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With the 2021 NFL Agent Exam just over two months away, we’re trying to do our part to get people ready for the test. However, it’s not just the exam that we’re preparing agent hopefuls for, but their new career. Part of that preparation is managing  expectations about what players seek during the recruiting process.

To do that, I reached out to several of my agent clients who recruit the Day 3/UDFA prospects that often take the long road to NFL stardom despite tough odds. The difficulty these agents face is that, increasingly, players are not willing to share the risk. Check out the following texts.

  • “I had a rotational player (non-starter) at a top-tier SEC school tell me he wanted $10k to sign and $2500/month through the draft. I told him best of luck and went on about my business. Kid signed (as an undrafted free agent) for less than $5K signing bonus after the draft and is a long shot to make a team.”
  • “(Defensive lineman from a P5 conference). Really good kid. Can’t emphasize that enough. Was a solid college player but didn’t have ability/tools to play in NFL. I knew, and the scouts confirmed, that he was going to be a low-level UDFA, but I liked the kid and told him to train at school and I’d give him some cash for supplements, position work and massage. His demands weren’t outrageous, but other agents, one in particular, (were) offering him a crazy package that included training and the works. I said good luck to the kid, he trained at this relatively big-time facility, tested poorly, signed as a UDFA and was cut after rookie minicamp a couple weeks ago. He didn’t have crazy demands but I think his teammates and other agent offers took him away from reality.”
  • “Ya know, this year, honestly, It wasn’t so much ridiculous demands that caused us to lose players. One player went with an inexperienced agent with zero clients (but bragged to have connections with a rapper), (and) he unfortunately went undrafted. Another player went solely with his mom’s choice (undrafted). A lot of clients we lost this year actually went back to school because their coaches sold them a promise for the returning year, which I hope to God they fulfill for the kid.”
  • One agent sent me a text, verbatim, from a young man at an FCS school who was a maybe UDFA/probable tryout (i.e., rookie mini-camp then sent home) prospect. He wanted a formal “list,” in writing, of the agent’s offer (training, stipend, per diem, etc.), which was also to include reimbursement for other costs like new cleats, gear, or whatever else came up (in other words, a blank check). Among his other demands: 
  • “I had one where the kid didn’t show for the (Zoom) call so I said I am out. He had (training) demands related to Florida. Not drafted. Kid’s brother showed for the call. . . but the kid didn’t show. So (I was) out. I can (also) describe another agent’s experience. He knew he was (losing the bidding war) on a (priority free agent-level prospect) so (the agent) drove the stipend up at the end. (The agent the player chose) wound up paying $2,500/month, something like that, on top of training, car, food, housing, etc.” (editor’s note: the player went undrafted and signed a UDFA deal).
  • “(A P5 defensive tackle) said within 5 mins of our meeting ‘what’s my stipend and what kind of rental car do I get?’ We (stopped recruiting) him immediately.” (editor’s note: he went undrafted)

Don’t stop here. Make sure you’re following us on Twitter, where we’ve had some interesting discussions with major agents on the realities of the industry (make sure to check out this thread in particular). You’ll probably enjoy our newsletter, the Friday Wrap, as well. Register here.