This Sentell’s Intel is all about the latest with Georgia starting quarterback Carson Beck as he uses this time to ponder his plans for next season.
Those who know Carson Beck well can’t recall a game taking as much out of the talented redshirt junior as the SEC championship loss to Alabama. That one hurt.
That was a potential legacy-defining game for a lot of Bulldogs that night, but likely no more so than Beck.
That’s what they know this week.
What they don’t even know is what everyone wants to know about Beck. That’s what the message boards are thriving off of right now.
Staying? Going? Senior Bowl? Orange Bowl? (The one answer that feels likely at this time is Beck will play for the ‘Dawgs in the Orange Bowl.)
The rest of it? Those close to Beck just don’t know what he is set to do yet. That’s the answer I got from a circle of sources around Beck late last week and even late on Sunday night.
There have been few reports right now about Beck’s future. That’s because no one knows what to say.
They. Just. Don’t. Know.
The Georgia staff would like to know something firm to shape the biggest piece of the 2024 roster build.
DawgNation wants to know about the QB they rallied around this past season.
But those very close to Beck don’t even know whether or not he will return for the 2024 season in Athens or head off to the NFL.
They said that knowing it all sounds very hard to believe, but that’s where things stand right now.
“I have no idea what this dude is going to do,” one source said. “He doesn’t even know. It is literally like a coin flip here.”
There’s information to collect here. Still.
If he does come back, the Bulldogs also need to know. That way they can build the best team around him with the player assets that are available in the transfer portal.
That’s what is going on right now.
Carson Beck and Georgia football: The major talking points of this decision
There’s a financial windfall in each direction for Beck.
This is a time when he is gathering up all the data he can to determine whether he’d done enough to be drafted in the first round.
The major talking points of this decision look to be the following.
1) Return to Georgia and show “Bama he had more for them in what could be two (regular season and SEC championship) rematches next fall. Possibly even a third meeting in the 12-team college football playoffs.
2) Head to the NFL and hope to be selected as the third or fourth quarterback. That likely selection could earn a financial package of somewhere around $12 to 15 million dollars. Former Kentucky QB Will Levis was the fourth QB taken in the 2023 NFL Draft. Beck has already shown just as much promise and tools, if not more so, in the SEC than Levis did.
Levis was rewarded with a $10.2 million contract as the second pick of the second round in the 2023 Draft. As a proper gauge of comparison, Beck saw his high school training buddy Anthony Richardson become the No. 4 pick and command a financial windfall of $36.8 million in that same draft.
3) That’s a big difference. Beck can return for the 2024 season and see the chance to improve his stock in what appears to be a lesser QB draft. Drake Maye, Caleb Williams, Michael Penix Jr. and Jayden Daniels will not be in the 2025 NFL Draft class. The gap between the 2023 Levis money and Richardson money is about $25 million. Beck can command millions in name, image and likeness (NIL) by returning for a second starting season at UGA. He can do so while also working on his NFL resume to secure that $25 million difference between being a top 10 QB and a late first-round QB.
The contracts for the last 15 picks of the first round in 2023 ranged from $12.7 million to $16.5 million, but none of those picks were spent on quarterbacks.
The salary range for the fifth through the No. 15 pick in last year’s first round ranged from $17.5 to $34.5 million. That’s another big range there. The only QB taken in the 2022 NFL Draft was Kenny Pickett by the Steelers. He went 20th overall and earned a $15 million contract.
That’s how we might all look at it. Or the potential advice that the family circle is hearing from might look at it.
Here’s the thing: What I’ve been told is that the decision won’t come down to money at all.
It has never been termed a money grab or a way to goose a bigger NIL payday out of Georgia. It is simply shaping up as a decision that Beck will make himself. It will just be what he wants to do.
He set the goal of winning a national championship of his own as the quarterback of the ‘Dawgs during his time in Athens.
Yet he’s also dreamed of being a started QB in the NFL and playing in the Super Bowl, too.
Sentell’s Intel: The other things to know bout the Carson Beck decision
Beck had a look walking off the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium that I’d never seen from him before. It could be interpreted as many things: Stunned. Shocked. Ticked off. Frustrated.
That look could have said something like “How did that just happen?” or it could have been “This isn’t over” and it will be settled the next time he faces the Crimson Tide.
The decision that he makes here will ultimately determine to me what that look meant that night.
We also understand the following talking points are in play:
- The timeline feels like the next 7-10 days, if not sooner. That seems likely. It was expressed to me that waiting until after the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30 would be too late. The same goes for waiting until the Bulldogs fly down to Miami on Dec. 26.
- Beck is getting the chance to take a step back from the emotions of the loss to Alabama in the SEC championship here. He is processing a lot of things right now.
- There’s the belief he can already play in the NFL. He is built for the NFL with his approach to the game, his 6-foot-4 prototype frame and his NFL arm.
- There’s a way that each path here can look inviting. Beck is just taking the approach here of just what he wants to do. That is either head to the NFL or get one more run as the Georgia quarterback.
- There has not been any discussion of him not playing in the Orange Bowl. He was at practice over the weekend and is prepping for FSU.
- A member of his circle couldn’t even offer a clear prediction about what he feels Beck will do.
- There is something to be said about having an offseason returning as the starter at Georgia and having those expectations on his shoulders. There’s a decent layer of NFL stats with quarterbacks about the success rate on Sundays for quarterbacks that had one season or less as the starting QB in college. There’s a number out there that NFL teams like to see their franchise QBs come into the league with approximately 20-to-25 college starts.
- Beck can cheat the argument there just a bit because he’s practiced against a lot of future NFL players over his time at Georgia. He’s competed against a lot of future NFL first-round defenders since he enrolled at UGA in January of 2020.
- Take money completely out of this situation and just ask this question: What is the best thing for Beck right now? The other layer here is Beck gets to define that. The decision will be one hundred percent on him.
- If he does decide to go to the NFL, there’s the thinking he would like to head to the Senior Bowl to give NFL scouts an even deeper sample size of what he can do.
- These two elements were repeated in the discussion: “This is not a money grab” and “I don’t think there’s a wrong decision here with all of this.”
- There is not a sense that any performance in the Orange Bowl will be a factor. The belief here is the final decision will have a lot more conviction to it than that.
That’s what we all hearing right now on all things regarding Beck.
If that sounds like a discussion of a political race with no precincts yet to report, that’s just how it has been framed right now.
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(check on the recent reads on Georgia football recruiting)