The Money Behind the Pre-Draft Process
When the NFL Draft kicks off tonight in Nashville, millions of people around the world will be watching the dreams come true of hundreds of prospects making it to the NFL. But, most fans do not know the magnitude of expenses behind the scenes leading up to the draft.
During the four to five month period between the end of the college football season and the draft in April, NFL prospects must endure intense training to ensure the greatest probability of their dreams becoming a reality. Over these months, prospects will need to be trained, housed, fed and mentally prepared for success at the highest level.
It is up to each prospect’s agent to cover these expenses leading up to the draft. However, NFL organizations do cover expenses needed to fly out prospects for pre-draft visits and workouts.
The player-agent recruiting game often comes down to pure capital. In most cases, the caliber of player will determine the amount of expenses that an agent may be willing to cover during the pre-draft process. However, any agent must be cognizant of how many players they can recruit during each draft class due to the extreme costs that it takes to sign a client leading up to the draft.
Below are possible expenses for a draft prospect from January until the NFL Draft.
Training Facility: $10,000 – $25,000
“EXOS is a ‘human performance company’ that hosted 150 NFL prospects at its five locations this draft season.” Eighty four athletes were supported in the 2017 NFL Draft class by EXOS. EXOS offers a number of services to their future NFL players including training, housing, speed training, interview prep, massage therapy, Wonderlic test prep, physical therapy and nutrition. Eight-week plans for the services mentioned above start around $17,000 and increase depending upon specific needs for each client.
Additional Housing: $2,000-$3,000
Players need some place to stay during their training period.
Rental Car: $1,000 – $2,000
Most prospects aren’t spending their money on a new car prior to being drafted and earning their signing bonus. Therefore, the need for transportation for the athletes is essential during the pre-draft process.
Marketing Guarantee/Loans: $10,000 – $50,000
Medical Coverage: $2,000 – $3,000
Before specific NFL team medical coverage comes into effect, prospects often seek short-term coverage to cover themselves especially if additional rehabbing is needed.
Friends and Family: $5,000 – $10,000
Throughout the pre-draft process, agents often cover flights, hotels and other miscellaneous expenses when friends and family wish to visit their future NFL hopeful at training sessions or marketing events.
Pre-Draft Team Meetings: $20,000
The average pre-draft visit costs an NFL organization $2,000 which includes flight, hotels, and a dinner with the coaching staff. A high caliber prospect might take 10 visits prior to the draft.
Stipends/Lump Sums: $5,000 – $100,000
Depending upon the potential of a prospect, agent’s pay their clients a lump sum or stipends throughout their pre-draft process for their clients to spend at their discretion.
Miscellaneous: $1,000 – $5,000
Whether it is shipping their client’s free gear back after the NFL combine, hosting a draft party or paying for additional therapy and interview prep, these expenses add up quickly for agents.
Total: $56,000 – $218,000
When college players declare for the NFL Draft, several NFL agents must recruit strategically based upon the cost-benefit analysis of each of their potential clients. NFL agents earn three percent on their client’s contracts and earn between 15-20 percent on marketing deals for their clients.
In today’s era, agents take the tremendous investment in their clients in hopes of receiving a second contract reaping millions of dollars for their client and themselves in return.