As we get deeper into the NFL offseason, you will hear more and more chatter about free agency, franchise tags, and the like. This time of year is when agents make their mark on behalf of their clients. At the end of the day, an agent is judged on the end product of the agent-client relationship- the contract that is signed, sealed, and delivered. While recruiting and signing clients is obviously an imperative step of becoming a successful agent, it is only the first step. The true barometer of how successful you will be as an agent is dependent on whether you keep your clients happy once you sign them.
Agents are spread thin at this time of year. Attending the media frenzy NFL Combine and tackling the time-consuming challenge of bringing in next year’s rookie class only scratches the surface. Agents must also focus on the contracts of their current clients. As a NFLPA certified contract adviser, this is the bread and butter of athlete-representation.
Now, this is where the fun begins…
You are a very well known agent for a mouthy, but dominant NFL wide receiver. For our purposes, let’s just call him Ocho Cuatro. Mr. Cuatro has one year left on a 5-year contract he signed back in 2003. He is under contract for one more year with the team he has been with since he was a second-round pick out of college.
Lately, perennial pro-bowler Mr. Cuatro has publicly voiced his disapproval with the way he’s been treated by his club and he wants out. He has blasted his head coach and club many times over in the media. He has also told you that “I would rather sit the next season out then play for these knuckleheads.”
In your few meetings with team management, they have told you that they have absolutely no plans of trading Mr. Cuatro. They also don’t plan to give him a new contract. Despite Mr. Cuatro’s insatiable demand for being in the spotlight and his rocky relationship with the head coach, they have every intention of utilizing his talent and letting his contract play out for the remaining year.
At this point, you are quietly trying to work behind the scenes to fix the situation. Considering your history as an agent, you want to avoid another high profile saga and you will do whatever takes to make sure Cuatro is playing next season. While you would love to entertain the possibility of repeating the “next question” press conference and attracting a few more lucrative fast-food commercial appearances, another go-around of that circus could spell out the demise of your career.
Your primary duty is to make Mr. Cuatro happy, which means to get him in another uniform for next season (and that is a uniform that could appear in the playoffs for a change). However, your hands are really tied if the club will not trade him. You know that your client’s explosive personality could really blow up in your face and lead to a disastrous situation if you cannot meet his expectations.
What would you do…?
Update: I have been working very hard recently on www.AccessAthletes.com and am excited to roll out some exciting changes to the site in the next month. Please stay tuned…