How Big a Signing Bonus Could Jake Locker Get?

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While football won't pay him to play yet, baseball may pay him not to. As you may have read, Husky quarterback Jake Locker got picked up by the Angels in the tenth round of yesterday's Major League Baseball draft. In an interview yesterday, Locker maintained that he'll be finishing his two years of eligibility with the Huskies and will play pro football, if the option's available to him. But nevertheless, he said he's interested in signing with the Angels.

If Locker signs, he'll have to give up his athletic scholarship, which is worth somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000, says UW Director of Athletic Communications Jeff Bechthold. If that happens, though, the Angels will almost certainly cover those costs for Locker. (Bechthold calls the practice "extremely customary.") The real money, though, is in the signing bonus. Once a player's in the minor leagues, he's paid a standard, non-negotiable rate. The signing bonus is where the money is, at least until he signs his big league contract. Last year's 10th round picks signed for anywhere from $10,000 to $600,000.

Bechthold notes that Locker's talent warrants well above 10th round money--he's very highly regarded and would've been a top pick were he committed to the game (Last year's 1st round picks signed for $1-$6 million)--but the uncertainty and delay re: his return to baseball might drag the number down. Another possibility, says Bechthold--with the disclaimer that he's merely speculating--might be a staggered bonus, with some of the money now and more when he actually picks up a bat and glove. No matter what he gets, though, it'll probably still be chump change compared to what Coach Sark makes.

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