Having worked with members of the ’21 agent class for the past several months, I hear their concerns and their questions every day. With the sub-FBS seasons over for teams not in the playoffs, and nearly over for about half of FBS teams, there are big decisions that are starting to be made.

Bottom line, there are certain things you need to know by Thanksgiving Day if you’re a certified contract advisor. Here’s what I came up with.

Know who you hope to sign: If you’re a newly certified agent, you are getting contacted daily by two groups. They are, people who hope to be agents some day and want you to hire them as interns, and players from previous draft classes hoping you’ll sign and train them to pursue their long shot NFL dreams. Well, we’re just getting started. As more and more players’ seasons end, they will start calling, too. I hope you’re recruiting, and not just waiting for something to float in over the transom. Sometimes those signings work out, but by and large, someone recruiting you is not being considered by NFL scouts.

Know who you can’t sign: Every year, there are agents who come into the business solely because a young man, or members of his family, promised that new agent that the player would sign with him or her upon certification by the NFLPA. For these people, I like to tell ‘the story of the high school girlfriend.’ I’m 52. So are Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez and Catherine Zeta-Jones, so all of them were in high school when I was. Now, let’s say I went to high school with one of them, and maybe I was even lucky enough to date one of them (I know, in my dreams, but let me tell the story). We might have expressed our love for each other, and maybe even made long-term plans, discussed kids, etc. Well, once those girls left Hometown U.S.A. and met the Brad Pitts, George Clooneys and Dwayne Johnsons of the world, suddenly, they don’t remember me anymore. That happens every year to new agents once the players they coached in Pop Warner or knew from the old neighborhood start to get recruited by the big firms. If this describes you, you better have a Plan B.

Know who the real prospects are: For most new agents without a network of NFL scouting contacts, figuring out which players have NFL talent takes real guesswork. Most aspiring NFL players have a well-rehearsed story explaining why they have been overlooked by draft pundits and scouts alike, and they can be pretty convincing. Have I mentioned that former NFL executive Blake Beddingfield writes scouting reports on any college player at any level for just $100+tax? We can turn a report in 2-3 days, most times sooner. Contact us for details.

Know about what you can spend: I would estimate that for every 100 members of a draft class signed to a 90-man roster post-draft (either drafted or signed as a UDFA), one makes it through the draft process costing his agent $1,000 or less. If about 600 rookies enter the league as draft picks or UDFAs, you’re talking about 5-7 players. For all the others, you’re looking at $5,000-$10,000 per player (again, we’re talking about actual prospects, not backup punters from NAIA schools). We discussed this extensively on our Zoom session last week. If you’re a new agent, I hope you caught it. Greg Linton (HOF Player Representatives) and Alex Campbell (Ajax Sports Agency) were magnificent.

Know, in minute detail, the all-star landscape: There are eight all-star games this draft cycle, more than any since ITL started in 2002. We had seven of the games’ directors on our Zoom last week, and they explained dates, schedules, costs (where applicable), invitation progress, roster sizes and scarcities, how to contact them and plenty of other details. I can’t describe what kind of opportunity these games are, especially if your client comes from a sub-FBS school or was only a one-year starter.

Whether or not you’re part of the football business community, and whether or not you’re part of the ITL family, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. One of God’s greatest gifts is our loved ones. Have a blessed day, and don’t forget to sign up for our Friday Wrap if you haven’t already.