Colorado coach Deion Sanders told Rich Eisen last week that Deion "would never" bolt the Buffaloes for the NFL. That might not stop the NFL from trying.
Jeff Howe of TheAthletic.com has polled "10 high-ranking team decision-makers" to gauge their opinions on Sanders as an NFL coach. Here's a smattering of the feedback from the full article.
“I love the energy he creates, and his players respond to it,” one unnamed General Manager said. “I would think you have to at least sit down and talk with him. He’s a leader, smart, a great marketer and has the [credibility] as a player and now adding to it as a coach.”
“I’d definitely want to bring him in to hear what he has to say,” another unnamed executive said. “He’s a smart guy and a good coach who has had a lot of early success. You’d want to pick his brain to see if it could translate. He knows how to motivate his players. He’s crushed the transfer portal, and maybe that would carry over into team building through free agency.”
“I think he gets [NFL head-coaching interview] offers this year,” another unnamed evaluator said. “But I believe he is better in college where he can tilt the scales and dominate the talent pool with his ability to recruit. I think he would be successful in [the] NFL, too, but could really create a long-term powerhouse in college."
Here's the problem with each of those quotes. Deion won't be interested in sitting down and having anyone hear him out. Before talking to anyone, he'll want an offer. A big offer. An offer he can't refuse.
Why should he interview? What more could be learned beyond what is already known? Either you want him or you don't. And if you want him bad enough, there's one way to make it clear — by offering him a whole lot of money.
I can hear Deion basically saying all of that. He's the hottest commodity in football. He can name his terms, write his ticket, add his zeroes. And if anyone from the NFL wants to talk to him, they'll likely need to make a firm offer in the amount of a massive contract before Deion will hear what the owner and G.M. has to say.
This subject naturally makes Colorado fans nervous. The best news for the Buffaloes likely came from a recent Bleacher Report interview in which Deion said he believes his son, Shedeur, likely won't enter the NFL draft in 2024 — in part because Shedeur doesn't want to be No. 2 to USC's Caleb Williams.
If this happens, if Shedeur doesn't leave college football, it likely means Deion and Shedeur will be back next season in Colorado. If the goal is to be the first overall pick in the 2025 draft, it becomes much harder to pull that off if Deion and Shedeur would be heading to a new college football program.
Then, when Shedeur is ready to go to the NFL in 2025, that's when the team that has earned the top pick by stinking in 2024 could perhaps hire Deion, who would then draft Shedeur.