So much for staying in school.
Matt Barkley returning for his senior year at USC could have cost him more than $11.5 million.
As a projected top-10 pick last year, Barkley would have made a minimum of $12 million guaranteed. Getting picked by the Philadelphia Eagles as the first pick in the fourth round this year? He figures to sign a four-year deal worth about $2.5 million. The only guaranteed money could be a signing bonus in the $500,000 range.
"I don't really care about the past," Barkley said via text message when asked about what going pro early might have meant to him financially. "I'm just not going to talk about it. Onward and upward."
Two sources told ESPN.com that Barkley returned for his senior season without insurance. While that might seem crazy, the standard insurance policy issued to players is a total disability policy, meaning that the only reason to collect is on a career-ending injury. But by failing to take out insurance Barkley couldn't protect himself from dropping in the draft. Loss of value insurance can only be written when paired with the disability policy.
Chris Larcheveque, senior vice president of sports and entertainment for Hanleigh Insurance, one of the few underwriters that offers loss of value insurance to athletes in drafts, says that if Barkley asked for loss of value insurance at this time last year, it would have cost him a premium of $52,000 for a total disability policy that included the stipulation that he would collect money if he fell far enough in the draft.
Larcheveque says that he would have assigned Barkley at the No. 4 pick in the draft. At that pick, he would have received about $20 million in guaranteed money. Loss of value kicks in once a person who has insurance enters the draft and loses at least 40 percent of the original projected value. So Barkley would have collected once he fell to a pick with a contract worth at least $12 million in value. Most loss of value contracts are worth a maximum of $5 million, which Barkley would have fully collected on if he had that kind of policy due to his big fall off the draft boards.
Barkley's USC team got off to a good start but lost five of its last six games, the final two against Notre Dame and a bowl game against Georgia Tech, neither of which Barkley played in because of a shoulder injury.
"I took a chance," said Barkley at the time he was sidelined. "I don't think enough guys really go for it these days, and I did."
One of Barkley's predecessors, Matt Leinart, also returned for his senior season, which could have cost him a slide of nine spots in 2005 draft as Utah's Alex Smith emerged as the No. 1 QB. The difference in guaranteed money between Smith and Leinart turned out to be $10 million.
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who is expected to be a top pick in next year's draft, recently said he had taken out a $5 million total disability policy that would protect him if he suffered a career-ending injury this upcoming season. Clowney's policy is through the NCAA, which does not permit players to add a loss of value provision to the insurance tied to its organization.