Alabama Football: A new 'going rate' for starting quarterbacks?

The second-most important person in many college football programs is a proven starting quarterback. Retaining them takes wads of cash.

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
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For the most part, Alabama Football is set at quarterback for the 2024 season. There has been little speculation that Jalen Milroe will not return. Plus in a few days the top QB in the 2024 class, Julian Sayin will arrive in Tuscaloosa. In addition to the Crimson Tide pair, there are three other scholarship quarterbacks on the Crimson Tide roster. If two of them later choose to enter the transfer market, it will cause no panic.

Few other elite college football programs have such stability at the quarterback position.

One that apparently does not is Georgia. Georgia's prized 5-Star recruit, Dylan Railoa appears close to making a flip to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Raiola's father and uncle have ties to the Cornhuskers and many recruiting experts are predicting the move to Lincoln will happen soon.

Prior to the Railoa speculation, Ohio State transfer quarterback Kyle McCord was expected to join Nebraska. Then suddenly, On3 Sports reported that McCord had changed his mind. McCord will continue to seek a move from Ohio State, but not to Nebraska.

The next development came from coverage about Georgia QB, Carson Beck. Dawg Nation reported that Beck is undecided about his football future. Furthermore, the site claimed, "Multiple sources have said an offer for Beck — UGA/NIL — has been in the works, with the rising fifth-year senior seeking upwards of $4 million."

Various sources project that if Beck were to choose early NFL entry, he would be in the range of fifth to seventh QB taken in the 2024 NFL Draft. If those projections are correct, Beck could drop to late in the second round and possibly even third round.

From a perspective of what would be best for Carson Beck and for the Georgia Bulldogs, cutting a $4M deal makes the most sense.

Alabama football fans were aghast last year when it was reported the Tennessee Volunteers added an $8M quarterback recruit. How far or close the $8M number was to being correct is not known. Even if the deal somehow included guaranteed money for Nico Iamaleava, the figure was believed to be spread over four Tennessee seasons. Based on the widely reported but unconfirmed details, the Vols appeared happy to pay an unproven quarterback $2M per season.

Compared to the Tennessee deal, $4M or even $5M for Carson Beck to play another season in Athens would be money well spent.

Would $5M per season become the new 'market rate' for a proven QB starter on a national championship contending team? Some fans bristle that the unfettered free agency of college football has gone too far. Alabama football fans can point out that Nick Saban warned the college football world years ago. Now, even 'Portal Kings' like Lane Kiffin bemoan the rule-less chaos of free agency. Is there a ceiling in player compensation? Maybe not.