Bulldogs making bank
(PLEASE NOTE: As you'll see noted throughout this piece, all financial information was acquired from Spotrac. CLICK HERE for more on Spotrac.)
It's very possible that in the near future, depending on how his current contract negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys turns out, that former Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott could become the NFL's highest-paid player. Even if Prescott can't come to terms on a long-term agreement with Dallas and he plays on the franchise tag this coming season, he's still slated to make about $31.4 million in 2020 – a total that stands currently as the 7th-richest contract in the league based on average annual salary.
Prescott right now stands as maybe the greatest example of how, in recent years, Bulldogs have made bank in the NFL. According to online contract resource Spotrac, of the 55 biggest current NFL contracts in terms of average annual salary, four of those players are former Mississippi State Bulldogs. There's Prescott (currently 7th), followed by defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (currently 36th at $17.1 million), cornerback Darius Slay (currently 42nd at about $16.7 million) and defensive tackle Chris Jones (currently tied for 54th at about $16.1 million). Slay currently stands as the NFL's top-paid cornerback.
Plenty of other MSU players are also still on rich contracts for 2020. Linebacker Preston Smith (Packers) has an average annual value of $13 million, while offensive lineman Gabe Jackson (Raiders) has an AAV of $11 million just to name a couple other well-compensated Bulldogs.
In all this coming season, looking at strictly the amount due to players this year (not AAV but actual this-year salary), former Mississippi State players are slated to make a total of about $132.5 million in 2020. That doesn't even yet account for recent MSU NFL Draft picks linebacker Willie Gay, Jr., (Chiefs), cornerback Cam Dantzler (Vikings), quarterback Tommy Stevens (Saints) and safety Brian Cole II (Vikings) – all whose contract details aren't yet available. So in other words, that $132.5 million figure will go up. A new, richer Prescott contract would also increase it.
So where does that $132.5 million paid to former Bulldog players currently rank among other SEC schools according to Spotrac? Glad you asked. Only three other schools in the conference can say its former players are pulling in more dough than Mississippi State players in 2020 as of now. Let's have a look at the full list (keep in mind, details aren't currently available for several recent draft picks/undrafted free agents, so these numbers will soon change some):
Approximate amount due to former players of SEC schools in 2020 (per Spotrac as of 5/24/20)
- Alabama - $254.2 million
- LSU - $164.8 million
- Florida - $136.7 million
- Mississippi State - $132.5 million
- Georgia - $106.8 million
- Texas A&M - $85.6 million
- South Carolina - $75.3 million
- Auburn - $71.4 million
- Tennessee - $70.8 million
- Kentucky - $63.8 million
- Ole Miss - $56.6 million
- Missouri - $52.3 million
- Arkansas - $33.6 million
- Vanderbilt - $31.8 million
In terms of lifetime money, former Bulldogs still in the league are doing well for themselves there too. When counting just players still active, only five other SEC schools can say its former guys have totaled more money than Mississippi State according to Spotrac:
Approximate lifetime amount paid to active NFL players by school (per Spotrac as of 5/24/20)
- Georgia - $732 million
- Alabama - $671.1 million
- LSU - $630.8 million
- Florida - $555.8 million
- South Carolina - $380.9 million
- Mississippi State - $321.6 million
- Texas A&M - $308.5 million
- Tennessee - $296.4 million
- Kentucky - $187.2 million
- Missouri - $186.8 million
- Auburn - $129 million
- Ole Miss - $93.8 million
- Arkansas - $67.1 million
- Vanderbilt - $57.2 million
Bottom line is it appears it can indeed pay to be a Bulldog (or a Tiger or a Gator or a....well, you get the picture). In the SEC, it just means more...money.