Agents may be taking a hit

NFLPA to vote on dropping agents' fee 1 percent

INDIANAPOLIS - While many of the player agents are concerned about how their clients will perform in the workouts for NFL teams at the Combine, they have a potentially bigger and more costly issue at hand.

Agents on Friday in their annual meeting discussed at length the National Football League Player's Association proposal to drop the agents' fee from 3 to 2 percent. Essentially, that's a 33 percent drop if that goes through next month in a NFLPA meeting in Hawaii. If it happens, that could have huge ramifications for the future.

"What would happen is you would see the end of the smaller agencies," one veteran agent said. "In effect, unless you have a pretty stable clientele, you may have to close up shop."

The reduction in fees has been discussed in past meetings, but it came to a head this week. Toward the end off the meeting, veteran agents Leigh Steinberg, Drew Rosenhaus and others let the NFLPA know how destructive a drop in fees would affect agents.

"It was good to see them stick up for the rest of us," another veteran agent said. "We all stand to lose a lot of cash if the fee gets dropped."

One potential problem in a fee reduction is agents may only try to sign players who they know will be first-day picks in the NFL Draft. The key for agents is signing a player to a second contract. If the player gets cut or doesn't find another team to sign with, the agents might not break even on the money they invested in the player.

"Many of us won't be able to afford what it takes to sign the lesser player if he can't get a second deal," said an agent, who is in the third year of his business. "Sure, we would all like to get first day picks but many of us aren't all that lucky."

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