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What Went Wrong in the Reggie Bush Sweepstakes?

Mario Williams is living a dream

When I first posted on Reggie Bush’s decision to forgo his senior year of college to participate in the 2006 NFL Draft, it seemed that he would be a shoe-in to the Houston Texans with the first overall pick (See: The Reggie Bush Sweepstakes). I will admit when I am wrong, and I most definitely was incorrect in my assessment. The city of Houston is currently in misery over the decision to sign Mario Williams with the first overall pick, the rest of the country/world is in shock, and Reggie Bush is left wondering what went wrong.

Charley Casserly (GM of the Houston Texans) is quoted as saying:

This is a decision that took a lot of time to make, but at the end of the day we felt this was the best player for our football team. Both players, Reggie Bush and Mario Williams, are going to, I think, be great pros. We made the decision to go with defense.

While there may be a small amount of truth behind that statement, I believe that there is a lot more behind their decision to pass up on Reggie Bush. I do not believe, however, that the recent controversy surrounding the Bush family’s “free rent” had anything to do with the decision (for more info. on that situation, see: NFL probes potential extortion of Reggie Bush’s family).
Reggie Bush would have created a lot of money for the Texans. This is what makes the decision so odd. Reggie would have increased season ticket sales, increased individual game sales, increased merchandise sales, etc. Instead, Houston now faces a situation where its hometown fans are very upset.

What really (most likely) went wrong, and how is it relevant to this blog? Would you ever believe that a player’s agent could have influenced whether a player was selected first overall? Start believing. As noted in my post on January 2nd concerning Reggie Bush (1st link on this post), Reggie Bush definitely wanted a larger salary than last year’s #1 overall pick, Alex Smith. Alex Smith’s contract was 6 years for $49.5 million. If the Texans were willing to offer Mario Williams $54 million for 6 years, you better believe that they would have been more than willing to match that offer for Reggie Bush or even exceed the offer by a small percentage. Neither players are quarterbacks, but whatever was offered seemed to not be enough for Reggie Bush, his agent, one of the two, or both of them. Either way, Bush’s agent has the fiduciary duty to do what is right for his client. I am not sure that he did a great job this time.

Contract negotiations are important. Joel Segal, Reggie Bush’s agent for contractual matters, is a seasoned veteran. He and his company, Worldwide Football Inc. represent talented players such as Will Smith (OSU Alum), Ben Troupe (UF Alum), Michael Jenkins (OSU Alum), Alex Brown (UF Alum), etc. But he obviously did not do his research on Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans. According to many sources, McNair likes to get his deals done as quick as possible and move on. Bush and Williams began their negotiations at the beginning of the week, and apparently, Segal proceeded slow without giving in to any concessions while Williams’s agent was in continuous conversation with the Texans and ended up landing a stellar contract for his client.

Maybe it was all about defense, though. What will happen to Charley Casserly if Reggie Bush is amazing or Mario Williams fails (or both)? What will happen to Joel Segal’s reputation? There are many more questions surrounding this issue.

[tags]Reggie Bush, Mario Williams, Houston Texans, NFL Draft, 1st pick, Joel Segal, Charley Casserly, Bob McNair[/tags]

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

2 replies on “What Went Wrong in the Reggie Bush Sweepstakes?”

How much guaranteed money did Alex Smith receive? Williams received approximately $24 million. It’ll be interesting to see if the Saints give him more GUARANTEED money.

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