Wednesday night, dozens of members of the 2021 NFL agent class joined me on Zoom. Our topic was the 2022 pre-draft all-star cycle, which is bursting at the seams with eight games on the schedule from early January to mid-February. With so many games and so many changes across the board, there’s a lot to know if you’re a new contract advisor.

Here are a few highlights from what we discussed:

  • One of the crucial mistakes that new agents make is to wait until December (or even January) to start pitching all-star games on players. Granted, newer agents take longer to get real traction with draft-eligible players, so it takes longer for them to have a player to promote. Still, if you’re reading this and you’re a new agent, start reaching out to games as soon as you get a player to express interest in signing with you.
  • It’s also a risk to promote a player you haven’t signed, because often all-star berths make players more attractive to established contract advisors. However, when you don’t have a client list to point to, you need to have something. 
  • If you’re a new agent, you need to understand (a) the effect being placed on the Senior Bowl watch list has on a player and (b) the effect getting publicly invited to any all-star game has. Both artificially (and mostly incorrectly) enhance a player’s estimation of his draft status. Every year, about 500 players go to all-star games (far more than that this year). There are only about 100 players selected on the first two days of the draft, and most of those hundred are underclassmen or players who skipped all-star games. That means the lion’s share of all-star game participants are competing for 150 draft slots. Just because a player’s an all-star doesn’t mean he’s an NFL star. The math just doesn’t work. So if you’re an agent, understand this, and stick to your budget.
  • One question I always get from agents is a simple one: what should I wear to all-star games? It’s actually a valid question. You don’t want to over-dress and look dumb, and you don’t want to be too casual and look like some kind of weird fan. I recommend a casually professional look, i.e., slacks and a collared shirt. If you feel strongly about wearing a sport coat, that’s not a bad move. I don’t recommend looking like you just stepped off the set of the first Matrix movie, and I don’t recommend wearing a three-piece suit. In other words, don’t try to look like you’re the coolest person in town and don’t try to look like someone you aren’t. 

This is just a quick overview of what we discussed this week. Here are some of the other topics.

  • Who, how and when to contact about getting a player into an all-star game
  • Costs (if any) associated with each of the respective games
  • Background/insights on each of the games’ executive directors
  • The general form/schedule of an all-star week
  • Which ones will have significant scout coverage and which ones might not
  • When you should arrive, what you should do, how you should conduct yourself
  • History, success rate of participating players
  • Protocol/etiquette for withdrawing a player from a game
  • What to say when a game claims there’s no room for your client
  • What to tell your client before he goes

If you’re a new agent, or even a recent one, I hope you can join us next month. Next month’s topic will include the cost of representing players, choosing a trainer, how to retard excess costs, etc. All you have to do is become an ITL client. You can do that here if you aren’t already part of the ITL family.

Also, if this topic matters to you, make sure to sign up for our Friday Wrap here