June 17, 2019

This email is directed at any NFLPA-certified contract advisor interested in how the NFL draft works as well as the months leading up to the draft. Note: We are not endorsed, sponsored, or otherwise affiliated with the NFLPA.
2019 Case Study: Spencer Charles
Neil's brief primer:   Spencer was a walk-on at a historically black college or university (HBCU), Morris Brown College, for one season. Though he was passionate about the game, he believed that working in the NFL was far-fetched, and he pushed through several obstacles -- including losing college credits due to MBC losing its accreditation - along the way to getting certified. Already, his experience working in the entertainment industry has given him practical knowledge on how to improve market value and brand equity for his clients. He got certified last summer.
Active NFL clients:   Valdosta State TE Jody Fortson signed with Kansas City as a UDFA after a tryout with the team.
Why did he become an agent?: " I became an agent because football was always my passion. I loved the X's and O's and dreamed of hearing my name called on draft day. As reality set in, I knew I would never hear my name called on draft day, but being an agent would give me the chance to hear my client's name on draft day. I have always loved the NFL and have dreamed about working in some capacity with the league. Being an agent has allowed my dream to come true." 
Day job:  Spencer is based in Atlanta and works as an IT project manager for Cox Enterprises. 
His take on the NFLPA exam:  "You cannot study for the NFLPA exam like you study the dictionary. The three pillars you must understand are accrued season language, credited season language, and benefit credit language. These three pillars indirectly or directly are encoded in 60 to 75 percent of the exam. For potential agents, create an organized outline, using the  ITL study guide of the material on the exam. When I would get stumped on questions, all I would do is Control-F on my outline to help me out."
Hardest part of being an agent:  "There is not a book on 'how to be an agent for dummies.' Unless you have family ties in the industry, work for an agency, or have a potential first-round pick as a cousin, you have to build relationships with scouts, find athletes, and obtain their contact information. You have to really want to be an agent. There is no manual or blueprint." 
He felt like he'd had a successful first year as a contract advisor when:  ". . . I had six clients and none of them got drafted, (but) I got two players on mini-camp tryouts, one of them being Jody Fortson. Fortson was initially cut by the Chiefs. I called and begged around the league with eight teams to sign Fortson, and 48 hours later, the Chiefs ended up signing him to a UDFA contract. That was the moment I felt that I had a successful first year."
Lesson he learned that he wished he'd known last summer:  "Developing a funding plan. When people think of agents, they picture Drew Rosenhaus, and you never hear the other side of the agent spectrum. This past year, I spent $10,000 on my clients. You must come up with a budget plan on how you are going to pay for training and making sure your clients are taken care of from the moment you sign them up until the draft." 
Inside The League is the consulting service for the football industry. We work with the contract advisors for about two-thirds of active NFL players as well as the combine trainers, financial planners, scouts, coaches and other pro league organizers that make up the game. Cost is $29.95/month, and you can cancel at any time. To register, click here. Also check out our new free blog, Succeed in Football. Copyright Neil Stratton and ITL.

Sincerely, Neil Stratton
Inside the League

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