2021 The State of Football’s ITL Takeover: Highlights from Mon/Tues/Weds

As you may know, Ric Serritella hosts a daily show on the business of the game called The State of Football on Sports Illustrated’s Twitch channel. Well, except for July. He took this month off, which gave my friend Bo Marchionte and myself a chance to co-host this week.

We had an incredible lineup of guest this week and they each had incredible contributions. Here are some of the highlights from the first three days of this week’s shows.

MONDAY

NEC Assistant Commissioner Ralph Ventre on the lack of national leadership on NIL: “I’m not a huge fan, on a personal level, of a huge central government, but in this case I actually think the federal government could do us all a favor if they passed some kind of national legislation for NIL.” 

Evan Brennan of UA Sports on parents’ expectations regarding NIL and how lucrative it could be. “It probably coalesces with how many agents are talking to them. The more agents that are blowing them up and making giant promises, the more ridiculous they get, but if they haven’t been (popular with agents), they’re actually quite reasonable.”

Nick Underhill of New Orleans Football on an offseason change one of the Saints’ QBs made: “For Taysom’s part, he thinks (his tendency to hold the football too long) was something mechanical with his feet. He didn’t have his feet pointed the right way, and then it would take an extra hitch to get set up to throw the ball, once he saw it, so that’s what he’s been working on this offseason.” 

TUESDAY

Vanguard Sports Group’s Eugene Lee on the firm’s cautious approach to NIL generally and to their first NIL client, Texas A&M’s Jalen Wydermyer, specifically: “We’re being very cognizant not to give away long-term leverage on deals. We’re being very careful not to dilute a player’s brand. We don’t want players to be billboards.” 

Former NFL offensive lineman and prospective NFL agent Jeremiah Sirles on why people who played his position are different (in a good way): “As a former offensive lineman, we’re all kinda similar. I’ve said it for a long time: you can pick up an offensive lineman from pretty much any team and plug them into an o-line room and they’re probably going to, eventually, like, within the first five days, fit in.” 

Former NFL executive Blake Beddingfield on NFL vaccination protocols: “I know of people who can’t take vaccines because it harms them physically. The NFL needs to be able to hear that and take each individual situation on its own merit. . . You’re separating the players and the league even more than it has to be.”

WEDNESDAY

Octagon Football’s Murphy McGuire on taking the NFLPA exam in 2015, when it got tremendously harder: “When I went in there, I was like, ‘this is a little more difficult than they said it was gonna be.’ Little did we know that they changed the format for that year and our pass rate was like . . . wasn’t that the lowest pass rate it’s ever been, because nobody knew it was coming? It was like 40 percent or something. It was crazy.”

Former NFL executive Randy Mueller on how he headed off Michael Thomas situations during his days as a GM: “It’s a vital part of being a GM and running a franchise . . .  One of my first meetings is always, when one season ends, I want to sit down with the medical people, first and foremost, and assess our whole roster and come up with pros and cons and come up with a plan for each guy because injuries are a giant factor with every player on your team, and they’re a giant factor with team-building, itself.”

Catapult Leadership’s Jason Montanez on the biggest mistake people make when interviewing for NFL, college, or any other job: “I think the most common mistake that people make is they don’t prepare enough. They don’t really get to know the job that they’re going for. I think you need to put in a substantial amount of research to get to know the job, to get to know who you’re interviewing with, who the hiring manager is, and really get a sense of what the job entails that you’re interviewing for.”

To check out the best of Thursday’s and Friday’s shows, check out the Friday Wrap, which comes out at 7:30 p.m. ET. Register for it here.

The State of Football: What’s Ahead Next Week During the ITL Takeover

You might have caught me on Ric Serritella’s daily morning show, The State of Football (TSOF), on my regular Thursday morning segment (9:40 a.m. ET). If you enjoy them, or find them at all informative, you may be interested in watching all week starting Monday.

