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Because it’s the season of all-star games, January is always a time when I’m with ‘my people’ non-stop — the agents, financial planners, scouts, coaches, parents of players and everyone who make up my clientele. It’s a pretty exciting time. It’s great to deepen relationships and make connections. This week, I’m in Bedford, Texas, just outside Dallas, for the second annual College Gridiron Showcase.

Seeing so many people here who understand the game gives me a great platform for answering questions about a business that has an ever-changing financial model. For that reason, last year, I decided to ask one question consistently to people around the game (especially contract advisors). Last year, my question was, ‘What’s the going rate for representing a player you know may or may not be drafted, but will surely go to a camp? What’s the going rate?’ Here’s the answer I got.

This year, there’s a large shadow looming over the business as the NFLPA seems set to lower the maximum fee for representing players to two percent from its present three percent. The players will vote on the measure this spring at their annual meeting, and it would be an upset if it doesn’t pass. For that reason, I asked three agents today this question: “If you can only charge players you recruit for the ’17 draft two percent, what will you do?”

I got three responses, and I’m paraphrasing them below:

  • “I have a great passion for this business, and I have other professional endeavors that bring me resources, so I don’t have to rely on it for a living. I’ll find a way to make it work.”
  • “I was always encouraged by my mentor to get on the business advisor side of the business. I could still work with players, but it’s not regulated and you can charge as much as you want.”
  • “I guess I’ll try to figure out some way to ask them to repay training fees (which can run as high as $25,000) when they get to the league.”

Three interesting responses. Note that none of them said flatly, “I’m out of football and I’ll never return.” This game, and this profession, kindles a fire in people that is very hard to quench. It’s why I always say that no one walks out of this game. They only leave on their shield.

More responses as we proceed through all-star season.