In negotiating his own contract, Bobby Wagner got advice from Michael Jordan


Linebacker Bobby Wagner recently signed a new contract with the Seahawks. Without a traditional adviser to represent his interests, Wagner got advice from plenty of people. Including a fairly well-known basketball player.

“You have to lean on people, you have to ask people,” Wagner told reporters on Sunday. “There are certain people that I talked to. You know I’m with the Jordan Brand. It’s cool, I can talk to Mike and he can give me his advice because he owns a team. I asked his advice.

“I asked different people’s advice and how they would look or feel if a player came and try to do his deal, what are you looking for, what do you expect a player not to know, what you want him to know. You just ask that, ask these questions, try to get as much experience as possible or as much knowledge as possible and hope it turns out for the best.”

Wagner explained that his decision to handle the negotiations on his own came in large part from a desire to eliminate a third person to whom the team would criticize Wagner’s skills in order to justify offering him less.

“I didn’t want them to say all the bad things to the agent,” Wagner said. “I wanted them to say it to my face. I can take it. Especially nowadays, you have Twitter and you got somebody telling you you’re trash every day. It can’t be worse than Twitter. As long as they don’t go outside of that, we’re good, at least I could see their face. [With] Twitter, I can’t see their face.”

Helping Wagner’s cause, as one league insider explained it to PFT, is the fact that there isn’t much bad that can be said. Wagner is regarded as the best inside linebacker in the game. So the negotiation basically entailed taking C.J. Mosley‘s contract with the Jets and pumping up the annual average.

Another source explained that the negotiations essentially consisted of Wagner meeting with the team, taking breaks to calls his lawyer and other advisers, and then re-entering the room to continue the negotiations. While that was the right decision for Wagner, it’s not the right decision for every player.

When making the decision, the last reason for doing so should be avoidance of the agent’s fee, because a good agent will typically get more than the contract and his percentage (a maximum of three percent), likely putting the player ahead of the game without having to enter an arena where he may feel intimidated or inadequate. Having a knowledgeable third party will serve as protection against a team’s temptation to take advantage of a player who doesn’t understand the nuances of the process, ensuring that the right structure is used, preventing a situation where the NFL Players Association would have to approach the team to soften the terms of a grossly team-friendly contract that was negotiated directly with the player and not through an agent.

11 responses to “In negotiating his own contract, Bobby Wagner got advice from Michael Jordan

  1. Tyron Smith signed a “team friendly” deal and has still been paid millions and his family is set up for generations.

    If Melvin Gordon or Zeke offered to take a contract for 4 years for $45M guaranteed, they too would have taken a “team friendly” deal and would also be set up for generations. Holding out and scratching for every penny is just pure greed.

  2. Haven’t seen the full structure posted but it seems he did pretty well for himself. 18 million a year was unheard of for an off ball LB before Mosely got that huge 17 per year offer from the Jets.

  3. Bobby is the best in the game and deserves to get compensated as such. But he needs to send some thank you gifts to the Jets former GM and CJ Mosley their ridiculous contract.

  4. I agree with Mike Florio, for a change. for ~3%, on his third deal, let the agent do the work on this one. Yes, the Moseley deal is a starting point, but after that, the market has closed down on MLB so you don’t know what you can get, and from who.
    Again, if it was his rookie deal, sure, pay a lawyer to make sure the paperwork was on par for your slotted deal, but if you are trying to break the bank for your position, at your age………… let the agent get their scraps at ~<3.0%. IMO.

  5. Bobby Wagner: The Jets just paid CJ Mosley 17M per year.
    Seahawks: The Jets are idiots.
    All of Civilization: We agree.
    Seahawks: How ’bout we reward the best MLB in the NFL with a contract that makes sense and won’t categorize us as “Jetsy”.
    Bobby Wagner: Like
    Jets: How much for Brian Bosworth?

  6. If he asked several different people for advice, then he did not negotiate his own contract. He should pay all those people.

  7. From Sportrac:

    Bobby Wagner
    Contract- 3 years/$54,000,000
    Average Salary- $18,000,000
    Total Guarantees – $40,200,000
    Free Angent – 2023 UFA

    2019 Bonus Breakdown
    Base Salary – $10,500,000
    Signing – $1,600,000
    Roster – $937,500
    Misc – $1,000,000

    Cap Hit – $14,037,500
    Yearly Cash – $12,437,000

  8. 3 percent for agent’s fee is a lot less than what I had thought agents are allowed to charge. Asking for advice is a good thing. That is what I did in the past. I called a lot of people asking for advice when I face something new. Most of them are strangers but experts in what I am asking, for example, I would call a lot of different repair shops if I need auto repair. I listen and then think about what they tell me and pick what seems to be the best advice.

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