Next week, Inside the League takes over TSOF. I’ll host each show along with my co-host, Bo Marchionte of College2Pro.com. Bo is not only a talented journalist, a CFL scout (Winnipeg Blue Bombers) and a serial podcaster, but he’s also one of the funniest people I know, which is why I was really excited when he agreed to join me this week. 

We’ve brought together 15 awesome guests this week, and they will all bring something different to the table. Will the TSOF be a football show this week? Of course it will, but it’s not going to be your standard debate show about who’s the greatest QB of all, whether or not Aaron Rodgers will report to camp, or which team will win the Super Bowl this year.

Of course, we’ll talk about the game in a fun way.

  • Former Titans executive Blake Beddingfield will talk about which teams he expects to be contenders for the Super Bowl, the rookies he expects to make the biggest impact, and the trends in the game that no one is discussing.
  • Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football will talk about the Winston vs. Hill battle, how the Saints will juggle the various pending free agents in their secondary, whether OT Terron Armstead will be back in 2022 and other topics related to the Who Dats.
  • Longtime NFL executive and three-time former GM Randy Mueller will also give his unique take on the game, similar to what he discusses in his blog.
  • Neal McCready of RebelGrove.com will talk about what an SEC lineup with the two best teams from the Big 12 would look like and lots of other good stuff. 

Want to discuss agent life and the issues facing player representatives? Got you covered.

  • Four of the NFLPA-licensed contract advisors that I respect the most in the business — Evan Brennan of UA Sports, Eugene Lee of Vanguard Sports Group, Murphy McGuire of Octagon Football and Aston Wilson of Agency1 Sports Group — will give their takes on how the transfer portal, Covid and NIL have affected their profession.
  • In addition, guests this week include two former agents, wealth manager Noel Lamontagne, a former NFL offensive lineman and one of the smartest people I know in football; and Mike Sullivan, the winner of the 2021 Eugene Parker Award for distinguished service to the agent industry and a former “super agent” as well as NFL executive.
  • We’ll also talk to aspiring agents Don Williams and Jeremiah Sirles (the former NFL lineman and current member of the Huskers broadcast team), who are taking the NFL agent exam in August. 

But there’s even more. Ole Miss GM Matt Lindsay, a former NFL scout, will talk about how college football offices are changing and where recruiting and personnel are going. And for good measure, on Wednesday, we’ll have Jason Montanez of Catapult Leadership. A former University of Buffalo fullback, he’ll give tips on how to interview and how to build a network that will help you get the job you want.

For the full day-by-day schedule with all time slots, check out last week’s Friday Wrap. Please join us! I’ll see you here at 9 a.m. ET Monday.

NIL at Two Weeks Old: Where Do We Stand?

It’s now been two weeks since name, image and likeness (NIL) became something college athletes could benefit from financially. Though we don’t follow NIL in a comprehensive way, we do watch it pretty carefully as it relates to football. We’ve had notes about NIL signings in our Rep Rumblings reports, and we’ve got the deals, partnerships and endorsers for almost 200 plays in our NIL Grid, which we try to update multiple times weekly.

Here are a few initial thoughts.

  • Agents are clearly using NIL as a gateway to recruiting top players long-term (Steinberg Sports, CAA, Rosenhaus Sports have all signed players to NIL deals). Kudos to the NFLPA for making it crystal clear that contract advisors can get involved in these deals; very often, the NFLPA chooses to stay out of the big issues, which does nothing to help make things clearer and easier to understand.
  • Major sports entities (Barstool Sports, Outkick the Coverage, others) are trying to sign masses of unknown players on merch-only deals; local restaurants are doing the same, trading food for social media hits. It’s a fairly cost-effective way to get into the game without a major commitment while the market sorts itself out.
  • Of course, it’s also worth noting that these relationships are not necessarily forever. About 10 percent of active NFL players fire their agents annually, so it’s logical to presume the same will take place on the NIL side. Right now, many of these players eagerly signed exclusive-rights deals with companies expecting a financial bonanza, but if that’s not in the cards, will they look elsewhere? It seems like a good bet.
  • Schools’ boosters have clearly started using this a legal recruiting tool (Miami, Fla., and Oregon boosters, for instance, have made big moves to enhance their programs with the help of boosters).
  • Also, schools are clearly already using NIL in recruiting (dozens of incoming high-schoolers are already on Cameo and other platforms).
  • Major combine trainers are expressing concern that players will require concessions in costs if they market that the players are working out there. Putting players’ likenesses on social media has always been a major thrust of top training facilities. Nothing attracts tomorrow’s stars like today’s stars.

