Building a better NFL agent

An experienced agent takes a look in the mirror and the professionalism of his industry. Jack Bechta

Print This August 29, 2012, 04:00 PM EST

Agents should be plugged into and have access to the scouting and front office community. Having relationships and a driect line to coaches, owners and scouts can help put some attention on lesser-known draftees. Representing those people isn’t going to help a player get drafted higher. There can be a huge conflict of interest there and that is why the NFL Players Association has a rule in place where an agent must disclose NFL management they represent. Andrew Luck’s agent didn’t have any experience or a vast network and it worked out well for him. If an agent represents quality players, he will build a network quickly.

For myself, current agents and those young and aspiring agents, there are areas where we all need to improve.

For one, we all need to become more proficient in the career exit plan, which includes benefits, injury settlements, workman’s compensation, line of duty benefits and the CBA rules which have allowed injured players to collect limited salary benefits.

Unfortunately, NFL teams work hard in limiting their exposure to players who may be eligible for these benefits so we have to work harder to make sure our clients get what they deserve.

Two, agents should take a more proactive role in identifying the signs associated with players in a social off field spiral. Those players who are spending too much, partying too much and allowing the wrong people or professionals to poorly influence them need more hand holding the others. Agents need to tell players what they need to hear not want they want to hear.

Three, in a recent conversation with a Union executive I was told that, "current agents do a poor job in keeping the union informed during ongoing negotiations". The problem here is that one bad contract can cause a huge ripple effect for other players at the same position or on the same team. In addition, we have to continuously fight for better language on guaranteed portions of contracts.

On July 20, 208 applicants sat for the open book agent exam. The pass rate is about 70%, not very good for an open book test. However, about 140 new NFL agents will be born, adding to the list of 640 already currently certified. I hope we are continuously attracting a better pedigree of professionals with high moral fiber who really care about the well being of those who sacrifice their bodies and give all they have to entertain us every Sunday.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jackbechta

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