Last week, I asked Casey Muir of Octagon Football to give me three points for new agents, three big things the people taking the NFLPA exam next month need to know in their first year as a contract advisor. If you missed it, stop and read it now. It was full of good advice and things you probably didn’t learn in sport management class.

It was so good that I decided to make it a series. This week, I asked Greg Linton of HOF Player Representatives to do the same thing. I’m always being asked by major firms to give me 5-10 names of young, rising agents who represent the next wave, and Greg is always one that I recommend (Casey used to be one, as well, in his pre-Octagon days). That made Greg a natural for advice.

Here’s what Greg, known as ‘Tripp’ to his friends, told me.

  • “First thing I tell new agents, and they often don’t understand what I’m saying, is that you have to learn the things you don’t know that you don’t know. For instance, a lot of people say, I live in Texas, so I have all these schools where I can recruit, but they don’t know that at Texas and Texas A&M, the coaches there may be advising their top players to sign with their own agents. (Players at) certain schools are going to do certain things based on who their head coaches are. A lot of (new agents) go after guys and go bankrupt because (the schools or coaches) aren’t honest. They need to talk to people like (Inside the League), other agents willing to give them help, and things like that. It just saves you time and money.
  • “Second thing, I don’t spend other people’s money and I don’t spend money that I don’t have. A lot of guys will get investors and get loans, and they think a guy is gonna go in the third round, and then he goes undrafted. Now (the agent’s) in debt, and their investors are like, ‘you told me we’d make this money and now we aren’t,’ and (the investors) pull out. (Many agents) who had investors are now out of the business. I guess that’s where my economics background comes in. I’m not overspending. My bachelor’s is in economics, with a dual major in finance and marketing, and I have my MBA. That’s an issue. Everything we do at (HOF Player Representatives), I’m the one that’s saying ‘no’ when it doesn’t make sense financially. Most people will pay to sign a draft pick and think they’re gonna keep the guy and make big money, and it does not work that way. Don’t assume that A is going to lead to B. Don’t assume you sign a player and he’s drafted in third round, so it means you’re gonna get the (tackle) next year who’s a first- or second-rounder. (Agents) overspend and get guys because they think they’re gonna get the guy from next year. That doesn’t work either.
  • “Other thing I would say is, I did a four-year study on the draft grades (provided by the two combines, BLESTO and National Football Scouting), but outside of the top 100-150 guys, those grades don’t mean anything. People swear by them, but I’m to the point now where I let (other) people do it. I guess I could say trust your eye, but most agents don’t know football. You have to take into account medicals and workouts, and those are the kinds of things you don’t have in June.

“That’s a start. Those are the three things that would help, in my opinion.”

If you want more advice on the business, and what agents say some important Year 1 lessons are, make sure you’re reading our Friday Wrap. It comes out Friday evenings every week, it’s free, it’s read by thousands of people in the NFL business community, and you can register for it here.