Jay-Z takes clear risk in signing Geno Smith

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Last month, the NFLPA gave Jay-Z a pass regarding his involvement in CAA’s recruitment of Giants receiver Victor Cruz, attributing any influence Jay-Z may have exercised to his longstanding friendship with Cruz (which likely didn’t date back to his days as an unknown wideout at UMass).

This month, Jay-Z has put the PA in a slightly more complex pickle.

The entertainment mogul’s 100th problem arises from a change made by the union in 2012 to the rules regarding “runners.”  Essentially, the NFLPA has banned them, allowing only certified NFLPA agents to be recruit potential clients.  Since Jay-Z isn’t a certified NFLPA agent, he can’t be involved in recruiting a player to sign with an agent for the purposes of handling the player’s NFL contract.

Despite the existence of a business relationship between Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and CAA, CAA wasn’t one of the agencies in the running to represent Jets quarterback Geno Smith.  Instead, Roc Nation hired Kim Miale, a largely (if not completely) unknown NFLPA-certified agent, whom Smith has now hired to represent him.

She represents no active NFL players.  Except for Geno Smith.

So which person did Smith really choose?  Miale, or Jay-Z?  Smith said that Jay-Z played “not that big of a role” in the decision, but Smith based the decision on “being in New York from a standpoint of what they can do in the city, the connections that they have, I think it’s a good move.”

So who’s the “they”?  Miale, or the guy with whom Smith was hanging out last week?

In past posts, we’ve chalked up much of the complaining about Jay-Z from other agents to run-of-the-mill professional jealously.  But that was before Jay-Z embarked on a strategy that seems to brazenly violate the applicable rules.  Under this precedent, any actor, musician, or other celebrity can, in lieu of demonstrating the credentials to become an NFLPA-certified agent, launch a firm, hire an unknown agent, and represent players without technically “representing” them.

As one agent said in response to today’s developments, “Maybe I need to hire P. Diddy in order to get clients.”

The wiser move for Jay-Z would have been to steer Smith to another firm (like Priority Sports) for his contract, and to sign Smith for off-field endorsements.  While some agents may have scoffed at the idea of letting Jay-Z essentially run the show, eventually some agent who actually has had, you know, active NFL clients would have accepted the assignment.

It’s unknown whether the NFLPA will challenge the situation.  While it will be easier for Jay-Z to tiptoe around the potential recruitment issue if the players are hiring Roc Nation for off-field opportunities and CAA for their contracts, it becomes much harder to pass the smell test when the actual agent is a warm body with a license to negotiate clients, and the clients believe that they’re actually hiring Jay-Z.

When everyone else believes it, too, it becomes even more of a dilemma for the union.

35 responses to “Jay-Z takes clear risk in signing Geno Smith

  1. Who cares? They’re a perfect match for each other. Jay-Z will be a bust of an agent and Geno Smith will be a bust of a player. It’s a match made in heaven, just let it alone.

  2. Shows how smart Geno Smith is. He’s allowing himself to be a guinea pig for Jay-Z’s foray into signing NFL players to his agency. This situation could blow up in Smith’s face and pretty much is the opposite kind of attention he should be attracting to himself right now.

  3. fumblenuts says:
    May 22, 2013 3:23 PM
    I wouldn’t let that dude run my kid’s lemonade stand….

    And that’s why your kid would be unemployed while Jay-Z lemonade would be worth millions.

  4. With the people Jay Z runs with the law does not pertain. We can all be sure Jay Z didn’t have a brush with the IRS last year.

    How long before our President has a comment about Agents and the NFL? My guess is he will be on Jay Z’s side.

    Stinky, very smelly

  5. We need Bud Grant says:
    May 22, 2013 3:15 PM
    Who cares? They’re a perfect match for each other. Jay-Z will be a bust of an agent and Geno Smith will be a bust of a player. It’s a match made in heaven, just let it alone.


    Geno could be a bust. What in Jay-Z’s career that makes you think he’ll be a bust as an agent?

  6. LOL nygiantstones Are you his father? You and everyone else will do everything you can to make sure everything that happens to that kid and everything this kid does fit into this obviously false, tabloid-inspired narrative. He doesn’t deserve it. Period. He was a good kid and a good player who’s had his psyche skewered by unrelenting lies. NO ONE at WVU knew that kid to be anything else but humble and hard working until three months before the draft. I can’t wait to watch him embarrass the leeches who attacked him on a personal level for petty temporary gain. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have people who watch football for a living (If that was too subtle it was meant to be an insult because their lives are a waste) call you everything but a worthless POS. Half the dudes drafted in the first round don’t even become regular, full-time starters which means NO ONE in the draft should ever be called a bust before he gets a chance to play because these moronic writers and talking heads literally have no clue and the NFL scouts don’t have much of one.

  7. Jay-Z may be breaking the spirit of the law, but come on. What does being certified an NFL Agent really mean? would Jay-Z learn some stuff that he didn’t know by becoming certified? will he be incompetent in negotiating contracts? Given how much I have read on this website about how the regulations of agents is a joke, this is less than a deal. If someone thinks it is a deal, then change the rules about being an agent.

