By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Hear me out...Time to call it a career for Josh Allen at UW


November 18, 2017

COURTESY/ Blaine McCartney/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen directs the offense before the snap against Hawaii on Sept. 23 at War Memorial Stadium, in Laramie.

Coming off a surprisingly successful 2016 season, there was a lot of hype surrounding the 2017 University of Wyoming football season. The Cowboys did graduate a lot of seniors, some of whom like Tanner Gentry (Chicago Bears), Brian Hill (Cincinnati Bengals) and Jacob Hollister (New England Patriots) are in in the NFL now, yet, there were still high expectations for the program in 2017.

Most of those hopes and dreams centered around junior QB Josh Allen, a potential Top 10 prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft. For the idealistic UW fans, Allen was going to lead the team to the College Football Playoffs or at the least an at-large bid to one of the premier bowl games. For the more realistic fans, he'd keep the program on the upward trajectory they were on, taking another step forward in becoming a perennial Mountain West power.

Unfortunately, both hopes and dreams were crushed by Week 3 of the season as it became aware there were too many new parts to repeat last year's success.

UW played Iowa and Oregon, both respectable Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams, in Weeks 1 and 3 and was subsequently crushed in both. The Cowboys were outscored 73-16 in those two games and Allen was 23 for 40 with 174 yards, two picks and zero TDs against Iowa; against Oregon, he was 9 for 24 for 64 yards one INT and zero TDs.

Since those games, Allen and the Pokes have been better, winning six of their last seven, as the offense has gelled some, but just as things were picking up steam Allen hurt his throwing shoulder in last Saturday's win over Air Force.

Allen will likely sit out today's game against Fresno State, leaving the season's regular season finale against San Jose St. and whatever bowl game they're invited to (more than likely the Las Vegas Bowl) as the final two games of his career at UW.

I understand fans want to see Allen suit up at least one more time for the Pokes. It's not often UW, in any sport, has a player of his caliber who could be a Top 10 pick in April.

But Allen needs to sit and hold the clipboard for the remainder of his time at UW.

He's a competitor and it will probably eat at him having to sit on the sideline, but not only is it for the betterment of his career but also the UW football program.

The Pokes are not winning the Mountain Division, Boise State would have to drop their final two games while UW wins out.

Could it happen? Sure. Is it likely? No.

And the NCAA has created a football "postseason" that if you're not in the CFP (or BCS title game before that), you're playing in a glorified exhibition game.

Allen's injury is to his throwing shoulder, considering how skittish NFL scouts are about the smallest of things, why jeopardize his future by playing in those meaningless games, risking further injury?

Remember, NFL teams didn't want to sign Drew Brees when he hit free agency, even though he was a stud in San Diego, because of a bum shoulder. Any concern over Allen's shoulder and it could crater his draft stock.

Most UW football players who make it to the next level often have to fight their way on to squads, like Tashaun Gipson (Jacksonville Jaguars) who went undrafted. As long as he isn't a disaster during the NFL Combine or UW Pro-Day, Allen has the possibility to go in the Top 10 or, at best, Top 5, depending on how many QB-desperate franchises there are by season's end.

The last time UW football had a player taken in the first round was 1976, the Pokes had two guys selected, RB Lawrence Gaines (Lions) 16th overall and DB Aaron Kyle (Cowboys) 27th overall. This was before the 1977 CBA agreement, strikes of '82 and '87 and the '93 CBA agreement, which dramatically increased player salaries.

Essentially, UW hasn't had a player taken during the modern era of the NFL who not only went high in the draft but had a big-time contract to go with it.

Obviously, the higher Allen rises the better for him finically and the UW football program. There is close to a 50 percent difference in salary between the No. 1-overall pick and No. 10. In the 2017 draft No. 1 pick Myles Garrett signed a contract for $30.4 million, with 20.2 million guaranteed, and No. 10 pick Patrick Mahomes signed a contract for $16.4 million, with $10.08 million guaranteed.

That's quite the drop and as you would expect the further you go down the list the more those numbers shrink.

I get we're talking about the millions of dollars, which is 10 times more than you or I will make in our lifetimes, but the average shelflife of an NFL player clocks in at 3.3 seasons. That number increases for QBs to 4.44 years and 9.3 for first-round picks. As long as Allen isn't a Ryan Leaf-level bust, he's going to play at the very least somewhere between 4.4 to 9.3 seasons. And during that time he has to maximize his earnings, which starts with increasing his draft value as much as he possibly can.

If Allen can go in the Top 10 it will be a huge recruiting boost for UW, especially when it comes to QBs. UW coach Craig Bohl recruited Allen but he also recruited Carson Wentz, who is currently tearing it up for the Philadelphia Eagles, is an MVP favorite and, along with rookie Kareem Hunt, a savior of my fantasy football team.

Bohl knows QB talent when he sees it. Wentz was the second-overall pick in 2016 and if Allen can go in in the single digits, Bohl can point to those two guys and say "Want to be a top pick in the draft? Come on over to Laramie and we'll get it done."

So it is in everyone's best interest to have Allen not suit up, he's done a lot for the program and can continue to do even more if that shoulder is 100 percent as he preps for the NFL Draft.

But, no matter what his decision is, one thing is for sure, whether you're a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or atheist we all need to come together and pray that Allen does not go to the Cleveland Browns.


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