Jan 19, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA;  Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) as Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan (26) chases during the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Report: DB Ryan hires new agent; several teams interested

Free-agent defensive back Logan Ryan has a new agent and is expected to sign a deal before the start of the NFL season, according to a report Sunday.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Ryan is now working with agent Joel Segal, whose clients include defensive stars Patrick Peterson and Khalil Mack. Rapoport said Ryan has “several suitors.”

Ryan had 113 tackles, 4.5 sacks, four interceptions, 18 passes defensed and four forced fumbles for the Tennessee Titans last season.

Entering his eighth NFL season, Ryan said farewell to the Titans organization and fans in an Instagram post in May and said he wants to continue his career elsewhere.

“My chapter in Tennessee has come to a close,” he began his post.

“To the @Titans fans: Thank you for all the love. The energy and support this past season is what led to an epic run.

“To my Titans Teammates: I love all y’all. Being a leader and earning y’all respect is what meant most to me. Win or lose we stuck together and backed down from no one. “

He added he was “looking forward to continue to play at an elite level for a organization that’s a great fit for my family and me.”

The following week, Ryan reportedly was on the verge of a deal with the New York Jets, but that didn’t materialize.

Ryan spent the first four seasons of his career (2013-16) with the New England Patriots before signing a three-year, $30 million deal with Titans in March 2017. In 109 career games (85 starts), he has 494 tackles, 11 sacks and 17 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

A peek behind the Jarryd Hayne Curtain

I’ve been getting asked a lot of questions lately since Jarryd Hayne signed with the 49ers. Thus, I figured I would incorporate some answers into my weekly post.
Media, what to expect: Jarryd arrived in the states on October 14th, 2014. As soon as he landed he went off-the-grid, sought NFL friendly workout facilities, quarterbacks, coaches and anyone who could help him get some position basic training. He did this all on his own for a month, paid his own way and did something every day to learn the game. A month later he started interviewing agents and eventually settled on me/my firm.
On Tuesday, he had a big press conference in Sydney when he announced his team selection. We/he didn’t do this for the attention; we/he did it so he wouldn’t have to speak continuously to the numerous media outlets over the next few weeks. The goal was to get all the questions answered at once, and move on to training.
I learned by being around him that he cared less about getting attention, as he is used to being in the spotlight, and more about dedicating himself to the game of the NFL. He was his league’s MVP three different times so he is used to the attention, and doesn’t need more of it. Going forward, I would expect the same from Jarryd, flying low under the radar and eating as much football as he can every single day. Over the last 48 hours, I’ve received over 40 requests for interviews and I doubt Jarryd will do more than two of them. That’s what we should expect going forward.
What’s next: This is really simple. Jarryd will start doing what all the other NFL players are doing. And that is starting to tune up for the off-season workouts. He will make his way back over to the states in a week or so and start training with veterans. March is the month where vets start getting on the field again. They run routes and do some field work on top of doing weight room work and conditioning. Jarryd doesn’t want to do a media tour and/or try to dig up every potential endorsement. He just wants to go to work and attack the learning curve.
Why do I want to represent him? I had enough contacts down-under and throughout the sport that confirmed to me, that Jarryd Hayne is the “real deal”, a “special player”. I am a huge rugby fan (attended many matches) and never got to experience rugby league (there is a difference) in person but always thought it was the closest game to the NFL game. On top of that, I really admire the culture of rugby and rugby league. It’s the greatest fraternity in the world. The guys spend a lot of time with each other, and are really supportive of one another through long seasons, always putting the team first.
Even though Hayden Smith of the Saracens didn’t make it with the Jets for a second year in 2013, he accomplished something no one has ever done before (outside of punters). He went from never touching a football in March to playing in a game in October and catching a pass in December. It was a positive experience for all involved and getting to be a part of Hayden’s journey was worth more money than I could make. We remain great friends.
I strongly feel Jarryd’s journey will also be unique, fulfilling and rich. I for one, love being a part of something groundbreaking in my industry. The young man has been dreaming about this chance for years, is taking a big pay-cut to make this happen, and has a deep dark determination that can’t be measured by tapes and stopwatches. That’s the type of people I love busting my ass for.
Follow me on Twitter: @Jackbechta

