Not long before Wednesday’s PFT Live, a league insider with a good understanding of how business gets transacted pointed out a dynamic that, in hindsight, I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t think of myself.
When picking the next place where Peyton Manning will play, a potentially significant factor arises not from Peyton’s preferences or priorities but from the stable of clients represented by CAA, the agency that represents Manning.
CAA handles many athletes and coaches. (The mega-firm even represents some NFL reporters who, coincidentally, know a thing or two about CAA’s football clients.) And CAA will naturally be inclined to steer Peyton away from teams where another CAA client currently serves as the starting quarterback.
For starter, consider the 49ers. Alex Smith is the quarterback. He apparently wants to stay. The 49ers apparently want to keep him. There’s no evidence of a strong demand for his services on the open market.
And he’s represented by CAA.
So even if it makes sense for the 49ers to make a play for Manning, CAA won’t want to see that happen, if the end result is one less CAA client serving as an NFL starting quarterback.
Ditto for the Denver Broncos. When Jimmy Sexton joined CAA last year, he brought Tim Tebow with him. If the Broncos were to add Manning, Tebow would be bumped to the bench, or worse.
So forget about Manning becoming a Bronco.
CAA represents other starters whose teams likely aren’t thinking about making a change, including Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, and Lions quarterback Matt Stafford. Beyond that, there are some possible (not likely, but possible) destinations that complicate the careers of other CAA clients.
Buffalo? Ryan Fitzpatrick is another Sexton guy.
Cowboys? Tony Romo is represented by Ken Kremer of CAA.
Jaguars? Blaine Gabbert is a CAA client.
Vikings? Sexton has Christian Ponder.
Bucs? Kremer has Josh Freeman.
Of course, Peyton Manning can be a lot more persuasive and/or insistent than most clients. If he wants to go to San Francisco, he’s going to San Francisco, regardless of what it means for Alex Smith.
Still, the agent serves as the first point of contact, and the agent has plenty of control over who gets a seat at the table. Though it’s hardly the main factor, it’s definitely one of the various things that will go into the broader decision as to where Manning will play in 2012 and beyond.