Ravens rookie safety Matt Elam was the only player selected in this year’s NFL draft without first hiring an agent. Now he plans to be the only one of those players to sign his contract without first hiring an agent.
Elam, whom the Ravens took with their first-round pick, doesn’t plan to hire an agent and will negotiate his own rookie contract, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Elam is the only one of the Ravens’ draft picks who hasn’t signed yet.
Although it’s rare for a player not to hire an agent, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement makes agents a lot less important than they used to be for rookies. The CBA dictates that Elam will get a four-year, $6.767 million contract with a $3.301 million signing bonus. If Elam were to pay the maximum allowable commission of 3 percent of that to an agent, he’d be giving up $203,010. So he’ll save a nice chunk of change by declining to hire an agent.
That is, he’ll save a nice chunk of change if he doesn’t do anything foolish and sign a contract that has clauses he doesn’t understand, costing him the ability to earn all the money he’s entitled to earn. That’s always a risk, and it’s the reason most players are willing to hand over a significant commission to an agent even if there really isn’t any negotiation to be done at all: Even players who sign the franchise tag or a restricted free agent tender, contracts that don’t leave any room for negotiation, usually prefer to pay an agent look things over before signing.
Still, the players’ union should be able to give Elam basic information about contract terms, and Elam is also getting advice from his older brother, Abram Elam, who has signed contracts with the Dolphins, Cowboys, Jets, Browns and Chiefs during his career as an NFL safety. Elam may some day decide to hire an agent on a future NFL contract, but on his first contract he’ll probably be fine without one.