Baker Mayfield may go without an agent

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At a time when all the top incoming rookies are picking their agents, former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield’s choice may be none of the above.

Via Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Daily, the Heisman winner currently is trying to decide whether to hire an agent, and he possibly won’t.

The argument against hiring an agent is simple: Thanks to the rookie wage scale, contracts for incoming players basically negotiate themselves. (Also, agent fees are no longer tax-deductible.)

The argument in favor of hiring an agent is more complex. A good agent can impact a rookie’s career in numerous ways. (Also, for guys taken in round one, there are certain nuances and hot spots in the draft order relevant to offset language, guaranteed pay, and other structural devices.)

First, a good agent will get the rookie the best possible pre-draft training, ensuring that the player is ready for the various events of the Underwear Olympics and the pre-draft workouts that follow. (A good agent also covers those expenses.)

Second, a good agent will advise the player on whether to participate in the Senior Bowl (Mayfield already has decided to do it), whether and to what extent to engage in Scouting Combine activities, and whether and to what extent to engage in pre-draft team visits and private workouts. A good agent will serve as the buffer between the player and a team that may not be happy to hear that, for example, the player won’t be visiting the facility or throwing privately for its coaching staff.

Third, a good agent will study rosters and depth charts and coaching staffs and schemes, identifying the best destination for the player’s short-term and long-term interests and embarking on a plan to get him there.

Fourth, a good agent will sell, sell, sell his client, working scouts, coaches, owners, and media to make the players as desirable as possible, because the higher he’s drafted the more money he makes.

Fifth, and most importantly, a good agent will land the plane between maxing out the rookie deal and laying the foundation for the most significant earning potential on and off the field. As former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen recently noted, it’s better to go lower to a good team than higher to a bad team. A good agent will thread that needle.

As to Mayfield, there’s also a risk that any type of outside-the-box approach to the pre-draft process will heighten concerns that the team that drafts him is getting more of a loose cannon than a franchise quarterback. With so many seeing Mayfield as potentially the next Johnny Manziel, there’s value in submitting to the norms and conventions of the process, soothing concerns that a first-round pick on Mayfield could be wasted.

Thus, while having no agent is better than having a bad agent, Mayfield’s overall interests would be very well served by hiring a good agent who is skilled and experienced in preparing quarterbacks for the draft, getting them drafted as early as possible, and getting them to the right team, both for the initial contract and the contracts to follow.

19 responses to “Baker Mayfield may go without an agent

  1. I agree having representation has MULTIPLE benefits. One of which is the ability to have a buffer that can provide a non-personal, less emotional perspective in negotiating process.

    That said, you gotta root for a guy that is putting his destiny in his own hands & accepting what the resulting ramifications are.

    Too many of these blue-chippers deflect responsibility & the opportunity to better oneself.

  2. .
    ” As former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen recently noted, it’s better to go lower to a good team than higher to a bad team.”


    This year’s choice is between the city that never sleeps and the ship hole that never wins.

  3. I guess we won’t really know how much rookies need an agent until someone like Mayfield goes with out one. Personally I think QBs need them even more but who knows?

  4. Wow, sounds like kickbacks are on their way from the agent community. Why do agents deserve hundreds of thousands of dollars for being and intermediary. You could just hire a lawyer by the hour and save millions

  5. Unless he plans on falling to the 2nd half of the first round or into the 2nd round he doesn’t need one. Offset language for being top 10 pick or the 1st/2nd qb off the board there is some wiggle room there but why surrender 15% of your rookie contract for a contract that is slotted?

  6. Ricky Williams didn’t go with an agent either and instead hired rapper Master P. P thought dealing with the NFL was like dealing with record companies. He thought his ghetto street knowledge would translate to success against a bunch of Ivy league educated agents (aka lawyers). He was dead wrong. Williams lost millions by signing an incentive laiden deal with little guaranteed money and was the laughing stock of the NFL. Crabtree used his bail bondsman cousin as an agent and it took 6 months to sign a deal. With Mayfield’s off the field issues and bad reputation, he should be first in line to hire an agent.

  7. You B. Crazy says:
    He thought his ghetto street knowledge would translate to success against a bunch of Ivy league educated agents (aka lawyers).


    Master P launched his career with only $10k and is worth close to $400M (that’s 4 with 8 zeros behind it!). Not bad for some “ghetto street knowledge”.

    How much you think those Ivy League lawyers he negotiated against are worth? Wanna bet they are still trying to pay off their school loans?? lol

  8. Giant red flag, you can expect his draft stock to drop. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. The agent’s commission is small potatoes in the long run where he wants to maximize the prospects of success.

  9. Keep in mind Ricky Williams was 1999 way before the 2011 rookie wage scale was revamped. To say Mayfield warming to do his own contract is a red flag that is just absurd. Erik Flowers did his. The cba pretty much took most of the thinkwork out of the rookie contracts. Unless you want to pay commissions for endorsements, access to the top training facilities, manage your circle or extend you a line of credit before you sign your deal an agent is basically useless. Don’t be surprised to see more of this in the upcoming years.

  10. He doesn’t want his draft stock to rise. He’s already considered the best QB in the draft, and apparently Dorsey loves him, so he’s likely to go to a bad team. The safest bet for him in the early rounds is probably NYG, because they’re the team mostly likely of those to be able to rebound, if they even are considering him as a pick. It’s like Rosen said…going lower to a good team is better than going high to a bad one. I think more people would prefer going Aaron Rogers than Alex Smith when it comes to career paths (no disrespect to Alex Smith).

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