There have been three main eras dictated by two inflection points in the agent industry in the 20 years since ITL has been around. The eras, as I see it, were the Age of Big Negotiators; the Age of Big Recruiting; and whatever this one turns out to be.

The transition from the first to second era took place with the passage of the 2011 CBA, which dumped the big signing bonuses and led to big fee reductions and big training-plus packages, all as an inducement to sign players that would get to second deals. Now that we’re in the Era of NIL, I’m not smart enough to know where things are going, but I do feel smart enough to know the ground is moving quickly under everyone’s feet.

If these topics and this kind of analysis interests you, make sure you register for our weekly newsletter for the industry, the Friday Wrap. Do that here.

Ask the Scout: How Will NIL Affect Player Evaluation?

Name, image and likeness has been in the news virtually since a week before July 1, when college players could preserve their eligibility while signing marketing and endorsement deals. However, while we’ve discussed the topic from a player standpoint and even passed along a top tax expert’s thoughts on how to prepare for NIL, we haven’t looked at it from a scout’s perspective until today.

We asked several director-level executives to take time out from their vacations to answer this question: “Do you see the NIL issue becoming part of your background sweep? Will you be asking if players have deals, and how they handled them? Will you ask schools if their NIL stuff has become a problem?”

Here were their responses:

  • “Big picture, it’s not positive or negative. I’m all for the players’ ability to make money off their name, their likeness, their image, but in reality, it’s gonna change the landscape of college football. As many things happen, it will shape and shift things differently. I don’t think any of us know how. . . Everything is just data to us. In the end, hopefully, you have the full puzzle.”
  • “For us, I don’t think it’ll be more than another point of character background to follow up on. How did the kid handle it . . . work with school, agent, company, all parties involved etc. There’s NO doubt this will be a headache for schools, compliance (helping kids understand tax ramifications and such). Could even cause issues among teammates vying for same deals? It’ll take some time to settle into.”
  • “Absolutely will be asking, but not in a punitive way. More to add another piece of the puzzle that we haven’t been able to assess before. If a player handles it well, (if) his NIL deals don’t hinder performance or being a good teammate, that would speak to a degree of maturity that we haven’t been able to evaluate.”
  • “Absolutely. It’s a part of who they are now. It will give you a bit of a tell on how they handle money, off-field stuff, can they juggle that while maintaining their ability as a football player, etc. There will absolutely be cautionary tales.”
  • “I definitely think there are questions to ask from it. I think asking about how it was handled as well as doing some further digging can tell you a little about the player.   I think in most cases the player will say it was never a problem, so there may need to be some digging. . . On a side note, I think this will further the talent gap between the top and bottom schools as those with a huge alumni base will basically pay more and more players to play at the bigger schools.”

That’s not all they said. We have more responses from college directors and national scouts in this week’s Friday Wrap, which comes out (duh) Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET. It’s jam-packed every week with news of the football business world that you can’t find anywhere else. You can register for it here.

Ask the Agent: Six Questions for the 2021 Class

Years ago, when we first launched our exam prep materials 10 years ago, I used to spend hours talking to clients who were eagerly awaiting the exam and the promise of an exciting new professional path. I heard lots of interesting stories and talked to lots of would-be agents who have gone on to be some of the biggest names in player representation.

These days, that’s a little harder, and the responsibilities of ITL make it tougher to maintain that personal contact. Still, I want to learn what makes the people diving into such a competitive industry tick, so this year, I set up a brief, six-question survey. I sent it out to almost 200 people who’ll be taking the test next month, and got plenty of responses. I thought I’d share the questions and their answers here to give some insights into the 2021 NFLPA Contract Advisor class.

