Report: Cowboys have a habit of circumventing agents

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America’s Team apparently has no problem with the concept of violating America’s labor laws.

According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Media (which is a gutsy move for him since the Cowboys partially own the outlet), an unnamed agent said that the Cowboys have a reputation for trying to circumvent agents in order to deal directly with players.

Make no mistake about it: Dealing directly with players who are represented by agents violates the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and it violates applicable federal labor laws.

“He said that team is notorious for trying to go around the agent, going right to the player and getting the player to believe, hey, it’s better to be a Dallas Cowboy and take [less] money and be here,” Garafolo said of the unnamed agent, who has dealt with the Cowboys in the past. “He said in this case the difference is [Ezekiel Elliott] and even Dak [Prescott] and Amari Cooper, they’re not buying it. They’re actually listening to their representation. So he feels like maybe Jerry Jones is starting to get a little frustrated, because some of his old tricks aren’t working in this case. And certainly you can’t get that access as long as Ezekiel Elliott is not there, so I’m sure that that is part of the reason why Zeke didn’t show up in the first place, but why his camp doesn’t want him to show up, because they don’t want these mind games by Jerry and Stephen Jones to work on the player.”

Remember that quote whenever the question of whether players should represent themselves is raised by those players who love to raise it. As we’ve said many times before, owners would love nothing more than to be able to negotiate directly with all players, because that would allow the owners to pay less money to each and every player.

For some teams, it would mean putting a competitive team together while still keeping plenty of cap space, which if unused becomes raw, unadulterated, rare-guitar-and-or-piano-buying profit. For others, like the Cowboys, it means finding a way to hold a great team together and to ensure that the backups will be better than the late-round draft picks and undrafted free agents on which teams that pay market value to their core players must rely.

Having no agent becomes an invitation to be on the wrong end of a power play that ownership is well versed in executing. Indeed, the teams negotiate all the time. Most players have a maximum of two or three negotiations during their entire careers.

43 responses to “Report: Cowboys have a habit of circumventing agents

  1. Good. Agents by definition don’t give a rip about team dynamics, coaches, management or the salary cap.

    It’s natural for management to not like agents, and vice versa. I’m pretty sure the Cowboys did not invent the notion of circumventing or undermining an agent.

  2. Dallas is fine either way. They don’t have to pay Zeke. If they do he shows up and they will be in good shape. If they don’t Dallas will not be good and then it exposes Dak, who would get nowhere near 30 million on the open market, and they also get a new head coach… Either way I’m good.

  3. The owners are selfish and only care about theirs and the team’s inerests.

    Agents, on the other hand, are humanitarians doing public service work on behalf of their client, the player.

  4. Billionaires subscribing to a different set of laws than the rest of us? I’m absolutely flabbergasted.

  5. So what? Agents are lawyers and are, by definition, sketchy.
    Teams can talk to their employee any time that they want.
    I don’t see any problem with that.

  6. Salary Cap. If agent is being unreasonable and player decides to negotiate directly, what can agent do? Either shut up and take the 3 or make noise and get fired and get nothing.

  7. I get that it’s going against the CBA, but let’s not pretend that agents never screw over their own clients either.
    With the exception of the teams that are skirting the salary floor, the owners trying to get players to take less are generally trying to preserve cap space to build a team. Not to increase their own profits.

  8. why not just trade both of them. they are already in rebuilding mode and have no chance to win more than 4 games.worst secondary in a league that passes 60% of the time. see them beating the giants and redskins twice.

  9. Let’s not forget that not all agents are above board either. Some of these agents want these players to get the max because they know the larger amount will mean they get a bigger piece of that pie too.

  10. Jerry Jones is a victim of his own self-delusion and self aggrandizement cause Jerry Jones is no Bill Belichick, and he was no Jimmy Johnson.

  11. The problem Zeke does not have major endorsements
    because of the crap he pulled so the agent and Zeke need it all from the Cowboys.

  12. Not a Cowboy’s fan for there argument is pretty strong. No state income tax, and a maximum exposure for endorsements.

  13. If agents don’t acknowledge the inherent value of being a Cowboy (or other top-earning team), then they aren’t helping the situation. As the other current post about Tom Brady’s marketing value shows, there are many potential ways for players to earn lotsa dough – and the ones that last the longest may not involve their player agents.

