.17/$1.49 million will be chopped. Rookie contracts also tend to be 3-4 years, so divide those numbers by a third or fourth and you will get the true value of those yearly contracts.
J.J. McCarthy will make more money from endorsements in his senior season than his rookie contract.
Write that down.
Factor the possibility of making more money playing college football with the fact that you are the superstar quarterback of the kings of college football, and you have a VERY enticing reason to stay.
And one cannot undervalue his love for his school, his brothers, and his head coach Jim Harbaugh. Although I’m not 100% sure she’s still a student, McCarthy’s longtime girlfriend Katya Kuropas seems to enjoy being McCarthy’s arm candy, on his rise to becoming a household name. Her social media presence has clearly boomed since undertaking the spotlight with her beau, even after Papa McCarthy accused of getting a little handsy with his son’s gf.
Yes, I’m talking about the infamous “finger slide” where his father is seen dragging his finger over her peach like someone getting ready to taste-test the glaze on a Christmas ham. But I digress……
Let’s be real for a sec. Who wouldn’t love to be paid to stay in college for another year. Imagine having the job of your dreams, and then having the option to leave that job for less money at a company with uncertainty. Would you take the job for less money?
Didn’t think so.
So, don’t be surprised when my prediction comes true. You can thank me later.
Are you disagreeing with my take just because you don’t want me to be right, again?
I’m all ears. Let me know, either in the comment section below or follow us on social media: