May
11

Not Drafted Into The NFL. What Happens Next?

Many of you are well aware that Dynasty did not have any of its clients selected in the 2009 NFL Draft.  I cannot say that I am all that surprised, considering that it was our first year giving it a try.  We definitely learned a lot from the process and hope to improve on our results next year.  That being said, just because you do not have a client drafted, does not mean that the world is crumbling down on your clients and your practice.  In fact, many players are signed as free-agents right after the culmination of the draft and others are invited to team mini-camps for tryouts.

Rulon Davis is one of the many players who accepted an offer from an NFL team at the conclusion of the draft.  He signed with the Denver Broncos and has received excellent reviews by many who have seen him perform with the team thus far.  Andrew Johnson decided to join the Cleveland Browns in their minicamp on a tryout basis.  Many players and their agents are working the phone lines and communicating with team personnel well in advance of the naming of Mr. Irrelevant.  And many of the UFA (undrafted free agent) deals are signed within a couple of hours of the last name being called.

New Orleans Saints coach, Sean Payton, recently talked in depth about the process of signing UFAs.

“It’s like you have two hours where with recruiting there’s a time frame that exists for months where you can build up a relationship with a player and a coach and a family member,” Payton said.  “But when the draft ends, you’re really selling on the phone for two hours.

“Hopefully you’ve been able to make contact with a scout, maybe a prior phone call to build a relationship so when that time comes there is some familiarity with a scout or coach to bring the player to the forefront. . . .  It’s a very similar process throughout the league.  Once the draft is winding down, you’re looking at your board and getting on the phone and trying to make sure that you’re answering all of their questions.  The challenge is that the agent and the player are getting calls from five or six different teams and the challenge is making sure that that’s organized.”

“Some team might decide to pay a player $15,000 as a bonus as opposed to $5,000 and that might sway a player,” Payton said.  “The one thing I do think, though — and the agents have done a good job with this — is that they have studied closely the depth charts and tried to find the best place for their client.

“The additional five, six or seven thousand dollars really is not going to offset the opportunity to make a roster.  You’ve heard me talk about our experience in Dallas with Tony Romo, after the draft as a free agent when he had eight or nine teams calling and he took less money to come to Dallas.  I think the decision was good on his part because he looked closely at the depth chart and felt like that was a place where he had a chance to make the team.”