  14. Garafolo is essentially accusing a multi billion dollar business of breaking the law, without offering up evidence or sources. His “reporting,” along with the subsequent articles that will continue to be written about his “reporting,” will no doubt lead to an NFL investigation that is surely to cost in the millions of dollars. What will happen to Garafolo is his “report” turns out to be false or bears no evidence that a crime was committed?

  15. I think that’s exactly why Zeke went to Cabo, to let his agent(s) handle it without Jerry getting in his ear.

  16. Agents need to learn they work for the player and if they want to keep representing players they need to work with the teams. There are some agents that the Cowboys work really well with and make deals with. The agents that only push for market setting value are the agents complaining.

  17. Not a Cowboy’s fan for there argument is pretty strong. No state income tax, and a maximum exposure for endorsements.

    0 0 Rate This
    Ohhh so let me so let me elaborate on cheating , team allowed to back door endorsments to make up or extend pay that is allowed by salary cap … sounds like a good way to cheat the system. NFL should investigate immediately! …. Now Dallas is doing it the Patriot way !

  18. Someone mentioned no state income tax in Texas.

    I’m honestly surprised more teams don’t use this as a negotiating tactic. For example, California has a 12.3% state income tax in the highest bracket.

    “Well, we can give you 5 years, $80M here in Texas, which is the same as 5 years, $90M in California.”

  19. Someone mentioned no state income tax in Texas.

    I’m honestly surprised more teams don’t use this as a negotiating tactic. For example, California has a 12.3% state income tax in the highest bracket.

    “Well, we can give you 5 years, $80M here in Texas, which is the same as 5 years, $90M in California.”

    0 0 Rate This

    Exactly why the NFL needs to adjust team salary cap … how’s that being equal to teams in highly taxed states , Dallas salary cap should be lowered because of this competitive advantage.

  20. The game checks are taxed at whatever state they played in (sometimes international tax for those teams that have to play out of the US each year)

  21. “Report: Cowboys have a habit of circumventing agents”

    Agents are lawyers and lawyers are a bunch of crooks. They don’t care about team management. They want money that’s it. Excuse the Jones for trying to manage a salary cap while being competitive. No state tax in Texas and you are playing for the biggest brand in the NFL and possibly ……sports world. Take the offer and let other players make their bread as well. I have lost ALL respect for Zeke. Jerry going above and beyond for him on his off field troubles and this is how Zeke repays him. Trade him. Zeke is a Diva. Dak is the one that should be holding out but isn’t. Mad respect!

  22. What’s with this “great team” stuff? What are you basing this on? 23 straight years without appearing in a Super Bowl? Repeated failure to win even one playoff game? The perennial ESPN hype?

  23. So much hatin’ on the actual talent in this little sideshow we call the NFL.

    It’s Zeke’s and by extension his agents job to maximize his career earnings. I mean, duh.

    He’s a weird little immature tool of a guy but I will choose labor over management Every. Single. Time.

    Hold out, Zeke. Cowboys will suck without you. Jerry will pay up.

    Also- interesting that NONE of their “Big 3” have signed. Methinks they ain’t buying what Jerry is selling. Good on them.

  24. I never have understood the “I am a member of a union and I am an independent contractor who can cut his own deal.” Big mistake by owners decades ago. Also don’t like that agents/players can collude all they like but teams can’t talk. Bunk.

  25. Well if this is such a “habit” then why hasn’t there been any reports filed with the league office before now..

    This “unnamed” source sounds likes Zekes agent trying to stick one to the Cowboys because his negotiation ploy is now backfiring and it behooves him to draw negative attention to the Cowboys trying to note a flaw in their negotiating strategy.

    If Zeke wants his money.. sounds like he better show up.

  26. If players didn’t have agents, they’d save 3% of their salaries. 3% of $45M is $1.35M he’d have back in his pocket.

    Throw in no state income tax and he’d really be doing well.

  27. Don’t player contracts have to signed off by the NFLPA?

    Everyone seems to know about franchise tags,restricted free agents, blah, blah…
    If they didn’t, how do they (NFLPA) know a player that’s tagged is getting the tag money?

  28. I love all the people saying that agents don’t care about team construction or the salary cap or team flexibility. You think? It’s almost like their job description is to be the team’s adversary and get the best situation for their client. And yeah, they get a piece of it. That’s called an “incentive”.

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