How sure are you that you will be taking the exam in August?: This question had eye-opening results. With about a month until the 2021 exam — an exam, I might add, that has been two years in the making — we found just a handful of test-takers who have actually booked their test slot (the class is so big the test will be administered in phases this year). Seventy-five percent of poll respondents expressed doubt that they are even approved for the exam. About a third said they are 50-50 on whether or not they are slated to take the exam. This is not good.

How far along are you on preparing for the exam?: A plurality of respondents (36 percent) said they’ve been studying for about a month. That’s right on track with our recommended 60 days (minimum) needed to prepare for the test. A quarter of those polled said they’ve been studying for several months, and just a few more (27 percent) said they’ve been prepping for more than a year. Again, it’s no surprise given how many registrants were expecting to take the test last summer. Of course, there are still procrastinators; 11 percent of respondents have yet to begin.

How confident do you feel about taking the exam?: I asked this question hoping that the hundreds of applicants who’ve received our Rising Contract Advisors Newsletter were optimistic about passing the exam. Whether or not that’s a factor, over half (55 percent) said “If I prepare adequately, I like my chances.” That’s encouraging from a group of people using our exam prep materials. Even more encouraging: 30 percent said they’d be “shocked” if they didn’t pass. Just 13 percent said they “hope to pass.”

Our survey group had a lot more to say about the industry and their chances to succeed in it, their level of commitment, and their concerns regarding the mounting cost of being an agent. We discuss their responses to three more poll questions in the Friday Wrap, which comes out tomorrow at its usual time (7:30 p.m. CT). Register for it here.

 

Ask the Agent: What Are Players Saying About NIL?

The name, image and likeness (NIL) issue has been prominent in the news this week given the Supreme Court decision Monday and the pending July 1 deadline when players can begin profiting from marketing themselves. If it’s on the minds of football fans, I knew it would be on the minds of draft prospects. . . or, at least, that’s what I thought. But I wanted to find out for sure, so I asked several of my agent clients. 

Here’s what I asked: What are you hearing from players you recruit re: NIL? Does it come up in conversation? Are they asking what you can do for them in that area?

Here are some of the responses. By the way, I reached out to about 20 contract advisors and only got two who said the players they are recruiting hadn’t asked about it, or who dismissed the issue entirely.

  • “Not as prominent as I anticipated it would be. I believe kids are being educated and are wary of signing a marketing deal with a single agent, which I believe is the intelligent thing to do. Don’t sell yourself for pennies on the dollar with an agent/agency that you have a limited relationship with.”
  • “(No one has mentioned it) yet, but it’s coming. I think it’ll be a huge tool to use for agencies with the means to do it. But will definitely have to be done right. It could be a huge problem.”
  • “Yes (from kids) and from parents. They just ask, ‘what does it mean? What’s in it for them? How do they deal with it?’ . . . My expectation is anyone doing this the right way it’s not going to be much of an impact, but those who aren’t doing things the right way, this just gives them more options.”

  • “(It’s) in every conversation. They’re getting bombarded with it. All think they have paydays coming . . . I can tell they’re being sold by agents that they have deals for them now. Reality is, this will only benefit a handful of elite college football players — the QBs, skill players, local heroes, or those that have built themselves a legitimate social following/community or content platform.”

  • “We are getting questions on how it will work from most players — but more specifics from skill guys.”

  • “Always comes up. We are ready (when they do). . . most players . . . are still super cautious, no matter the caliber. I think nobody wants to be the guinea pig, but they know it’s gonna be a snowball effect.” 

As you know, a couple weeks ago, we asked Twitter which job was harder, agent or scout? The results were overwhelming that a scout’s job is harder, which made me realize that, in many cases, even the closest followers of the business side of the game are still glamorizing the life of an NFL contract advisor. Hopefully, reading some of these responses and recognizing the financial challenges that player representatives face might help change perceptions. 

