CFB Transfer Portal Window Will Be Chaotic, With A Lot Of Negotiating Between Players, Coaches And NIL Collectives

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The college football world is about to see a change that most coaches are prepared for, but still nervous about. The transfer portal window will officially open Monday for 45 days, bringing chaos to a sport that has already seen its fare share. It’s not just about playing time because NIL offers have become a negotiating factor in a lot of decisions.

Yes, a good chunk of the players that will enter the portal will be looking for more playing time. But, we are entering a new phase of Name, Image, Likeness that could cause a ripple effect in the sport.

The money is there and so are the boosters willing to write checks to secure top players. In the past, it was all done through backdoor deals, but since it is now legal, some aren’t afraid to flaunt their spending. This period will look a lot like NFL free agency, with team ‘Collectives’ having a salary cap on how much they can spend on a class.

“There is free agency. I didn’t create that, but let’s be honest. There’s a salary cap, that some people have none, and there is free agency,” Kentucky’s Mark Stoops recently noted. “It makes life different. Now you better adapt, you better adjust and you better be able to overcome it. Again, I play by the rules that are put in front of me. I didn’t create that free agency.

“The sustainability of 85 free agents a year is kind of interesting. How would you like to operate an NFL team with every one of your guys is a free agent every year? How do you think they’d do?”

Managing A Current Roster With NIL

The rules allow schools to participate in the promoting of collectives, so you can throw out the narrative that football programs don’t control the money. Now that coaches have had time to prepare for what’s to come, a lot of them will be getting questions from players on what the school can offer to keep them around.

USC WR Jordan Addison Takes Picture As Part OF New NIL Deal With United Airlines

Former Florida head coach Dan Mullen will join the ‘Trey Wallace Podcast’ on Thursday, but he did offer a glimpse into what he thinks the next few weeks of the transfer portal will look like for head coaches.

“I think a lot of guys, and this is my guessing, but they coming in and saying ‘Coach, what’s my offer to stay? I need my NIL deal, I had a great year. For you as a school, I had a great year, I did a lot for us, let’s up the anti for me or I need to go test the free agent market right now.’ So I am sure they’re a lot of coaches this week negotiating deals, they’re working their collective or however their making it work. There are a lot of boosters writing checks this week to keep guys on the roster.” 

The Uneasy Feeling Of The New Era In College Football

According to multiple coaches I’ve spoken with over the past few weeks, Mullen’s narrative is spot-on. This is a different type of world, especially with it all being done over the table. In the past, recruits would deal with outside people involved in the program, if a school decided to go that route for a player. But now, since NIL is one of the main factors in recruiting high-profile prospects, the game has changed.

Dan Mullen
Former Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Still, not everyone is onboard with the new process. Dan Mullen joked about the coaches making the most noise about the transfer portal and NIL.

“It’s probably upsetting for the folks that were doing it while it was illegal. You see the guys that are complaining the most about it were probably the one’s cheating the most. Because now they’re like ‘Ahh, it’s all legal, now everyone’s fair.’

“I am all for players making the money and the concept of NIL. Should the players get more? Absolutely,” Mullen noted. “But how the system is setup, if there’s a better way to do it, someone needs to come up with it fast…I wish there was a little better structure around some of it all.”

It’s easy to get caught in the circumstances surrounding the upcoming transfer portal window. Coaches are looking for players that fit needs, not just depth. We’ve seen over the past few years what one or two players can do for a program, with USC being a great example.

But do not be shocked to see the amount of players that enter the portal over the next month, it’s just a product of the new college football. What’s unfortunate is the players that will enter, thinking they have better options, only to find out the grass isn’t always greener.

Welcome to the the portal window.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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  1. Just as with Free Agency in MLB … Every year the NIL baseline for top talent will go up … and up … and up. And Yes … the top players all talk and they know what each is getting. … Today’s top college players have little / no loyalty to the “college” … that reality will befuddle “alums” who think top players care about anything but $$$$.

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