Agent Diaries: Pitching Prospects & Avoiding The Poach

As my peers and I embark on the next few months of draft preparation for both basketball and football, I wanted to offer up an informational post about making prospect pitches.

Recently, a few players have left their agents for reasons that are relatively obvious. Some have done it quietly and without much criticism. Others have done it openly, leaving their original agent feeling somewhat slighted. Arizona Cardinals star DB Patrick Peterson recently parted ways with his agent as he approaches the anticipated time period for contract negotiations. According to agent Pat Lawlor, his client was swayed to fire him likely because another agent insinuated that Lawlor doesn’t have the experience to negotiate the type of deal (upwards $40 million) Peterson deserves.

Keenan Allen is another player who quietly left his agent as he’s having a solid rookie year. Allen, who was a 3rd round draft pick for the San Diego Chargers, has netted 957 yards and 8 TDs. He’s been both a red zone and deep target favorite of Philip Rivers. Although he won’t be up for negotiations for another 2.5 years, it seems like he wanted to be ahead of the pack by moving to a bigger agency, Athletes First. Their client list boast franchise players like Aaron Rodgers, Jamaal Charles, and Reggie Wayne. They also represent fellow 2013 3rd round pick WR, Marqise Goodwin. (conflict of interest? Another topic for another day)

Both players and their representatives have experienced what in the agency world is now as poaching. As a professional courtesy, I don’t think that agents intentionally try to nab athletes from their agent. It’s more of seeing the earning potential of said client and knowing that you can do better than the representation he currently has. Whether you’re with an agency or out hustling for your first client, the intricacies of pitching have to be a major focus in keeping your client around.


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