Time to change the Combine

When you hear Mike Mayock and Rich Eisen talk about how much bigger and faster the players are getting each year, you have to wonder where the comparison should stop from players of the past.
The whole reason why drills, schedules and formatting of the Combine remain the same is so evaluators can always compare to the prior years attendees. However, this thinking/formula is flawed now because the evolution of training and preparing for the Combine has accelerated so dramatically over the last fifteen years. If I were an evaluator I wouldn’t compare a player’s combine performance to another player going back more than eight years.
In 1999, Mark Verstegen launched his first Athletes Performance (Now Exos with 7 locations) facility in Tempe, AZ. I know this because I sent him half of his first class. Other trainers like Chip Smith of CES, Tom Shaw and several others have been prepping players for over fifteen years now and have continually gotten better at having participants peak for their Combine workout. As of late, a bigger focus has been on nutrition, speed mechanics and bringing in former NFL players and coaches to tutor each player in drills and interviews.
The main reason for the Combine still remains the medicals and physical component. And everyone believes it is the most necessary and most important component of the Combine. But players and agents are growing more resistant to this current format and a change is needed or the NFLPA could force one to happen in what could have a showdown like capacity.
The current format has players getting in line for physicals at 6:30 am, standing in line for hours, then having their limbs, joints, knees and shoulders being pulled, pushed and rotated to their limits. Some doctors are more aggressive than others and some have minimal experience in the field.
Numerous players, including 310 pound plus lineman are crammed in an MRI machine for up to 30 minutes or more. Some players reported that the air in the MRI machine was not working and when they asked to be removed because they were feeling claustrophobic, they wouldn’t immediately do so and told them to be still for 15 more minutes. If you ever been in an MRI machine you can relate to these issues. Then imagine you are 6’5” 315 pounds. These machines are not made for these size men. It’s truly a “cattle call”.
So after very little sleep (most players settle down about midnight after their interviews and snacks), much standing around without food or sometimes even a place to sit, being pulled at, tugged at, even accused of hiding an injury, it’s on to an energy draining cybex test, having up to seven or more vials of blood drawn, and then off to more meetings. That coupled with another long evening and they are supposed to be fresh for the biggest audition of their life that also takes place on national TV? Oh, and all performed in some really tight fitting florescent clothes you are forced to wear.
Of course, this is a stressful time for these young men trying to get drafted as high as possible, not embarrass themselves, make great impressions, begin their dream and perform at their very best under duress in a stressful environment. I know there are worse things, but the Combine needs to grow up, mature, get with the times and make some more adjustments that are simply common sense.
For starters, here are some changes that should be made:
Players should be allowed to come a day earlier if they choose. The Combine started an extra day earlier this year. The extra day was meant to allow for more sleep, travel recovery time, more/longer informal interviews, and make for a more civil pace for everyone. But for some reason none of the players felt any more rested than years before. I believe just more things/activities were crammed into that extra day.
Physicals, drawing of blood and even opportunity for interviews should be “AFTER” the players perform all the on-field drills and forty. Essentially, the schedule of the combine should be flipped around. Would this mean all the players who would perform under these more friendly conditions would do better than all those before them? Perhaps, but it’s a new era and now is the time to make these adjustments.
Formal interviews should be increased to 20 minutes from 15. Juniors and QBs should be 30 minutes and the players should have the right to choose which teams they want to meet with in case there is limited time for them. Additionally, all player meetings should cease at 9:00pm. They currently run to 11:00pm. Having the extra day on the front end could help the whole process.
No physicals, scans, X-rays, tests or meetings should start before 9:00am. Players come from all over the country and come from different time zones. Players from Pacific time zones who have to be at the doctor’s for MRI’s at 7:30am are getting up at 3:30am Pacific time and will be up for the remainder of the day (their first full day in Indy).
Each player should have their own room: There are some really funny stories floating around about the roommate situations at the Combine. Players get stuck with roommates who snore, want to sleep with the TV left on, stay up late on the phone and keep the other player awake. The NFL makes good money on the Combine so buck up and give the players their own rooms.
I did run into NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith and player president Eric Winston one day. They were making their rounds and talking to a lot of agents and players and getting a feel for the whole environment and listening to grievances from agents. So don’t be surprised if the Players Association asks for a bigger role in shaping future Combines.
Follow me On Twitter: @Jackbechta

