Regardless, if AJ comes out this year it's to be a backup. A reasonably high draft pick, and perhaps groomed as a successor, but he's not going to be drafted to start for an NFL team.
However, AJ has a chance to play himself to the front of the line. I felt that the A&M game would be the deciding factor and it was. If AJ came up big (perhaps just a TD instead of INT) and Alabama beat A&M, I think he would have been a Heisman finalist (pushing Johnny down while his status went up) and could have sustained enough momentum. Instead, his performance wasn't the best and it really dropped him off the Heisman map and tarnished things.
As Saban said today, AJ should get respect for the things he did this upcoming season. He'll be a Heisman candidate from the start, and he'll have people watching him. He won't have to try and play himself into talk like he had to this year, he'll be there from the start. No NFL team minds AJ getting the extra experience. Nuss has a track record developing QBs, so AJ will only be more ready, and more proven as a quarterback. I hope he wins a Heisman, I hope he wins another NC, but even if he doesn't it's hard to imagine it hurts his stock. It's a wise financial move to stay one more year for him, but if he was a first rounder it would be completely different.