This week, we take a break from the series by guest blogger Donovan Martin of Donovan Mental Performance to look at the changing industry. I can boil it down to three texts I’ve received in the last seven days, all from veteran agents who’ve represented big-name players and who know the industry top to bottom.

I’ll provide their texts and then a little context and perspective.

  • “I’ll never forget one of my first clients, a PFA-type kid from Coastal Carolina, got in a car accident a month before the draft and my firm repped him on the soft tissue bodily injury case. We made more money off a minor, run-of-the-mill fender bender with that kid than we ever did in football with him.”

I provide this really more for comedy relief than anything else. This text comes from one of the most devoted contract advisors certified in the last five years. He’s smart, driven, and has resources, but in today’s system, often, that’s not enough.

  • “A player called me about representation. He asked about training – told him no. He called back and asked me if there are places that will arrange a loan for training and housing.”

This text gives you insight into the perception of so many players, especially fringe prospects, that combine prep can turn them into overnight first-rounders. Desperation is part of being young sometimes, but for a young man to take on a $20,000 to $30,000 loan on a million-to-one shot is a failure of so many people close to him who should know better. This misperception is almost solely social media-driven.

  • “This rookie business sucks as is…really from the top down. First-rounders, you have to damn near pay them what you are going to make off of them. Then you have Day 3 guys have the nerve to request stipends. The day I pay a Day 3 guy a salary for 4 months to sign with me is the day hell freezes over.”

In its zeal to make life better for players, the NFLPA has stayed largely out of the fray as the signing chase has become an arms race. I get it; it’s a volatile sport, so let players take advantage of the market. At the same time, this has taken a dramatic and tragic toll on the “middle class” of veteran agents who are extremely connected and knowledgeable, but don’t have endless resources. At the end of the day, signing should be about sound counsel, not cash. In my opinion, it’s a pretty short-sighted position that the Players Association has taken.

If you aspire to be an agent, consider these texts and make sure you’ve read previous posts here about the state of the business. If you’re a coach or work for a college team, make sure you’re providing your players with mature counsel. If it’s your son who’s trying to get to the league, make sure you’re thinking about the best for your son, and don’t be afraid to tell him some hard truths.

If you’re part of any of these groups, and you need to know more, or need help communicating these lessons to a prospect, please reach out to us.