5 ways the agent business has changed

<p> With the new CBA somewhat simplifying things, it really has taken a lot of the fun out of the business. At one time, negotiating contracts was an abstract business for the agent to be creative in constructing contracts, but much has been streamlined. Sure, the top players in the league have multiple layers in their contracts that require finesse and expertise from a seasoned agent. But after that the negotiation can get pretty vanilla, yet it does still leave enough room to be inventive for those players below the echelon of "top" billing. </p> <p> <strong>1) All 32 teams are reading from the same script: </strong>For years, the NFLPA has accused the NFL for illegally colluding on contracts (terms, signing bonus language, structure). If you talk to the agents, we will tell you, there aren’t 32 different styles of doing business as there once was. If definitely seems that GMs and salary cap mangers have been schooled, and well, at the exact same school using the same philosophy. The result; player contracts are getting shorter, guaranteed language is getting more complicated, and patterns of how and when deals get done are consistent around the league.</p> <p> <strong>2) Draft is more tightly slotted, less tools to work with in constructing contracts: </strong>Under previous CBAs, there were multiple tools agents and teams used to allocate bonuses within a rookie contract and create more money. Now the battle lay within the structure of the money rather than with the amounts themselves (predetermined). In addition, rookie deals cannot be renegotiated until after a players 3rd year (see Russell Wilson). The length/term of deal is now fixed.</p> <p> Under the last CBA, we could negotiate how long the deal would go. The previous CBA language specified maximum term limits rather than set terms. I for one used to do four-year deals for my 2nd rounders and three-year deals for my 3rd rounders and lower. In doing shorter deals, I took a little less of a signing bonus than those who did five year deals but got my clients to free agency sooner. Client Jonathan Babineaux is a good example. He’s a client who landed his 3rd NFL contract this year at age 32.</p> <p> Now every draft pick is given a four year contract. The exception being first round picks with a team option for a fifth year (Fifth Year Option). Undrafted free agents are given three year contracts.</p> <p> <strong>3) More concierge services:</strong> Derivative services outside of contract negotiations and marketing took a huge jump about ten years ago. Agents who may have never negotiated a contract before became really good at teeing up some freebies for players. Free phones, calling plans, hotels, flights, tech products, use of cars, Vegas trips, clothes, sports equipment and/or concert tickets. Many of these are just inducements to sign with said agent but it’s common place for all agencies to offer some level of concierge services.</p> <p> <strong>4) Social media coaching, counsel, management and/or clean up: </strong>The advent of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook put the power of the media in the hands of the players. Many players, with or without a plan, have been using these tools to talk with their fans, start controversy, voice their opinions, start arguments with other players and/or promote their brand or charitable affiliates. Agents quickly had to become proficient and learn how to help players manage their social ambitions.</p> <p> <strong>5) Doing more back end management on medical, lawsuits, etc:</strong> With the new CBA came some additional benefits like the cognitive injury benefit. Agents have more work to do on the back end of a player's career. In addition, with players having more latitude on choosing a second opinion doctor and less pressure on them getting back on the field, agents are even more involved in the setting up, researching and scheduling of medical services for our clients. This is actually a good thing for players with agents who understand the importance of managing the medical component of the business. Knowing when and how to get the most from a player's benefits and firmly exercising their rights can help set a player up for life.</p> <p> <em>Follow me on Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/jackbechta" target="_blank">@Jackbechta</a></em></p>

