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Tennessee Football: Did Gerald Mincey enter transfer portal because Vols ran out of NIL money?

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Even the largest NIL collective in the nation, which Tennessee Football reportedly has in Spyre Sports, has limitations on how much money it can spend. Have the Vols run through all of that cash when it comes to spending for the 2024 season? Gerald Mincey entering the transfer portal suggests that.

A two-year starter who transferred from the Florida Gators, Mincey figured to be a fixture at tackle next year with John Campbell Jr., and UT still doesn’t have any backups or proven players at either positions. However, the rising fifth-year senior confirmed his decision to move on Wednesday on Twitter.

Given how thin Tennessee Football is beyond its starters on the offensive line, the prospect of blocking for Nico Iamaleava and the fact that he’s been starting for two years, Mincey’s entry into the portal can only mean one of two things. Either Mincey knows UT is about to land a top transfer, or the Vols are strapped for NIL cash.

When it comes to NIL, Iamaleava is basically on a $2 million a year salary. Former Vols defensive end Tyler Baron, a reliable talent and starter all of 2023, recently transferred to the Ole Miss Rebels after liking a post in November that Rocky Top needs to spend more money to keep veterans around if they’d spend that money on Iamaleava.

Since then came a wave of transfers followed by key returns in Campbell, Cooper Mays, Omari Thomas, Keenan Pili and Bru McCoy. Key transfer additions in Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Holden Staes, Tulane Green Wave wide receiver Chris Brazzell II, MTSU Blue Raiders safety Jakobe Thomas and Oregon State Beavers cornerback Jermod McCoy were also part of that.

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On the same day McCoy announced his return, though, the Vols lost Gabe Jeudy-Lally to the NFL Draft. They then lost Dee Williams the next day. Jeudy-Lally is a utility player who would have certainly played a decent role next year, one that would have improved his draft stock. As a result, you really have to question NIL funds.

Then there is the amount of NIL money the Vols threw at transfers the previous year in Dont’e Thornton, Andrej Karic and Campbell himself. Is that coming back to bite them? Has Josh Heupel not perfected the art of spending NIL cash. Is UT locked in on too many players they wish they could now cut bait with?

Given how all in Tennessee Football is for 2024, this could turn out to be a major issue. Of course, depending on who the Vols add, it could mean nothing down the road. However, the Texas A&M Aggies are prove that NIL alone won’t save you, and the Vols could be in danger of mismanagement on their own.

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