NFLPA drops standard fee on representation agreement

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In March, when the NFL Players Association’s leadership gathered in Hawaii for an annual meeting, agents on the mainland sweated out a possible drop in agent fees. Common sense prevailed, with the players who run the union deciding to keep the fee at three percent.

But the union is nevertheless taking action to undermine the three-percent fee. According to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal, new Standard Representation Agreements include a default fee of 1.5 percent. This compels agents to negotiate the fee percentage upward, if they want the maximum of three percent.

“The ‘new’ form will change in this way: It will have some wording that will say that, unless agreed upon, the default language will be 1.5 percent,” NFLPA president Eric Winston told Mullen via email. “So basically the agent and player will both have to sign off on any fee change from the 1.5 percent. The new form will still have the boxes the old form had. The new form will just make it specific to each SRA that the fee has to be agreed upon.”

Some agents see it as a step toward cutting the maximum fee in half.

“They can say what they want, but at the end of the day, it’s implicit that the union believes the fee should be 1.5 percent,” an unnamed veteran NFL agent told Mullen.

Mullen explains that the prior SRA contained multiple boxes for the free: 1 percent, 1.5 percent, 2 percent, 2.5 percent, 3 percent, and “other.”

One agent wasn’t bothered by the move, viewing the fee glass as half full (literally, it is).

“As long as we don’t have to lower the fees, what you put on the SRA . . . . I don’t have a lot of anxiety over that. If that is the compromise for them not to lower the fees, then, I’m happy about it,” an unnamed agent told Mullen.

The NFLPA should tread lightly in this area, frankly. At a certain point, agent fees become sufficiently low to force the best agents into other lines of work, especially since the maximum fees are lower in the other major sports.

“If that becomes the standard, what agent in his right mind would choose football to represent, instead of baseball, which has totally guaranteed contracts where you can charge 5 percent, or basketball, with guaranteed contracts where you could charge 4 percent?” an unnamed agent told Mullen.

The move comes in the wake of tackle Russell Okung’s much-hyped decision to represent himself in free agency. And the end result was a shamefully bad contract with the Broncos, who surely persuaded Okung that he was driving a hard bargain when in reality he negotiated one of the worst veteran deals of all time.

13 responses to “NFLPA drops standard fee on representation agreement

  1. God forbid they have to compete and let the customer decide what he’s willing to pay them for their services based on their history and product.

  2. “At a certain point, agent fees become sufficiently low to force the best agents into other lines of work, especially since the maximum fees are lower in the other major sports.”

    OR, the other player’s unions realize that the NFLPA is looking out for the best interest of their members and follow suit. You better bet the other major sports are taking notice.

  3. I want to know how the Broncos managed to keep a straight face while negotiating with Okung. Did they periodically excuse themselves so they could exit the room and burst out in uncontrollable laughter?

    Okung’s deal appears to be, literally, ROTFL bad for him.

    Having said that, people should be asking Elway et al. “Have you no shame, sir?” Contracts like Okung’s embarrass not just the player, but the entire league.

  4. Okung and players like him need trustworthy, professional representation. I charge only 1.5% of 300%, and also promise a guaranteed base of up to $125 million. Call me!

  5. How long before players salaries increased to the level they are now has the 3% fee been in effect? Attorney’s want 3% no matter how high salaries go? Get real!

  6. If the Okung deal was so bad, where were the other offers? Is it possible that his deal was what the market would bear for a guy coming off major shoulder surgery?

  7. Yes but Okung doesn’t have to pay that 3% so he has that going for him

    Seriously though that deal makes Elway look bad, and as a result players with other options would steer clear of Denver so as not to be taken advantage of

  8. Not sure I understand everyone ragging on Okung. First off there was $1 million dollar workout bonus which is essentially a signing bonus. So as long as he got out of bed every day he received it. His $2million year 1 salary is essentially guaranteed because if he were to go in ir he’d still receive it. The only way he loses year 1 is if he were to get injured in preseason and miss out on his roster bonus. The guy is clearly good enough not to get cut for performance in the preseason. As for the rest of the deal it’s exactly the put up or shut up kind of contract you all claim to want players to take. If he starts he gets 12 million a year, which is above market, if he doesn’t perform hell get cut and move on somewhere else. I like a player who will sing for his supper. Not looking for guaranteed money then spend 4 years on IR with hang nails.

  9. So the agents are upset they don’t get basically free money for sitting on their azz in an air conditioned office? Try playing the game and risking long term injury!

  10. Who in there right mind? Um everyone. There an abundance of very very smart people in this world who would gladly take 1% of 5 million a year. Let alones 1.5. Especially considering the amount of work you have to put in to get and the celebrity that comes with it. Plus the fact that you would have multiple clients. There are not enough pro athletes in the world to use up all the qualified people who would be interested in the job.

    Im not saying the skill level of the agents would replace them right away but it wouldnt take long to get there. How many college kids get degrees in fields that translate well to being a sports and cant find jobs? Even if that still wouldnt make up for the skill difference. You would have kids just going into college saying ” look there are real job openings in the nfl for agents where i can make upwards of a half a million a year, let me see what classes i have to take to become a great sports agent”.

    Heck forget college kids, what about people like me? If all the agents walked out and no one wanted to work for that much money, guess what I would be enrolling my self in the same course as those kids. I wouldnt be the only one either. Hundreds of people would be lining up for a career in sports.

    I mean most people make less then 50k a year. A lot of them are really gifted people. You dont think they would jump at a chance to make even that much doing a job they love? Get out of here.

    There is absolutely zero chance that the NFLPA will ever run out of qualified people willing to do the job. Even if they changed it from 1.5% to a flat 100k a year max.

    Posts like this real make you wonder what world people in the media think they live in.

  11. Who in there right mind? Um everyone. There an abundance of very very smart people in this world who would gladly take 1% of 5 million a year. Let alones 1.5. Especially considering the amount of work you have to put in to get and the celebrity that comes with it. Plus the fact that you would have multiple clients. There are not enough pro athletes in the world to use up all the qualified people who would be interested in the job.

    Im not saying the skill level of the agents would replace them right away but it wouldnt take long to get there. How many college kids get degrees in fields that translate well to being a sports and cant find jobs? Even if that still wouldnt make up for the skill difference. You would have kids just going into college saying ” look there are real job openings in the nfl for agents where i can make upwards of a half a million a year, let me see what classes i have to take to become a great sports agent”.

    Heck forget college kids, what about people like me? If all the agents walked out and no one wanted to work for that much money, guess what I would be enrolling my self in the same course as those kids. I wouldnt be the only one either. Hundreds of people would be lining up for a career in sports.

    I mean most people make less then 50k a year. A lot of them are really gifted people. You dont think they would jump at a chance to make even that much doing a job they love? Get out of here.

    There is absolutely zero chance that the NFLPA will ever run out of qualified people willing to do the job. Even if they changed it from 1.5% to a flat 100k a year max .

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