Michigan tight end Jake Butt presumably would have rather gotten out of the Orange Bowl healthy and been drafted in the first couple rounds of the NFL draft.
But in a year elite prospects Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey sat out bowl games to avoid injury, Butt played and tore his ACL. But at least he had an insurance policy to fall back on.
The Denver Broncos finally took Butt with the first pick of the fifth round. Butt probably would have been a top-75 pick if healthy, perhaps a second-round pick with a small chance of sneaking into the first round. But with each pick that passed after the middle of the third round, Butt was making money.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Darren Rovell reported that Butt made $543,000, tax free, due to his draft fall. He made about $10,000 for each pick that passed without him being selected, ESPN said, starting in the middle of the third round. The maximum of that loss-of-value insurance policy was $2 million.
Butt was smart to take out some insurance, and the Broncos made a smart pick to start the fifth round. Assuming Butt’s ACL recovery goes as expected – Schefter said the Broncos feel he can be back on the field by August or September – the Broncos got tremendous value at a significant position of need. Butt is a great route runner with good hands and should be a productive NFL tight end when he’s healthy. Even if the recovery is a little slow, you’d have to assume Butt will be back to full speed by 2018. That’s not a bad gamble in the fifth round.
Butt had a hard-luck story when he injured his knee in his final college game. Even though he probably lost some money due to it, the insurance policy makes up for some of it. And now Butt can start his career in a good situation, with a team that was thrilled to land him.
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