Posted by Tom Fornelli
Now that the deadline for college football underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft has passed, teams and fans know for sure who they'll be getting back for another season, and who they won't. What we also know is that with the NFL releasing the official list of underclassmen who have declared on Wednesday, that we have a record class.
Fifty-six players have decided to leave college early this season and seek their NFL dreams. The most ever to do so.
Which is pretty ironic, really. The fact that their could be an NFL lockout next season is well known amongst football fans everywhere, even if those same fans are scared to admit it. So you would think that with potential labor strife looming on the horizon, that college players would prefer to stay in school for another season.
Which makes sense on the surface, but there's another factor in play here. Yes, there may not be an NFL season in 2011, but we don't know for sure. What we do know for sure is that, 2011 season or not, by the time the 2012 NFL Draft comes around there's likely going to be a rookie salary cap. So while a top pick like Da'Quan Bowers or Nick Fairley can come out this season and sign a deal with a huge signing bonus, he may only be eligible to make 20% of that if he returned to school for another season.
So it seems that the kids want to cash in while they still can.