CAA factor looms over Peyton’s next destination


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.

69 responses to “CAA factor looms over Peyton’s next destination

  1. Blame the team for sucking so bad. They win one more game, he’s still a Colt. His teammates let him down. No wonder Manning was so jacked when they were winning late in the season.

  2. Well now that we have covered this Manning issue from every possible angle, I next want to know what color bathroom tissue is used in the CAA central office. I am sure there’s a lot to written about that and its effect the negotiating process.

  3. Does anyone honestly think that Peyton is going to let an agent dictate where he plays? It is of absolutely no concern to him whether or not other CAA clients get to hold onto their jobs. These “league insiders” get crazier by the day. I’m all for anonymous sources, but the way they’re overused in the sports world is comical.

  4. Hello, CAA, how can I help you?

    My name is Tavaris Jackson, and I play quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. I want to change agents to CAA.

    Yes, Mr. Jackson… uh, well, we’ll send you out a questionairre and you can send your application back to us.

    Application??? I need you to represent me, today!

    Well, uh, we aren’t looking for any new backup QB’s right now.

    Backup??? I’m the starter!

    OK, if you insist… please hold.


  5. Stop all the hypotheticals and guessing.

    I keep saying over and over that Manning wants to go to a team that is a QB away from contending.

    That team is Kansas City. Tom Condon and Ken Kremer are ex-Chiefs and still have great relations with the organization and community.

    A healthy Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki, Dwayne Bowe, and (maybe Reggie Wayne?) and that offense will produce points.
    An agreesive , underrated top 10 defense led bt Romeo Crennell with Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, and the return of Eric Berry and that defense will produce.

    Mark it down folks, Manning is going to K.C. and as long as he is healthy, they become my AFC favorites to go to New Orleans.

  6. Peyton will go to the team that is the best fit. To think he would have second thoughts, or let his Agent steer him away from a team is crazy. Has Peyton Manning took a back seat to anyone?

    CAA will look at the pay day and let him go where he wants to. If he wanted to go to SF, and they said they did not want him to, he might leave. Who do you think they would rather lose, Manning or Smith?

    I want Manning to come to Seattle, I think he would make us a contender for the SB. I am scared he will go to SF and do the same there. Would you rather have Manning or Smith behind center if you were a 9er’s Fan?

  7. No disrespect to your theory here but the amount of money that Manning would bring in via commission fees would trump any other business relationship.

  8. But wouldn’t CAA also benefit when Alex Smith signs a new contract with a new team? I would imagine they would get their piece of the new signing bonus and new longer contract too which is new found money to them. CAA is going to get paid either way!

  9. While I agree in principle an agent that became known for protecting other clients before he fought for the rights of any particular client likely wouldnt find himself with very many new clients.

    I really think that this is a non-issue. If the 49ers had interest that wasnt passed on to Payton it would get back to him and it would quickly spread through the industry.

  10. This is a total nonfactor except in the minds of the agents themselves.

    If team X calls up CAA and makes an offer even though team X has a starting QB represented by CAA, and CAA doesnt tell Manning about the offer to protect the QB already on the roster. Then Manning will be parting ways with more than just the Colts this offseason.

    Anybody that calls in an offer will get their offer presented to Manning without a doubt. The team isnt going to care about CAA. Manning isnt going to care about CAA. CAA is just a middle man in this process.

  11. Houston would by far be the most logical landing spot for Manning. Not most likely, but most logical. They are ready to win now – and that’ll be his prerequisite. But for that to happen, Texans would have to be ready to move on from Schaub.

  12. Also, Manning does not want to go to the NFC. He stills wants to face off against Brady.

    No other team in the AFC is as ready to contend as KC.

    Miami will not surpass New England, even with Manning, so he will not go there.

    The Jets have Rex Ryan and Manning has too much class to associate himself with that.

    The Texans will stick with Schaub.

    The Titans are not getting him.

    Oakland……not a chance.

    The AFC West will be dominated by Kansas City with Manning at QB, then all he has to do is have another duel with Brady.

  13. NFL Network’s Marshall Faulk, who has inside insite to Manning because of teammates, makes the point that NO NFC team will be a landing place. Archie does not want the brothers knocking the other out of SB contention.
    So that leaves Miami or Denver. No Jets due to same town.

  14. Peyton has made CAA more money last year than all of the aforementioned guys have in the past 3 years. Trust me CAA hardly cares if Josh Freeman has to sit because TB just signed Peyton to a 4 year $80m contract.

  15. h3min1230 says:
    Mar 7, 2012 2:34 PM
    Am I the only one who thinks that girl to the right is friggin’ HOT!

