Today, I got into a heated but respectful exchange on Twitter regarding Miami Beach-based Drew Rosenhaus of Rosenhaus Sports. It was based on the fact that Drew leads all agents in total clients, and in fact has (literally) double the amount of clients that the second-place contract advisor has.

My counterpart’s argument: Rosenhaus must essentially ignore all his clients, because no man can give that much time and attention to that many players.

I understand his argument, but let me explain why I see this as a false presumption. Once an agent signs a player, there’s no expiration date on the SRA. Unless the player (or sometimes the agent) ends the relationship, he represents him in perpetuity. That means that many agents are walking around with hundreds of clients, but none of them are in the NFL. Don’t believe me? Google the websites of some agencies. You may find the pictures of dozens of players, many of them in NFL uniforms or whatever. Then go to that team’s website and see if they’re actually on the roster. In most cases, they aren’t, and haven’t been for years. In fact, in a lot of cases, they were only on the roster for training camp. That means they didn’t make a penny, relatively speaking, beyond their UDFA bonus.

It’s important to understand that simply representing a college athlete is not a valid measure of success in this business. Unless he’s in the NFL, he’s not getting paid. That means, he’s costing his agent time — which is a resource — and in some cases money, in the form of training fees, housing, out-of-pocket expenses, etc.

A player on an NFL roster really doesn’t (shouldn’t?) need to stay in daily contact with his agent. I mean, the agent’s job is to seek out opportunities for his clients, and once found, the client has to take it from there. One of the central complaints I get from agents all the time, large and small, is how much hand-holding a player expects. This is a problem that’s probably getting worse instead of better. The number of services a player expects is sometimes unreasonable.

There’s no easy way to measure the number of clients an agent has on the street versus in the league, but short of doing that, there’s no way to determine how much attention players get from various agents. It would be a valuable metric, but I don’t know how you’d determine that. In the meantime, I certainly don’t fault agents who try to help dozens of young men realize their NFL dreams, but I don’t necessarily think they’re better agents because of it.

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