Jets quarterback Geno Smith could end up having Jay-Z help navigate the concrete jungle where dreams are made of.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Smith has wrapped up two days of meetings with potential successors to Select Sports Group, the agency Smith hired after completing his college career at West Virginia. Making presentations were Joel Segal, Rick Smith of Priority Sports, Eugene Parker, Fletcher Smith, and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation agency.
CAA, which has been working with Roc Nation, wasn’t involved in the process. Roc Nation’s presentation came from a certified NFLPA agent who works for the agency Jay-Z owns.
This development surely will cause rival agents to wonder whether and to what extent Jay-Z was or will be personally involved in the recruitment. Since Jay-Z is not a certified NFLPA agent, the rules prevent him from trying to persuade NFL players to hire any specific NFLPA agent.
The situation becomes complicated by the reality that Jay-Z can directly contact Smith in connection with efforts to recruit Smith as a Roc Nation client for non-football representation.
Not involved in the process was Athletes First, the agency that represents Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. While we got the impression earlier in the week that Smith wasn’t troubled by the possibility of joint representation, it’s possible that Sanchez communicated concerns to the firm about the perception that his agents are helping Sanchez’s primary competition for the starting job.
A decision from Smith isn’t expected before the end of the weekend because Smith in the interim will be getting his first official taste of NFL football, as the Jets convene their annual rookie minicamp. With none of the experienced quarterbacks present, Smith will have an excellent opportunity to persuade the powers-that-be that he can be ready to start as of Week One.
The first order of business for Smith’s next agent will be to remove from the former West Virginia quarterback the burden of worrying about the media, to lay the foundation for more positive coverage, and to advise Smith on how to avoid giving the media and others ammunition for fair (or unfair) criticism.
While Smith’s play eventually will shape his perception, the goal will be to persuade writers and broadcasters to give the kid the benefit of the doubt as he embarks on the challenge of playing quarterback under inherently intense and stressful circumstances, given the current state of the Jets and in light of the city where they play.
When it comes to understanding how to survive and thrive in New York, it wouldn’t hurt to get (and to heed) advice from Jay-Z.