Sorting Out the Pitches Agents Make to NFL Prospects

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Hey there. You’re listening to the Two-Minute Drill, and I’m Neil Stratton.

During the recruiting process, agents will try several different ways to separate themselves from the pack. Some pitches have more merit than others, and it’s important to know where an agent’s coming from when he starts down this path.

Often, agents with limited client lists, or no clients, will tout their experience negotiating contracts in the non-football world. They may throw out big numbers and list the names of major companies, government bodies, unions or trade organizations. Maybe even international ones.

The problem with this is that in the last collective bargaining agreement, the NFL strictly limited rookie deals. Your son’s rookie deal is basically a paint-by-numbers proposition. It’s not until he’s a veteran and working on his second deal that negotiation will come into play, and your son has plenty of time to worry about agents between now and then.

On the other hand, if your son is strongly religious, some agents will take a faith-based approach to recruiting. Now, I want to be sensitive here, because as a Christian myself, I don’t mean to doubt another believer’s sincerity. At the same time, I’ve seen contract advisors build their recruiting strategy on Bible verses for one recruit and strip clubs for another.

There’s a story that made the rounds a few years ago about a major agent recruiting a quarterback projected for the first round. The young man was of deep faith, and when the agent recruiting him insisted they were cut from the same cloth, the player asked the agent for his favorite Bible verse. The agent stumbled before citing John 3:16, arguably the best-known verse in the Bible. Though that verse is a foundational one for Christian belief, it didn’t measure up for the prospect.

A third popular approach is touting the friends an agent and player have in common. This may be the worst reason to pick an agent. Just because a contract advisor comes from near your son’s school, or is based in his hometown, doesn’t mean he’ll work hard for him. If an agent starts listing the players he’s represented that your son knows, it’s time to start asking some specific questions, both of those players and the agent himself. It’s not enough simply to know them, or even to have represented them.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is your son needs an agent who’s knowledgeable of the process and willing to work hard. It’s important that he’s got relevant work experience, and though his values are critical, it’s important not to get manipulated. You also want to make sure a few common relationships aren’t decisive for your son.

If you’ve got more specific questions, you can always reach me at inside the league.com. Thanks for listening.

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