Sticker shock is probably the biggest issue facing the modern NFL agent, and that’s especially true of new contract advisors sorting out the financial expectations of their recruiting quarry. Even players barely on the draft radar have come to see training as an expectation, and the entitlement doesn’t end there.

We’ve done plenty of writing about the costs of the business in the past. About three years ago (January 2015), the number we came up with was $10,000 to represent a player who could be drafted in the seventh round, but who would likely wind up as a priority free agent. Of course, that’s three years ago in a business where the dollars spend quickly and desperate knows no bounds. On the other hand, if you’re in the market for a top-100 pick, the number is 3-4 times that, according to our conversation with a top player rep in November 2014.

Both costs have risen. This week, the answer we got back on the first question was that it’s closer to $30,000 for a player slated to be drafted in the latter rounds (“we set aside 20k for training, 1500 a month in per diem, then another 2k in random expenses,” said one agent who typically signs late-rounders and undrafted free agents but always eschews top-50 prospects). As for those in the Top 100, by the time signing bonus, per diem, training (including lodging and food), marketing guarantee and/or other costs, we can only guess.

Still, it’s not the upfront costs but the back-end costs we’ll be focusing on later today in our Friday Wrap. We asked 13 contract advisors this question: How much does your monetary investment in a player grow over the draft cycle? In other words, once training costs and other considerations are set upon signing, what percentage (if any) does that total grow with unplanned, ‘out of pocket’ costs?

Based on spending about $30,000 on a typical prospect, here were some of the responses.

  • “Depending on the level of player i plan on spending around 5 to 15k. It usually ends up around 10 to 20k at least.”
  • “I mean, it always happens. It can be as little as a $200 flight, or it can be thousands of dollars. When i budget for each guy i usually add at least $7,500 in “misc. costs.”  If i stay under, great…but it usually tips the other way.”
  • “Maybe 2-3k.”
  • We’re pretty strict so maybe 5%.”
  • “Overall, we know that the promised expenses are probably about 90% of the expenses. Sometimes we need a few extra flights, rental car, or an additional loan, but the main expenses are known upon signing. And of course, we know our own expenses like all-star games, visiting client while training, etc. Very true. Plan is to keep things as clear as possible when they sign in order to avoid the issue later. Usually works but not always!”

For more responses, and a more rigorous look at the ‘out of pocket’ expenses associated with signing and representing budding NFL players, make sure to register for our Friday Wrap. It’s free, and chock-full of notes on the business of pro and college football. Register here.

Merry Christmas!

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