This week, I’ll be talking to J.I. Halsell in this space. J.I. is an interesting guy for a lot of reasons. One reason is that he’s worked on both the NFL side, as part of the management council and as the Redskins’ cap guru, and on the agent side, as part of Chicago-based Priority Sports, one of the top firms in the business.

What’s also interesting to me is that he walked away from the agent side of the business voluntarily. He got a player drafted early in his two years with Priority, and had more than one active client in the league when he cashed in his chips. Most folks who had a slot with a big firm and were starting to make their way in the biz would never give it up to move back to his West Coast roots, nearer his family.

The final thing that’s cool about J.I. is that he is very entrepreneurial. Though he’s worked with an NFL team and he’s worked with a big firm, he’s willing to bet on himself. His new site is NFL Contract Metrics, which breaks down the effect the cap has on all 32 NFL teams in a way that anyone can understand. It’s a subscription-based website, like ITL, but it’s very reasonable at $24.99 for a year, and I guarantee that if you sign up, you’ll learn something.

The best feature of the site is where J.I. takes all teams’ depth charts and includes their cap numbers as well as a host of other numbers. It really brings out these players’ impact on the team’s salary structure in a way I don’t know that anyone else does. It’s the report that one NFL team’s GM is already raving about, and rightly so.

We’ll tell his story of landing an internship with the NFL Management Council later this week, but there’s one thing he said related to his work there that really resonated with me. “I knew that getting exposed to the cap was a unique skillset because you couldn’t take a class and learn that. In one way, I did kind of luck up on it, but in another way, luck brought me to a field that was right up my alley.”

If you want to be a success in football, and you’re determined to be an agent or a scout or any other traditional field, more power to you. However, be open to seeing fields that maybe aren’t already well-trodden, as J.I. did.

More on J.I. and his thoughts on the football business later this week.

 

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