Remember, Barkley was coming off a legendary run. He led USC to a 38-35 win over Oregon and a cross-town thrashing of rival UCLA 50-0. USC was unable to play in a bowl game because of sanctions.
Griffin, on the other hand, won the Heisman, but questions about his durability and size had scouts timid. He ended up getting drafted No. 2 overall by the Washington Redskins and signed a four-year deal worth $21 million in 2012.
Barkley decided to stay at USC because the team had “some serious unfinished business” to tend to. Frankly, the season was a mess. The Trojans went 7-6. Barkley got hurt. And USC lost to Georgia Tech in the SUN BOWL.
So, just how much money did Barkley lose by staying one more season? Let’s take a look at some numbers from the 2012 NFL Draft.
No. 1 pick: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: Four-year deal worth $22.1 million
No. 2 pick: Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: Four-year deal worth $21.1 million
No. 8 pick: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: Four-year deal worth $12.7 million
No. 98 pick(Where Barkley was drafted in 2013): Gino Gradkowski, Baltimore Ravens: Four-year deal worth $2.6 million
Barkley is slated to receive a four-year deal in the $2.5-million range. His agent, Tom Condon, has some flexibility to negotiate, but not much.
In 2012, the first-round quarterbacks roughly averaged a four-year deal worth $16 million. We’ll never know exactly where Barkley would’ve been selected in 2012, but we do know that he missed out on a chance to break the bank.
The new rookie deals, which were collectively bargained, are fully guaranteed, but the player isn’t allowed to renegotiate the pact before it expires. Barkley could be missing out on some peak earning years.
Hey! Fun Fact here: Matt Barkley was taken with the 98th pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. Do you know who else was drafted with the 98th pick and is from Philadelphia? None other 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon. Niiiiice.