Tua Tagovailoa had a one-line tweet on Jan. 1 that sent the draft world abuzz:
I’ll be making my decision on the 6th.. God bless and Roll Tide
— Tua. T 🇦🇸 (@Tuaamann) January 2, 2020
While no one but the Alabama junior knows for sure what his decision will be, there have been whispers the past few weeks that Tagovailoa may return to school.
“You’re certainly not wrong for thinking that,” a former Alabama player told CBS Sports in a text message. “I think he is honestly considering (coming back). Not sure what he will end up doing.”
Former Crimson Tide QB Greg McElroy also gave his opinion during the broadcast of the Citrus Bowl.
“I think it’s all about the time table of his recovery,” McElroy said. “At this point, all signs point to him coming back.”
Once thought to be the No. 1 overall prospect, Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated right hip in November that required surgery and puts his draft standing in doubt. Media reports say Tagovailoa hopes to resume athletic activity in three months and may be able to throw again during spring practice, with a chance to play in 2020.
Where Tagovailoa winds up playing next year is still nothing more than speculation. However, he seemed to fuel the “stay in school” fire with his recent interview with the Tuscaloosa News, in which he said he’s looking at the pros and cons of staying vs. entering the 2020 NFL draft.
And it’s a complicated decision, as health isn’t the only factor for Tagovailoa to weigh in on. There’s also a substantial amount of money at stake. If he returns to school and has another banner year while remaining healthy, then Tagovailoa could rocket right back up the draft charts.
Of course, the opposite is true, too, should he return to school and suffer another serious injury.
But if he enters the draft this year and is not among the top players selected, that, too, would cost him financially.
“If I leave, I think the risk is a little higher,” Tagovailoa told the Tuscaloosa News. “That risk would be how far do I drop in the draft. To me, it’s 50-50 between going in the first round and possibly going in the second round. If I go somewhere from first (overall) to around 24th, the money will be set.”
And if he doesn’t go high? Tagovailoa told the newspaper the difference could cost him about $9 million.
“That’s a lot of money, an amount of money I’ve never had before, but it’s not high first-round money and you can never make that money up,” he told the newspaper. “They say you can (make it up) on your next contract but money lost is money lost to me.”
One more factor to consider: Alabama’s left tackle, Alex Leatherwood, announced recently that he is returning to school.