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#pounditThursday, February 22, 2024

Shannon Sharpe, Dez Bryant get into dispute

Shannon Sharpe smiling

Jan 24, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos former tight end Shannon Sharpe in attendance against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Will Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. declare for the 2024 NFL draft? He’s yet to make a decision and retired NFL greats, Shannon Sharpe and Dez Bryant, appear split on what they believe the 21-year-old should do.

Harrison has expressed a desire to return to college and win a Big Ten Championship but that’s secondary in the minds of both Sharpe and Bryant. At the heart of their debate in guaranteed money.

Bryant argues that college football is more fun than the NFL these days and if Harrison wants to win a title, he can afford to thanks to NIL deals and endorsements. However, Sharpe contends that no NIL deal will match the type of money Harrison would receive if he were selected in the top three picks of April’s draft.

The largest NIL deal for a college athlete belongs to Bronny James, who has a $6.1 million valuation. The largest NIL deal for a college football player belongs to Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders, the son of NFL legend Deion Sanders (which likely has something to do with it), who has a $4.1 million valuation.

Comparatively, if Harrison were selected third overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, he would receive a rookie contract of four years with an estimated value of $35.5 million, including guarantees in the range of $22-$23 million.

Bryant maintains that Harrison could shatter those numbers and secure an NIL bag worth over $20 million, which would match or exceed his guaranteed NFL contract in just one year.

“I saw somewhere he could get paid $20-$30 (million) if he stayed,” Bryant wrote on X. “Why in the hell would he go pro if he know he’s going to make more in (one year) than his entire rookie contract? He shouldn’t be in no rush. NFL and the college life is (two) different beast(s)!”

Bryant isn’t exactly wrong, assuming Harrison could land an NIL even worth around $6 million, which would be equivalent to his rookie guarantees. But that in and of itself isn’t guaranteed and then Harrison runs the risk of being injured and falling down draft boards in 2025, which was the crux of Sharpe’s argument.

Ultimately, the decision is Harrison’s and Harrison’s alone. He stands a solid chance of making big money either way but the more firm guarantees will come at the NFL level.

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