We’ve always had a friendly relationship, so we talk when we bump into each other on the road. He was lamenting the emails he gets from agents this time of year, pitching him on obscure players that are long shots at best. He contrasted that with a recent experience with one of the biggest agents in the game, who’s representing a top pick this spring. It was a great illustration of the dilemma hundreds of agents are going to have over the next 30-60 days.
The hard part about this business is that there are so many players that get signed by, at times, desperate agents who just want to get someone on SRA. The agents, in turn, spend weeks promoting these players to scouts. Slowly, they come to the realization that their clients are not getting traction. Usually, that’s around the end of March, i.e., now. After all, teams should be expressing interest in the player, not vice versa. Anyway, at this point, these agents have one of two reactions.
One is that they hope against hope that, somehow, their clients are super-sleepers despite the lack of attention. This is mostly denial. The other is that they realize that the time and money they’ve spent on their clients will not be rewarded, barring a miracle. When they come to this realization, deep down, they know they need to have the conversation that Howard is referring to.
The question is, how do you do this? How do you crush a kid’s dreams? How do you cut your losses when you’ve poured so many resources into a player?
There’s another element that makes it harder. Every year, it seems, there’s another form of minor-league football that comes along and tries to make a go of it. All of them ultimately fail, but for as long as they hang around, they give players the idea that there’s a post-college level that can vault them into the NFL. In very rare cases, this does happen, but in the vast majority of cases, there’s no ‘AAAA’ level of football.
If you leave college and aren’t on a roster in May, the NFL pretty much turns the page. There are exceptions, like in everything else in life, but not many. So if you’re and agent and you’re honest with yourself, and you’re honest with your client, you have to have that conversation.
More on this topic later this week.