    Well, click on her, she’s only 3.5 miles away. Just don’t tell your Mom I told you to.

  16. This is stupid. It basically says that any agent has the Agency’s interest over his own clients, and ergo his own paycheck.

    I doubt that is the case. Why would any player sign with a mega-agency then? There would always be a conflict of interest.

  17. It seems to me, players should prefer smaller agencies that won’t attempt to limit the teams that they pursue or steer them away from teams they may want to play for.

    Then again, like Flo said, he’s Peyton Friggin’ Manning. He’ll go where he wants. Lesser players represented by CAA won’t have that clout though.

  18. Great you listed 1 team that remotely might be linked as his destination. Riveting reporting that Peyton won’t go to the Cowboys, Bucs, Jaguars, or Bills What about the Giants?

    God would strike him down if he dared talk to the Broncos and upset the savior Tim Christ or as his fans call him Jesus Tebow.

    Awesome blurb captain obvious.

  19. Others have been reporting on this angle as well. I can’t see that it will be a factor, but it is potentially a huge conflict of interest. All of these players flocking to whoever is perceived as the “hot agent” is probably not a good idea for some of them.

    As far as who CAA might choose if it came down to representing the best interests of Peyton Manning versus some of the others mentioned, it might not be so clear-cut to choose Manning as some folks might think. For example, if you had to choose as an agent, who would you pick if you had to pick between Manning towards the end of his career, and say, Tebow at the beginning of his career?

  20. Considering no team knows what the salary cap is yet.. there may only be a few teams that can take on Manning and a contract that he is going to want. For teams that may havee only a certain amount of cap room and almost every team still has UFA and RFA plus planning on F/A at some other positions… I believe thierr will only be a couple of teams that can take in his salary demands and realistically sign him..

  21. This just in the ocean contains water….Peyton manning can read a play book…..ok pay me….I stated facts that could pass as a story on here.

  22. Bottom line: Peyton Manning is bigger than the CAA. They will not have any say over where he goes. If a team is interested in him, and he is interested in them, he’s going there. It doesn’t matter what the CAA thinks.

    This is Peyton Manning we’re talking about, not Bubby Brister!

  23. Peyton spent his entire NFL career in a Dome. It’d be hard for me to believe a man who is up in age as he is would want to add the elements to an already toughening situation for him with age and injury.

    What Dome team could make a play for him? I realize these three aren’t popular picks for where he might go, but they’re dome teams that could be in the market for a QB.

    1) Minnesota…is there a team that loves old QB’s more than them?

    2) New Orleans…if they can’t work something out with a tagged Drew Brees, and Peyton would be “home” where daddy played.

    3) Texans…if somehow Schaub wasn’t able to return to form after his injury.

    4) Cardinals…unlikely after Kolb acquisition and play of Skelton.

    Detroit, Atlanta and the Rams aren’t making any changes at QB.

  24. Manning will go wherever he wants, assuming that team wants him. His agent’s company isn’t going to make a difference. What a silly idea.

  25. Agree with some of the posts above. Washington can throw everything they want at Manning, but there’s no way he’s going to be a Redskin. Zero.

  26. Of all the things you could write about today… this assenine theory is what you come up with?

    Peyton Manning doesn’t take orders from CAA.

  27. This is just wrong, and as someone who is constantly parading around his credentials as a former attorney, you should know better. Contracts that athletes sign with their agents creates an agent-client relationship that requires, by law, that the agent represent the best interest of the client.

    If a conflict exists with one particular agent and two of his clients, that agent must recuse himself rather than work to the best interest of one of his client’s rather than the other. However, another agent in the agency can take up representation, with the client’s permission.

    Now, that’s the law. Of course, reality is a bit more nuanced and shady, and I’m sure agents will try to come up with a best case scenario that benefits all CAA clients. But if a client’s best interests are served by going to Team X, that agent will be compelled to represent those interests.

  28. pretty sure that CAA works for Peyton and not the other way around. if they cause any problems with him he could always just tell them to take a hike.

  29. Oh, and by the way, CAA’s founder, Tom Condon, is a former Chiefs player. I think I’ll order up my KC Chiefs Manning jersey this afternoon.

  30. Its only 1 team that he won’t have to face his brother that has a deffense that has playmakers and he will be the piece they need for a superbowl JETS baby

  31. Right… because on the (lucrative) eve of the signing of the most anticipated FA in the history of the NFL, the impression CAA wants to convey to their client is that they aren’t solely concerned with *his* best interests.

    They couldn’t care less. So Peyton bumps another client. Guess what? They can tell that guy, “Sorry, it was Peyton’s decision,” and no one will ever be the wiser. Then they get to go out and negotiate a new contract for that bumped player, and they’re making money again.


  32. None of these teams are ever mentioned as possible destinations. This is a prime example of putting the journalistic cart before the horse. Story first, then angle. This flips that equation.

  33. He will never be as good as he was, the weight of his head took a toll on his neck. Plus, he will not be able to get over Eli being better than him in the big games.

  34. He’s going to Miami. Bush will be his Faulk. Marshall will be his Harrison. Mark it down.

  35. 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.
    If he wants to go to San Francisco, he’s going to San Francisco, regardless of what it means for Alex Smith.
    kind of contradictory. but it’s not significant. he is gonna play where he wants to play out of the teams pursuing him. he will be conducting the interviews, not the teams. he has his money. all he wants is to play football and the CAA won’t force him to settle for playing somewhere that he really doesn’t want to be.

  36. Hey…is this the same CAA (Creative Artists Agency) that handles movie stars, TV stars, recording stars? Oh ok, then it could NEVER be about the money.


  37. Reggie Wayne & Manning to the Vikings with a healthy Adrian it would be an awsome offense!

    Just tweek the Defense with a few free agents (KC cornerback) and draft the left gaurd from USC or top Runningback from Alabama( if AD is not healthy). with their first round pick.

    Then go defense with picks 2 to 4 all cornerbacks & DE /DT

    rebuilt in a year…

  38. Most of the the starting quarterbacks in the league are CAA clients, Manning coming back will just mean they shuffle around a bit. Peyton still calls the shots, no worries about that. The rest of the clients take what is left, in descending order according to their talent level.

  39. This is silly.

    Don’t you realize that CAA gets a cut of everything Manning does, including endorsements.

    He is a brand, and CAA will do everything they can to maximize his value. If they think that means San Fran, you think they will let the comparative pittance they will make from Smith’s new deal get in the way of growing Manning’s brand?

    Besides, do you really think CAA controls Manning? If Manning said to, they would cut Smith as a client altogether.

    CAA didn’t become the powerhouse agency they are by making their superstars unhappy.

  40. There’s only one franchise with a consistent history of significantly overpaying for veterans after they are past their prime so… HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!

    In all seriousness though, Peyton is going to retire in retirees paradise… Miami.

  41. per Steven A Smith


    Just said on 1050 espn ny that he is leaning towards the Jets for what it’s worth.!/stephenasmith…30563365748736

    I’m not starting anything. I said NFL REPORTERS told me Peyton wants the Jets more than Jets want him. That’s all I said.

  42. This whole article is 100% BS. Do you mean to tell me that if a team offers Manning a contract, the agent will not give that contract to Manning to protect one of the agents other clients??

    I don’t believe that for a second. That would be a gross violation of an agent’s fiduciary responsibility. It would open the whole agency to lawsuits and destroy its reputation…

    So maybe these things are considered by lawyers, but I don’t believe in the cutthroat agent world that any agent would cheat like that.

  43. jeffchadwick says:
    Mar 7, 2012 3:02 PM
    Agree with some of the posts above. Washington can throw everything they want at Manning, but there’s no way he’s going to be a Redskin. Zero.
    This guy must know something no one else knows. Tell us Jeff, where is Peyton going?
    Probably a loser cowgirl fan living in DC, MD, or VA.

  44. Manning to MIA for 5-7 mil (performance bonuses), sign Wayne for 3-5 mil, sign Moss for less and draft Richardson with the #8 (all doable with their 12 mil cap space); Pats respond by signing Mario Williams and Mike Wallace. NE vs. MIA twice a year? Not bad football….

  45. thatobnoxiousguy says:
    Mar 7, 2012 2:42 PM

    That team is Kansas City.


    And that’s the problem. It’s Kansas City.

    1. Miami
    2. Arizona
    3. Jacksonville

    A guy with his injury will stay away from the cold as much as possible. Doesnt matter how supposedly close your team is.

  46. Wait, so CAA makes this call?

    What if the Niners want Manning? CAA won’t let him go there? It only matters what CAA and Manning want?

    Uh … not likely.

  47. Texans are a terrible fit. If they don’t have the $ to devote to former #1 pick Mario Williams, how do you figure they have it for Manning? Not to mention cutting Schaub loose and still paying something on his contract. You’d be giving up a younger QB with plenty of yrs left for a guy with 2 tops. Completely irrational thought.

