I don’t have a war story today, per se. Instead, I hope you’ll permit me to pass along my dissection of a conversation I had with an agent from a top-10 firm today.

  • I’m always getting asked by new agents how much money they need to recruit a player. Well, based on the phone conversation I had today, the figure his firm uses for budgeting is $35,000/player after the signing. This firm doesn’t cheat, but I’m still presuming the recruiting costs per player (which probably involve at least 2-3 visits each with probably 2-3 representatives) are around $3,000-$5,000 after you consider plane flights, hotel stays, meals and rental cars. This agency recruits players that range anywhere from 1-50 in the draft (from the first pick in the draft to about midway through the second round). So basically what I took from that is that if you want to recruit a first-rounder, the baseline is a commitment of about $40,000 to get you to draft day.
  • I should mention two others related things. His agency doesn’t pay signing bonuses or stipends, which typically run in the five figures. If you’re a new agent with a limited client list, you’re definitely going to need to figure that into the cost, just as a sweetener to get the kid to consider you. That number could range into the tens of thousands, but let’s just say $10,000, for a grand total of $50,000/player.
  • The other thing he added is that if the kid falls to the third round, the $35,000 becomes a break-even figure. The kid has to go in the first two rounds just to turn a profit. Now, as you know, a first-rounder in December is just a bad combine, a failed drug test, an arrest or a pulled hamstring on pro day away from the third round (or worse) in April. There are no guarantees in this business, except that bills will come due and you better pay them.
  • There’s one other consideration. If you don’t have a client list ranging around 20-30 active players, you have very little shot of signing a player in the top 100. You’ll also need to spend, I would estimate, 100 hours on the phone with him and/or his parents. These are the non-money costs of recruiting.

We’ll get back to other aspects of the football industry in Thursday’s post, but I wanted to write about this while it was fresh. I hope you find it insightful as it pertains to your place in the football world.