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The high cost of preparing prospects

Agents will pay a collective $8 million on their clients before the draft. Jack Bechta

Print This December 15, 2009, 12:02 PM EST

As the NFL Combine looms just 11 weeks away, agents are making arrangements to help their new clients get ready to perform.

I estimate that agents will spend a cumulative $8 million or more to assist players with their preparation for the combine and their pro days.

For those who don’t know, the NFL Combine takes place every year in Indianapolis, where some the top college prospects compete for the top draft slots. They are poked and prodded by team doctors, measured in every direction and timed and interviewed by all 32 NFL teams. It’s the agent’s job to help the player prepare for this important audition.

Agents contract preparation specialists and send their clients to one of the many facilities based around the country. These experts have systems specifically in place to train, feed, educate and prep the potential draftee. They have strength trainers, speed specialists to help with the 40-yard dash, nutrition experts, physical therapists, massage therapists and even position-specific coaches. A matter fact, you can find former NFL coaches and players who teach technique and interview preparation. It’s also the agent’s responsibility to procure housing, transportation, food, supplements, equipment and training gear.

Some of these workout facilities have a turn-key solution while others supply the training and the agent pieces together the rest.

On average, an agent will spend between $15,000 and $25,000 per player. Last year, there were 256 players drafted and another 320-plus signed as undrafted free agents. Not all players go to training facilities and not all agents flip the bill for premium destinations. My guess is that there are 300-400 players who have their training completely paid for at an average cost of $20,000 per player.

Do the math: $20,000 X 400 players = $8 million.

There are more and more of these training facilities popping up around the country looking to get their slice of the training pie. The competition has helped to drive down prices, but it has hasn’t changed dramatically.

Although most of these training programs last until the combine on the third weekend in February, many players want to train until their pro day, which takes place in March. Some of the larger agencies incur healthier bills, averaging around $40,000-$50,000, because they add bells and whistles such as premium cars and luxury condos to their packages.

It’s common practice for agents to make this outlay and not be reimbursed for it. It’s simply the investment we make in helping our clients make the most of their opportunity.

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