  8. It would be hard to imagine that an individual as successful as Jay-Z would not have hid his team of attorney review the particular rules and regs being cited in this article. Therefore, I am sure it is all technically above board.

    As to the notion of other agents using entertainers to be affiliated to them to assist with “off the field” activities”, that will show after Roc Nation proves to be a success.

  9. All rookie contracts are slotted what is there to negotiate? All you do is grab lasts years contracts before and after your slot. Add the new % others are getting and change the names.

  10. Well what is the rule to have any kind of role in recruiting? Geno just confirmed that Jay Z played a role by declaring it wasn’t much of a role, but that substantiates that Jay Z contributed to making this happen.

    Of course Jay Z could avoid legal problems if Smith declares that he was lying in that quote, or was misquoted, or didn’t really mean what he said.

  11. Probably sold Geno Smith that he would make him a “brand”. Since where you are picked ties into as a rookie as to your contract I would think you would want somone who has experience in negotiating NFL contracts making sure you had the best deal. I will never forget how bad and cold he looked in the “Pinstripe Bowl” and thinking then he will be a bust.

  12. Isn’t the NFLPA supposed to represent the best interests of the players? How did they open the door to these kinds of shenanigans? Of course players are going to be attracted to a celebrity “agent” like Jay-Z, even if he’s not the best person to represent their interests. He has proved himself to be a talented business mogul. That’s why I’m not surprised he’d start latching onto NFL players and helping himself to a piece of the sports pie. But being able to attract money to his own bank account doesn’t mean he’s going to secure the best possible contract for players. That requires someone skilled in sports negotiations. What does Jay-Z care if Smith’s contract has long-range problems? He’ll still pocket his cut up front.

  13. If Jay-Z is smart enough to go from being a small-time recording artist in New York City to being a self-made billionaire who has experience in major sports franchise ownership, I am pretty sure he can make something out of sports agency representation. With all respect to your kids and their lemonade stands, this guy likely has a lot more business experience than any of us.

  14. I’m not a Jay-Z fan and really hate his music but the guy has made some very good business decisions. I’m in the wait and see mode.

  15. Are you bored of Rex “the Guaranteer” Ryan and Mark “Buttfumble” Sanchez?

    The circus is back in town, with some brand-new clowns! Behold, Dr. Super Ego and the Incredible Bust!

  16. Now if he signs lights it up makes and makes big bucks from endorsements…All of these haters wont come back with “I was obviously wrong” Im not a Jet fan but just because the dude made this decision he is getting blasted for it??? Im pulling for the kid now bigtime. I hope he uses all of this hate as motivation except when he plays the Bengals.. 🙂 Go Get em Geno…

  17. This is so dumb, the majority of you have no idea what you are freaking out about. Geno Smith will not be a bust because, he was selected #39 overall not #3 overall, #2 overall or #1 overall so stop comparing him to busts because he won’t even be in that category if he sucks.

    And do all of you have a problem with Victor Cruz signing with this agency? I don’t see you guys talking about how much of a diva Cruz is.

    by the way guys keep hating, it’ll be way better when he proves you wrong anyway.

  18. I hate to say it but it is a brilliant idea. Joe Camel can take 2% and give the otherwise unknown actually qualified person one percent. 1% from his clients is better than 3% of zero clients. The agent makes a name leaves and another inexperience agent with qualifications comes in. Everyone wins except the clients and Joe Camel becomes a highly paid jock sniffer.

  19. This kid has done NOTHING wrong and yet all these people have an opinion. WHY!?

    Mad your team didnt sign him? Mad he went to college at WVU instead of your school? Let the kid live!

    Signing with Jay-Z probably just gives Geno more endorsements up front. All rookie contracts are pre-set now so why does it matter who he signs with for his rookie deal?? HATERS

  20. this is funny

    the jets get rid of one huge distraction that was tebo and bring in an even bigger one with Geno “I shoulda been the #1 pick” Smith, who is now represented by the biggest ego in music.

    Love It!

    Oh yeah that crazy train keeps right on rollin’ in Florham Park lol

  21. Lets be honest. Jay-Z isn’t a businessman. Jay-Z is a business, man!

    I’m shocked at the haters. Jay-Z is about a successful entrepreneur as there is. If rather see a new face like Jay-Z in the game instead of scum like Drew Rosenhaus and Scott Boras.

  22. Only problem with your biased – “because you employ the agency that he fired” view on the rules is the fact that he owns the company he wasnt hired by anyone

  23. I bet Jay-Z knows how to work a fax machine and if he can do that I know at least one NFLPA agent he is better than!

  24. The jets are such numbskulls aint they? They get rid of the Tebow-side-show and turn right around and draft the Geno Smith side show. Ha Ha. Glad i’m not a Jets fan. Geno is a me me me me give me a bunch of money guy yet he will NEVER produce a championship. NEVER. And he hires the Jay-Z side show to boot. What a joke of a franchise! Keep on losin boys. Geaux Saints!

  25. NFL -WWE …. It’s all about entertainment now…. Who cares about integrity of the game…. It’s all about lining up the rubes to handover their cash…. It’s only rock and roll and I like it… Lol

  26. Sure, let a mega-rich rapper of slightly less than average intelligence manage your career. LOL

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