The following is a guest contribution from Mitchell Friesen of Steiner Sports. Check out their website here: https://www.steinersports.com/
We flip on the television to watch our favorite athletes and teams battle it out on the gridiron, court or diamond and never give thought to the agencies behind the athletes. We seldom give thought to the role that agents play in bringing us the players we love to watch. But, the truth of the matter is, today’s famous and successful football, basketball, and baseball, players do not represent themselves but hire sports agents as their representation. Arguably players need agents and here’s why: money, and position.
Back in the day when professional players were mere mortals and money was a slighter issue to professional contracts than it is today, perhaps agents were a luxury that some could do without. No more. There are millions of dollars at stake for the player, and the franchises whose jerseys they wear. For instance, the base salary for rookie players in the 2015 NFL draft started at $435,000 dollars for the first year. The following year’s salary jumped to $525,000. A third year player can expect to be salaried at $615,000 and by the fourth year the player is bringing in $705,000. This represents drafted players. Undrafted rookies receive a 3- year contract.
There are several factors that figure into the compensation for NFL rookies. Salary Cap is one and the Rookie Compensation Pool is the other.
By definition, the Rookie Compensation Pool places a limit on the total amount of money a team can spend on any rookie’s first year and 4- year contract. The NFL Salary Cap for 2015 was $143.28 million dollars. That represents a $10 million dollar increase from 2014. Now, simply the money he is paid for playing the game doesn’t define a player’s salary. A player’s salary includes anything he receives of value: investments, loans, property, and money etc. Benefits are not included in the player’s salary, but sometimes non-football-related services are.
Now, add to all of the above the NFL’s procedure for choosing picks within each round. There is a huge difference between draftees that are chosen between rounds 1 and 2 and those chosen at the end of the draft. Imagine a kid out of college, or even high school, navigating through the process. It is too daunting for the average, inexperienced individual. Besides, a player that represents himself in the process has to adjust his focus from practice, and the potential of being a game great. Focusing on the mechanics of the business behind the sport they play would be a misappropriation of talent. This is where a qualified, professional agent comes in.
An agency/agent recognizes and identifies new talent and signs new players. The agent will represent the player by negotiating salaries, and looking out for the athlete’s best interest. Every time you see an athlete in a spokesperson role for a product, be assured that the athlete’s agent secured the endorsement.