Want even more? Make sure to sign up for our Friday Wrap. In this week’s episode, we’ll be looking even closer at the NIL issue as it relates to player representation, plus we’ll check out the latest from the scouting world and more. 

 

Ask the Agent: Highlights of Our Pro Development Session with Aston Wilson

Wednesday night, we had our third pro development session for the ’21 NFL agent class. This time, we invited Miami-based Aston Wilson of Agency 1 Sports Group. Aston took an hour and answered 10 questions I posed to him (as well as a handful that the participants asked). 

Having spent almost a decade as an independent contract advisor, working his way up from nothing, Aston was awesome, as I knew he would be. Here are a few highlights:

On the value of knowing scouts vs. knowing the game yourself: “You know, (as a former college football player), I can watch film with my clients and know what they’re talking about. I can scout players myself and be confident in knowing what I see, even if scouts don’t agree with me. . . I can be confident in my assessment of a player and I can say, ‘you know what? This guy can play regardless of, you know, if NFL Draft Scout has him as a PFA’ . . . What I know is, this is what plays in the NFL because I watch it, I understand it. But I . . . think you can learn that just from being a student of the game. I don’t think you need to be a former player in order to have that experience.”

On the value of independence in your ‘day job:’ “I think having a job still may hold you back as an agent if you’re not the master of your own schedule. I think the benefit for me being an attorney, or having my own business, is that I can get up and leave whenever I want. I don’t have to be tied to a city, an area, or anything that takes up my time. That’s my decision. I know some people are trying to start off and you have a 9-to-5. Obviously, you’re going to be locked into that 9-to-5 or whatever. Even if you have a boss, you don’t have the same freedom as not having a boss of being able to close the book.”

At the same time, agent work isn’t going to take up 100 percent of your time, all the time: “I think the demand on your time is a myth in the agent world . . . A lot of people (say they’re) grinding all the time, doing all this work, and yeah, you know, it’s time-consuming, but if you don’t have 5-10 active clients and then 2-3 more guys on the street (unsigned), you’re not consumed with agent life the entire time.”

On recruiting as a new agent with no clients: “It’s figuring out how to just survive through the gauntlet, you know? And . . . you find the loyal guy, like my first client that got drafted . . . (who said), ‘look, I like what he’s talking about. I’m going to rock with (him).’ And we’ve been through so much together. He’s one of my good friends, we talk all the time. It’s just that there’s no magic to it.”

Check out Aston at his law firm’s website if you have further questions about how he’s experienced success in the industry. Got more questions about the industry? Make sure to sign up for our Friday Wrap. We think you’ll find it helpful. 

Ask an NFL Scout: Who has it worse, NFL agents or scouts?

You might have already participated in the poll we posted on Twitter Wednesday comparing the jobs of NFL agent and NFL scout, and asking which one is tougher. You might even feel convicted on your choice. However — and especially if you chose the scout as having it tougher — you might consider what actual NFL evaluators say.

Here’s the question I posed several NFL scouts: All things considered, based on your experience, do you think scouts or agents have it better? Which job is harder and offers more uncertainty, in your opinion?

Here are their responses.

