Jets quarterback Geno Smith still hasn’t hired a new agent. One of Smith’s advisers, former West Virginia and NFL defensive lineman John Thornton, says Smith hopes to make a decision soon, likely after attending the NFLPA’s Rookie Premiere in L.A. this weekend.
While Jay-Z’s Roc Nation agency may not secure the ability to represent Smith for the purposes of his football contract, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation agency could end up representing Smith at a minimum for marketing. Fueling the potential connection is a photo Smith posted on Instagram of himself with Jay-Z.
There’s an element of risk involved for Jay-Z. Since he’s not certified by the NFLPA to represent players for the purposes of negotiating football contracts, he can have no role in recruiting players to hire Roc Nation to negotiate their football contracts. So if Smith hires Roc Nation for both marketing and football representation, plenty of other agents will cry foul regarding Jay-Z’s perceived role as the closer.
As a result, the best outcome for Jay-Z would be to sign Smith to Roc Nation for marketing purposes, and then to have Smith hire a different firm to handle the football contract. That would go a long way toward dispelling the idea that Jay-Z is acting as a runner for his own firm in violation of NFLPA rules.
The question then becomes whether one of the other firms currently competing to negotiate Smith’s football contracts would be willing to handle the football side of things only, and to defer to Jay-Z on the marketing side. That approach could mean Jay-Z would be running the show, with Smith at a minimum seeking Jay-Z’s advice before making any moves from a football standpoint.