The windfalls for incoming rookies have disappeared, via the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. But that hasn’t stopped agents from continuing to make it rain on the rookies in the hopes of getting them to sign on the dotted line.
Per a source with knowledge of the ongoing recruiting dynamics, agents continue to provide big-money marketing guarantees, reduced fees, and the newest free-money craze: the training stipend.
The marketing guarantee essentially represents an advance on off-field earnings. And if those off-field earnings are never earned, the player doesn’t have to pay any of the money back. The problem, as the source explained it, is that some agents will harangue the players to sign dollar autographs until they have carpal tunnel syndrome in all
five four appendages in order to make the money back, and the player essentially will be working . . . and working . . . and working for free.
The training stipend comes closest to being money for nothing. The agent gives the player money for “living expenses” while working out for a living. Per the source, figures as high as $80,000 have been offered to incoming draft picks to cover their room and board and whatever else they want to buy between now and late April.
Apparently, it’s not prohibited by the NFLPA or the NFLPA isn’t enforcing the rules. Either way, it gives certain agents a way to buy their way into larger client bases — even if the disappearance of gigantic rookie contracts makes it more of a long-term investment.