Before Deadspin revealed that Manti Te’o's girlfriend was a hoax, he had already lost millions because of his poor performance against the Crimson Tide in the National Title Game. Te’o collected 10 tackles against the eventual National Title Champion. However, he seemed to miss more tackles than he actually had. With the Kekua fiasco, Te’o's NFL draft status may be even worse.
CBSSports.com has Te’o landing with two different NFL teams. The highest pick is #20 to the Chicago Bears. This would be a great destination for two reasons. One, Te’o would be able to understudy Brian Urlacher. Two, many Notre Dame fans would get to enjoy Manti Te’o on their favorite NFL team. The lowest selection was 31st to the Baltimore Ravens (this draft was assuming a 49ers Super Bowl victory). He would obviously be replacing future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.
Prior to the Title Game, Te’o was projected to go 6th in the WalterFootball.com Mock Draft on January 2nd. Two days following the loss to Alabama, the same Mock Draft projected to go 17th to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their latest Mock Draft has Te’o going 21st to the Cincinnati Bengals.
It is hard to quantify what a poor game against Alabama costs. Even harder, it is nearly impossible to quantify what a scandal costs a future NFL player. The current NFL Rookie pay scale lends some assistance.
Last year, Andrew Luck received the highest contract when he was selected #1 overall by the Indianapolis Colts. Luck received a contract that had a total value of $22,107,998. Te’o's original draft worth, if he were selected 6th overall, would have been $16,264,502. The 17th pick in the NFL Draft received $8,622,996. The value of last year’s 21st pick’s contract was $8,173,497. Finally, the 31st selection received a total contract worth $6,787,528.
Based on the differences in the Mock Drafts, Te’o's poor performance may cost him an estimated $7,641,506. The scandal involving his fake girlfriend may cost him $853,978 if he is selected 31st in the upcoming NFL Draft. It is easy to discern from these numbers that his performance against Alabama was more critical than any ‘Catfish’ incident that swept the country off of its feet. Right now, these numbers are only speculation. Te’o has until April to show NFL teams that he deserves to be picked closer to #1 than #31.