Sports Agent Role in NFL

Most of the public is confused as to the true role of a sports agent. Many think the sports agent is the person who is in charge of the player’s life and helping to get him to get the most money possible guaranteeing him riches for life. We’ve all seen the movie and know the famous phrase, “Show me the money!” This is far from the truth. A lot of sports agents are in the business to make money, and that typically comes at the expense of the the player in time. Let’s be honest, this is a “for profit” industry and there is a living to be made for the agent. However, if the public and players were truly educated by the media, they would know that the salaries in the NFL are already sloted depending on where a person is drafted, and the agent has NO, NONE, ZERO, ZILCH, NADA, NIET, control over where any player can or will be drafted. As a matter of fact, once the first draft choice is selected, it is truly a crap shoot as to when and where a player will be drafted. I’m sorry to burst the bubble of all the “draft gurus” out there, but the teams selecting the players do not have any concrete system of proof who they will be drafting on draft day, so how do the draft gurus know anything more?. This is a huge falacy portrayed to many draft-eligible prospects and their families, with a multitude of bogus agents promising future riches that may or may not be there.

The traditional role of a sports agent is not like that of a talent, model, or actor agent. The NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has taken a lot of power and control away form the agents and really empowered the player more than he may know, but most agents will never tell that to a player, because it would cut off the hand that feeds them. If players were better informed about what that can and cannot do with regards to negotiating their own contracts they would save thousands upon thousands of dollars. I once sat with a verteran player in casual conversation and informed him how he could essentially save himself over $20,000 in agent fees if he truly understood how the process of a team negotiating with an agent and player really works in the NFL. He subsequently fired his agent, “negotiated” the contract himself and saved over $20,000 in agent fees. He was very excited when he saw how much money I had helped him save.

The National Football Legaue Players Association (NFLPA) which serves as the regulatory body for agent certification in the NFL, has created its own monster between agents and players. In the agents’ defense, the NFLPA only allows the agent a maximum of three percent (3%) of the player’s contract. Three percent sounds great when we hear about the multi-million dollar contracts signed by players and reported in the headlines on the daily news briefings. However, more players than not, never reach this level of newfound riches. An agent must negotiate one contract every three years or he will be suspended, but the “real” money to be made is after a player has played in the NFL for four years. At this rate, an agent cannot negotiate a rookie contract and just sit on the sidelines for four years and then wait for his star client to cash in on a mega-million dollar contract. The NFL minimunin in 2009 is $310,000 for a rookie player, meaning if a player makes the 53-man roster as a rookie, he cannot make less than $310,000 over the regular season. At three percent (3%), an agent would receive $9,300 for his services. Even if an agent had 10 players who were all rookies he would make $93,000 for the year. Many forget that most agents are self-employed, start-up operations and must take on all the risks themsleves. This makes it very difficult to make a profit early in the business with insurnace, travel expenses, dinners, athlete training, and other exenses.

There ae some “super sports agencies” out there who operate as full service entities for players during their sports careers. There are only so many super star players in the NFL and these super agencies can only cater to so many clients. The problem is that the are also many more sports agents who do not provide such services. This is the ugly cycle that has continued to cause many players to lose trust in their initial agent and go through the hiring and firing of agents year after year, but if they only knew that the agent is primarily there to facilitate a transaction, more agents would keep their clients throughout the player’s career.

How can this misguided cycle of insanity be stopped and truly benefit the everyone? Let me know your thoughts.

— Come on “in the house” and we will get you right!


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