    Not the Cheifs either. You have an injury prone #1 rb, #1wr, #1te and are more than a qb away from winning. And again, willing to cut Cassel loose and eat that contract? Nobody will trade for that guy, sorry. In a weak division, it’s easy to look like a great team isn’t it? Play in the AFC North then tell me how great they are.
    Nodody wants to go to Seattle. And the Skins need not just a qb, but a whole offense.

    The BEST fit is Zona. Forget the Eli issue (just bc they are both NFC doesnt mean they’d both be in the NFCC) They have the dome, Fitz, and a weak(er) division. If not Zona, then I can see no other spot than Miami.

  48. “CAA didn’t become the powerhouse agency they are by making their superstars unhappy.”

    Correct. They did, however, make their money and obtain their power to packaging movies together and demanding a cut of the gross based on the number of relevant players represented by CAA.

    For example, Jurrasic Park. The cast, the director, the author of the book, and the screenwriter all were CAA clients, and so any studio that wanted to release this high powered offense of a film, would have to give CAA a percentage of the take.

    I know this because I worked in the CAA mailroom at the time. I was once sent with a check to deposit. The money was for the services of one of these top players in the movie, and the total was over $10,000,000.

    Hollywood is a crazy place.

  49. blancodiablo says:
    Mar 7, 2012 3:46 PM
    thatobnoxiousguy says:
    Mar 7, 2012 2:42 PM

    That team is Kansas City.


    And that’s the problem. It’s Kansas City.

    1. Miami
    2. Arizona
    3. Jacksonville

    A guy with his injury will stay away from the cold as much as possible. Doesnt matter how supposedly close your team is.

    Kansas City isn’t exactly Green Bay.

  50. You are one of the best commentators on pro football, but you’re out of your depth in the CAA comments. I’ve worked with CAA going back to the Ovitz days. There is no way CAA would ever steer Manning away from an NFL team with CAA clients.

    Agents, by law, must represent the individual. Collusion with other agents that harms one of the clients can open up the agency and individual agents to lawsuits. They can lose their license (yes, talent agents are licensed) and be permanently barred by the NFL. Just the threat of a lawsuit can ruin an agent. No agent lives off just one client. There just aren’t that many teams where Manning is a fit. If some of the teams are excluded, there better be a reason the CAA agent can cite, otherwise he (its usually he) is exposed.

    Agents also come and go from CAA. If an agent is doing something shady, CAA will jettison the agent to protect its own reputation.

    Now, agents in the same agency often work together to pit clients against each other to drive up the best deal for a client. As long as neither client is financially harmed, that’s fine. CAA (as well as IMG and others) will create packages that enhance a player’s worth in ways that aren’t immediately apparent – a deal with the NY Jets might include enhanced advertising deals. But again, all clients better benefit or they can be ruined.

    In short, the CAA angle is a red herring. It doesn’t make sense to anyone who understands the business.

  51. ‘Manning to MIA for 5-7 mil (performance bonuses), sign Wayne for 3-5 mil, sign Moss for less and draft Richardson with the #8 (all doable with their 12 mil cap space); Pats respond by signing Mario Williams and Mike Wallace. NE vs. MIA twice a year? Not bad football…’

    Someone is playing too much fantasy football.

  52. Blaine Gabbert? Seriously, he has no pull. I don’t see Jacksonville going after Manning, but I think it’s entirely possible that the Broncos could trade Tebow to Jacksonville for a pick and go after Manning. Doesn’t mean it will happen, but it’s a possibility.
    Jacksonville wants to sell tickets right now and having their hometown hero as the QB would do that.

  53. I suppose that’s one way of looking at it. Another possibility, however, is that Manning’s free agency sets off a musical chairs of CAA quarterbacks in which each new contract leads to another new commission for a CAA agent. Rather than avoiding teams with CAA clients, they might actually benefit by keeping all the transactions in “the family” so to speak.

  54. surprised you weren’t able to come up with this yourself. you’re pretty good and making stuff up out of your bunghole

  55. Since when are Bowe and Charles injury prone? Bowe was suspended at the start of the ’10 season because of diuretics. Charles had a freak ACL tear. Moeaki is the only injury prone player on that list.

  56. Ravens should make a run at him. They don’t have an Elite QB and shouldn’t be in a hurry to pay that guy like one.

    Plus, it might help with their almost 30 year old Hate of the Irsays.

  57. I haven’t thought about that yet and in truth with Manning the Ravans would be in the Super Bowl.
    On a side note, pee brain kelly should be glad Manning is not finished. Other wise he would be on this site with a washed up LOSER like kellk77

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