  • Agents do. They lack the ground work intel and the experience to appraise the value of the player, unless it is a big firm with large resources.”
  • Agents have it better these days. Scouts make less and have less input than they have had on who gets selected. More information-gatherers now. Scouts also have to deal with job security issues more then they did in the past because teams overpay directors and want cheap road scouts, and with the league rules of hiring minorities and getting draft pick compensation, this will further decrease veteran scouts. Independent agents will struggle to compete against bigger agencies, but have a chance if they can identify players and build relationships and create their own niche.”
  • “I would say agents have it harder. Kids now want everything given to them and expect to have training, housing, etc., and then, in the middle of the process, can fire the agent if they aren’t happy.”
  • “Good question. I think the agent business is more uncertain. Harder to get established in it. Have to get so much money up front to even get started. Once you’re established and get some players in the league, then I think scouting is probably harder. If that makes sense. Feel like there’s a lot of entry level scouting jobs. But to get started as an agent, you need to have a family connection or some sort of backing.  I feel for those young agents that are constantly trying to recruit players then get beat out late by the big firms.”
  • “I would say scouts have it better. The recruiting agents have to do would be terrible I think. If you’re an agent that has some just average guys who knows if they even make rosters. At least scouts get guaranteed wages from salary.”
  • “There is at least a path for new/young scouts to grow in the business. Getting into the agent game without being attached to a big firm is darn near impossible. Even long shot prospects are so entitled and so unrealistic about their ability that agents have to invest resources that will take until the player almost hits their 2nd contract for them to really turn a profit. That’s before you start talking about babysitting and dealing with the personalities.”  
  • “I would say maybe agents now because as the game has evolved, it’s almost like, with everything slotted, is there really a necessity for agents the first go-round? . . . Then the nature of the game with agents, I could say, ‘I represent Neil Stratton,’ but you get one of these other agents, and they could steal you from me, you know what I mean? So from that standpoint, even when your work is done and you think you have your guys, you constantly have to be on top of that relationship to prevent another agent from stealing him.”

Of course, it wasn’t all one-sided. Some scouts felt their job is more challenging:

Agents have it better. There’re both hard to get started. Agents have to shell out money to get started (but) scouts don’t make much and the opportunity for advancement has a lot to do with things out of your control. Agents control their own destiny based on how hard they hustle to get clients.”

What do you think? Make sure to make your voice heard on our Twitter feed and by participating in our poll. Coming Friday, agents tell us whose job they think is tougher. Don’t miss it; you can register for it here.

Three Insights from our Pro Development Session with Doug Whaley

Wednesday night, about 20 people — some of them aspiring scouts, some of them active and former NFL scouts — gathered for a little more than an hour with former Bills GM Doug Whaley. The topic was team-building, both on and off the field. Doug discussed how he approached building the Bills’ roster after spending a decade with the Steelers, as well as how he went about populating and managing his team’s scouting department.

Here are three (of several) takeaways from Doug’s discussion.

  • Steelers scouts/administrators are rarely approached by other teams despite their great success: Pittsburgh is a model franchise, yet Doug is one of the team’s few former executives who got a shot to run another team. “Everybody (in the league) believes none of them will leave, so no one gets approached . . . If you talked to (Steelers scouts and executives), you could ask them. They would entertain it. Do (the Steelers) pay? They’re not the top-paying club in the industry. Now, they treat you well, but I remember Mr. Rooney always saying, ‘we’re not the highest, we’re not the lowest, but we’re on the high side of fair.’ But again, you know, you’re going to win. They treat you right. But I’m telling you, nobody. And I talked to some of the scouts and was like, ‘what is it out there in the league that people don’t come and ask us?’ No one knocks on the door. The only other thing that I could say is maybe the owners are like, ‘hey, we respect the Rooneys so much that we won’t raid their staff.'” 
  • You can’t force a first-round QB: Then-Bills GM Buddy Nix wanted to have the team’s franchise QB in place before retiring and handing the reins to Doug, which is why he reached for Florida State’s E.J. Manuel at No. 16 in 2013. “At the time, I was Assistant GM, and the GM there was Buddy Nix, and he had talked to me before about, ‘hey, before I get out of here, I’m going to make sure that we have a quarterback’ . . .  And unbeknownst to me after the draft, he was going to retire. So I gave you the backdrop of that to say this: don’t ever back yourself into a corner by saying, ‘I want to get a specific position,’ because then you overdraft, which leads to some mistakes. So, E.J. Manuel, that was (Nix’s) favorite quarterback out of that draft. He wanted to get him and he didn’t want to lose him. Now I know why. So he got him in the first round. He removed all doubt. If we would have drafted him in the third round — which that’s probably where he should have gone, maybe third or fourth round — he may have still been in the league today as a backup. But don’t back yourself in a corner or of overdraft because of need.”
  • In the minds of some scouts and executives, center has eclipsed left tackle as the most important position on the offensive line: It’s due to today’s complex defenses and the center’s need to make the right line calls. “It was always offensive tackle, but the last two coaching searches, a lot of them switched to center, and it was because of the mental part of the game and (identifying) the (middle linebacker) and being able to make the line calls. And that’s so important now because of the intricacies of the defense. (Today’s coaches are) saying we need that center; it’s more important than the right or left tackle, which was interesting. . . I struggle with that, but I also understand where they’re coming from, especially if you have a young quarterback. If you can have that center take a lot of that mental part of the game off your young quarterback (you can) help him be able to function at a higher level with a lot less mental taxation on him.”

