Sept. 30, 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.
Special Edition: Should I Join A Large Firm?
We haven't officially launched the ITL Rising Contract Advisors Newsletter for the '19 agent class yet, but I've gotten the above question enough times that I felt I should address it in a special edition.
Safety in numbers: Look, I get it. As a new agent with no clients, limited funds and a learning curve ahead of you, it's logical to want to seek shelter. However, it's a difficult proposition for a lot of reasons. It's rare I talk to an agent who doesn't get at least one resume every week - some of them multiple resumes every day - and often, these are new agents. College students and young professionals literally beg to work with agencies for free every day. But wait, I'm not some guy, you might say. I've accomplished plenty, have a secondary degree, and have plenty to offer. All of that is true, but the fact is, it's a numbers game. There are simply so many people trying to work for agencies (especially established ones) that it's quite rare for a newly certified contract advisor to latch on with a big firm  unless you have unlimited funding and/or you are directly related to a Top 100 prospect in the '20 draft. That's just the way it is.
The deal: But hey, let's say you want to go for it anyway and see what's out there. What kind of compensation can you expect? I'm always approached by young agents who say, hey, I'll take as little as $50,000 plus expenses to work for a bigger agency. When they say that, I have to break it to them that the going rate for a new agent seeking a partnership with a big firm is no pay, and in some cases, maybe some of the expenses covered, but don't expect it. Usually, the 'pay' comes in allowing the young agent to recruit using the bigger agent's client list, plus the bigger agent splitting training costs with the young agent. At the end of the day, there are just so many unproven people in the business that the market doesn't yield any kind of real compensation for up-and-comers.
You own your job: Last year, I worked with a good, solid agent from a mid-sized firm that was looking to get out of the business. When he approached me about trying to find a buyer for his firm, I had to break it to him that there's limited value because players can fire an agent at any time for any reason. My friend's options were to hand his agency to another agent for relative pennies, or to stick it out and try to get his players to second deals. There was really no fall-back plan, unfortunately. His reality is your reality. As you build a clientele and begin to succeed in this business, you'll need to realize you're kinda working without a net. I always tell young agents that they will appealing to big firms when they're big enough that they don't  want to be bought out by big firms anymore. That's just the way it is. And by the way -- after walking through the process, my friend decided to keep his agency. Take that for what it's worth. 

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
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