The Business Side of Sports
Discussed by Eric Metz, Senior NFL Draft Advisor
- The No Friendship League
- How a player is drafted
- Conflict of interests
- The value of privacy
- Rookie wage scale
- Honesty v. Deceit
I have Owners, GMs, Head Coaches who are "friends" but they have a job to do and fiercely protect their own careers. The President\CEO of Eagles and Browns sent me furniture with my children’s names engraved when they were born. He would fight me to death for an extra penny. You can have friendships but understand they have a job to do for their Owner. Most agents bail on their clients when the player struggles or is not a star. I know because the player will call us due to our reputation. I can give you players who struggle and they are better referrals than Pro Bowlers. I have had the guts to endure high profile holdouts resulting in a few of the largest contracts in NFL history. I wrote Kevin O'Connell a personal check to avoid a holdout in 2008 with the Patriots and have done it plenty of times if a player is worried. Let me show you how agents lie to you in 3rd round deals with "workout money" today.
The truth is that an agent can hire people to prepare you for All-Star Game, Combine, Pro Day and private workouts in March-April. Here at SLG, we can provide the tools to succeed, but it is up to you to succeed. We have prepared our clients since 1986, beginning with Hall of Fame Coach George Allen, and his son. We have been on stage on Draft Day having represented the 1st overall pick and the 2nd overall pick twice. We have represented the first offensive tackle selected in the NFL Draft 4 times in the past 20 years, and first offensive guard twice during that span.
Example: The same agent represents two interior linemen on the same team. One is older and highly paid, while the other is an emerging talent who may replace him in time. The younger player's contract is up and he is a Free Agent. The older player says "get him to another team or I may get cut this summer since he's a free agent". What do you do as the agent? Players should raise these kinds of questions prior to signing with an agency because these situations do in fact happen throughout the league.
The value of privacy in this business cannot be stressed enough. I have been in this business a long time, and I have seen big mouth agents ruin more careers than many of the common vices players face off the field. Teams simply will not share information if they think it will appear on ESPN an hour later. Players should want representation from a quiet company like SLG Sports & Entertainment to keep their clients information as private as possible.
The rookie wage scale, in general, homogenizes the ability of agents to differentiate themselves. It is easy to negotiate a rookie contract after the player is drafted. Preparing properly can assist you in getting yourself drafted several slots or even a round higher. That is the key.
Contract negotiation is about leverage and the club trying to "wear you down". SLG has shown strength over the past four decades. Teams will "cut to the chase" with us as opposed to other weaker agencies in the market.