We’ll have another GM on next month to discuss the finer points of running a franchise. Stay tuned to our Twitter if that’s something you’d like to tune in for next time. In the meantime, if the business of football is your bag, make sure to sign up for our Friday Wrap

 

2021 NFL Agent Exam: Agent Stories

Tags

With the 2021 NFL Agent Exam just over two months away, we’re trying to do our part to get people ready for the test. However, it’s not just the exam that we’re preparing agent hopefuls for, but their new career. Part of that preparation is managing  expectations about what players seek during the recruiting process.

To do that, I reached out to several of my agent clients who recruit the Day 3/UDFA prospects that often take the long road to NFL stardom despite tough odds. The difficulty these agents face is that, increasingly, players are not willing to share the risk. Check out the following texts.

  • “I had a rotational player (non-starter) at a top-tier SEC school tell me he wanted $10k to sign and $2500/month through the draft. I told him best of luck and went on about my business. Kid signed (as an undrafted free agent) for less than $5K signing bonus after the draft and is a long shot to make a team.”
  • “(Defensive lineman from a P5 conference). Really good kid. Can’t emphasize that enough. Was a solid college player but didn’t have ability/tools to play in NFL. I knew, and the scouts confirmed, that he was going to be a low-level UDFA, but I liked the kid and told him to train at school and I’d give him some cash for supplements, position work and massage. His demands weren’t outrageous, but other agents, one in particular, (were) offering him a crazy package that included training and the works. I said good luck to the kid, he trained at this relatively big-time facility, tested poorly, signed as a UDFA and was cut after rookie minicamp a couple weeks ago. He didn’t have crazy demands but I think his teammates and other agent offers took him away from reality.”
  • “Ya know, this year, honestly, It wasn’t so much ridiculous demands that caused us to lose players. One player went with an inexperienced agent with zero clients (but bragged to have connections with a rapper), (and) he unfortunately went undrafted. Another player went solely with his mom’s choice (undrafted). A lot of clients we lost this year actually went back to school because their coaches sold them a promise for the returning year, which I hope to God they fulfill for the kid.”
  • One agent sent me a text, verbatim, from a young man at an FCS school who was a maybe UDFA/probable tryout (i.e., rookie mini-camp then sent home) prospect. He wanted a formal “list,” in writing, of the agent’s offer (training, stipend, per diem, etc.), which was also to include reimbursement for other costs like new cleats, gear, or whatever else came up (in other words, a blank check). Among his other demands: 
  • “I had one where the kid didn’t show for the (Zoom) call so I said I am out. He had (training) demands related to Florida. Not drafted. Kid’s brother showed for the call. . . but the kid didn’t show. So (I was) out. I can (also) describe another agent’s experience. He knew he was (losing the bidding war) on a (priority free agent-level prospect) so (the agent) drove the stipend up at the end. (The agent the player chose) wound up paying $2,500/month, something like that, on top of training, car, food, housing, etc.” (editor’s note: the player went undrafted and signed a UDFA deal).
  • “(A P5 defensive tackle) said within 5 mins of our meeting ‘what’s my stipend and what kind of rental car do I get?’ We (stopped recruiting) him immediately.” (editor’s note: he went undrafted)

Don’t stop here. Make sure you’re following us on Twitter, where we’ve had some interesting discussions with major agents on the realities of the industry (make sure to check out this thread in particular). You’ll probably enjoy our newsletter, the Friday Wrap, as well. Register here.