NFL Conversations

<p> <strong>Tony Dungy’s comments on Michael Sam:</strong> Everyone in the NFL (players, coaches, execs, media, etc.) who knows Tony Dungy, also knows that Tony is as solid of a man as there is, in/or out of the league. He’s direct, honest, modest, thoughtful, considerate, accessible, and a bigger man than most people who have coached in the league. The people that know him knew exactly what he meant when he made those comments about not wanting to draft Michael Sam.</p> <p> When I saw his comments I knew exactly what he was saying. You see, Tony is so honest that he speaks without a filter. I remember at the Combine in 2005 he told me he was drafting my client, DT Jonathan Babineaux, in the 2nd round if he was there. However, the Falcons drafted him a pick before the Colts could snag him. Later on, I had several people within the Colts organization tell me that they were going to take Jonathan with that 2nd round pick. I was surprised Tony told me that they were going to pick my client but as they say, “he’s honest to a fault”.</p> <p> So the fact that Tony’s comment got so much national attention, reiterates what he sincerely meant. He was simply saying, “it’s NOT Sam who would cause the distraction, it will be the media that will aggressively, persistently, obnoxiously and sometimes recklessly, be the distraction and constant maintenance for the head coach and his organization. Tony obviously wouldn’t want the responsibility of dealing with the added work in dealing with the media if Sam were on his team. Because Tony knows himself too well, he knew that if he did draft Michael Sam, he would have gone the extra mile, spent the energy needed, and made it a very personal responsibility to protect Sam from any media circus that could follow him or distract his team.</p> <p> The reality is that many GMs and head coaches didn’t draft Sam this year because of the same reason Tony said he wouldn’t. But unlike Tony (who is retired), they can’t and won’t voice it publicly.</p> <p> There are many head coaches who didn’t sign Tim Tebow (as a backup), Chad Johnson, Michael Vick, and/or Brett Farve for the same exact reason. They are media maintenance intensive.</p> <p> <strong>The Falcons and Hard Knocks:</strong> GM Thomas Dimitroff, HC Mike Smith and company were not HBO’s top pick for Hard Knocks this year. They sought out the Browns (Johnny Manziel), Seahawks, Eagles, Raiders, Redskins, Niners, and several other teams before shaking down the Falcons to ‘yes’.</p> <p> The Falcons will end up being a good choice though for several reasons. For one, football fans are going to get a good look at why Mike (Smity) Smith, is one of the most loved coaches in the league. His players absolutely love him. We are also going to see one of the more seamless and sound organizations in the league, where everyone is on the same page. Everyone from the owner to the equipment manager is reading from the same script. The Falcons are considered one of the top organizations in the league from a management standpoint. Agents trust and like them, coaches respect them and the owner truly cares about his players. They might not be the most entertaining group, but we are going to get a good look at a solid organization.</p> <p> <strong>Two teams on the move?</strong> Will the Buffalo Bills be moved at some point, regardless of who ends up buying them? And what about the Jaguars? Will they be the London Jaguars within the next five years? What I am hearing from people within the league is this: The league office wants the Bills to stay put. They feel that a new owner moving the Bills will send the wrong message to fans everywhere around the league. The Bills, being one of the league’s foundation teams, should forever remain a fixture in Buffalo.</p> <p> As for the Jaguars, my bet is that they end up in London. The new owner, Shahid Khan has made a valiant effort to make things work in Jacksonville. He’s doing and saying all the right things. However, if he decides to move the team across the pond, the league would give him a police escort to London.</p> <p> The league has proven that they are committed to international expansion and the Jags are the prime candidates to make the move.</p> <p> Another interesting component of this conversation is the article written by <a href="http://www.latimes.com/sports/nfl/la-sp-nfl-la-qa-farmer-20140720-story.html" target="_blank">Sam Farmer of the LA Times</a>. He builds a nice case of why the league may build and own a stadium in LA. Even if it is just talk by the league, it gives those teams who need/want a new stadium or want improvements leverage with their current landlord.</p> <p> <em>Follow me on Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/jackbechta" target="_blank">@Jackbechta </a></em></p>