October 4, 2016
Picking an agent is one of the most important decisions a player seeking a professional football career can make. How you pick the agent that’s right for you should be well thought out. At the end of the process, you need to ask yourself a question – why did I pick them? That answer should be crystal clear.
The first mistake many players make is how they go through the process. When I’m talking with prospective clients, the number and quality of questions will help me determine if I want to represent them. When I represent NFL players, I enter into a relationship built on my core values of protection, advocacy and trust.
It’s important that a player interview the agent and not the other way around. Do research on agents pursuing you and determine what’s important to you. Many agents promise marketing or endorsements, gifts or loans for cars or homes. If that’s all you remember from you interview process, you are not asking the right questions.
Don’t forget, the most valuable asset for any young player is their playing contract. Make sure you have someone representing you with the knowledge and experience to negotiate such an important document.
While your friends and family members want input into picking your agent, don’t forget this is YOUR business and brand. Input from family is important but business is business and the NFL is big business. Don’t pick an agent because a teammate or friend on another team picked one.
Surround yourself with people who you can trust, but also those who have your best interest at heart. That may not always be friends or family. Entering into a business relationship with an agent is critical. You should be interviewing them, not the other way around. Make sure your core values align with your agent. That creates trust and you really need to have complete faith in a person when there’s so much money on the line. How does your agent negotiate a contract? Will your agent be there in times of crisis? What’s in it for them? Why do they want to represent you? All important questions.
I wonder if anyone in his inner circle had the strength to be his advocate and say “this is a bad business decision, don’t do it.” You need to make sure you have someone like that in your camp. A wise and experience agent and lawyer might be what you need most. Before you pick an agent, be sure you ask.
If you haven’t seen the ESPN documentary “Broke”, before picking an agent you should.
My professional core principles are: Protection, Advocacy and Trust. If you or someone you know needs representation, please call me.
Jill McBride Baxter