Agent Q & A: Hardball Gone Wrong?

In a BFR exclusive, Tyler Dunne speaks with a NFL agent about Aaron Maybin's contract holdout. The anonymous agent points out that Joel Segal has a history of such holdouts. The bad news is that a conclusion won't be met soon and this holdout hurts Aaron Maybin more than anyone....

BFR: What do you believe is going on with Aaron Maybin's contract negotiations?

Agent: All the other agents that have other guys are trying to blow up the salaries that they get. That's part of their jobs. I get it. That's not to say that an agent shouldn't advocate on behalf of his client. He should. But similarly, you should advise your client to what is reasonable. What does holding out do to your long-term, on-the-field prospects?

BFR: So are agents simply looking to jack up the market for following years?

Agent: It's widely known and widely accepted that next year's recruiting class is based off of this year's results. Not only does it reflect what you can say about yourself as an agent to the guys you're trying to recruit, but a lot of the agents at that level will speak negatively about their peers. They'll say, ‘You don't want to go with that guy. He only got 5 percent (increase from the player drafted in that slot last year). I got 6 percent.' Now, the fact that they're using this year's players as chips, I think is a conflict of interests.

BFR: So do you think the player's, like Maybin's, best interest is thrown at the wayside?

Agent: In Maybin's case, why hasn't Maybin signed a contract? Because Joel Segal won't do a deal until he sees what Michael Crabtree gets. He already knows what B.J. Raji got and what the guy behind him got. So all he's doing is waiting to see what happens to Crabtree. How is that doing anything for your client?

A fair number of these first-round picks are busts anyways. That's the reality. But if you look at their transition to the game, Brady Quinn is a prime example of someone who just got screwed by holding out. He has a lot of money tied to escalator clauses.

BFR: What do you think will happen with Maybin? Will this get done any time soon?

Agent: I think it's going to be predicated on what happens to Crabtree because Joel Segal has a reputation for not doing a deal until he sees what the front and back pick is. I understand that's one way of doing it, but why can't you figure out what a fairly reasonable increase from the No. 11 pick last year would be. Or if you at Raji's contract and the guy after (Maybin) can't you figure out a reasonable contract in-between?

In whose best interest is this holdout? The agent's or the player's? Does Maybin benefit from not being with the team? It's one part in this system that owners are going to push to change.

BFR: What do you think will happen with Crabtree?

Agent: No clue. I suspect, based on past history of teams, that at some point the team will cave somewhat. But at that point, great, Crabtree gets a contract and Maybin gets a contract but the season will have already started. If history is any teacher, it's highly unlikely that either player will be a contributor in any way this year.

The Bills are going to put a good spin on it. ‘Oh he's in camp, he's this type of player.' Speaking very honestly, you know that the network coverage of the NFL is nothing more than the yellow press. It's yellow journalism. That's fine, but so many players that hold out like this are basically losing their first year.

BFR: Any chance Aaron makes an impact once he gets in then?

Agent: I think no. I could be wrong. He could be an exception and do it but realistically, even look at Jason Peters or any guy that sits out and misses most of camp. Some of them will still do well. But it's the rule, rather than the exception that guys that go through an extended holdout do very poorly. Especially, when they're trying to transition from the college to the pro game. This is where they're making all their adjustments. This is where they're learning to make their adjustments with contact against guys with that skill level.

You could throw Maybin into situations but then he's just a situational player. I don't know if that really helps the Bills.

BFR: So does this holdout basically come down to Segal?

Agent: Yeah.

BFR: Could Maybin turn around and fire Segal as his agent then?

Agent: Rarely. There probably are situations like that, but they're so infrequent. They're basically married to this guy. At this point, if they did that, there's a lot of public egg on Maybin's face and his family. They're not sure. They've never dealt with this before. They don't know what to do.

BFR: As a close observer to this situation, what do you think is going to happen here?

Agent: I think the Bills have probably made an offer but I'm sure that Joel Segal won't even get serious discussions going until he sees what (Crabtree's) number is. That's where the need for a slot system exits, like what you see in the NBA.

So what do YOU think about Aaron Maybin's holdout? Get your voice out there inside the Rockpile Forum!

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