Agents are a critical force in shaping the career paths of athletes. A fiduciary relationship needs to exist between agents and their clients based on trust, responsibility, and care. Successful agents work on the behalf of their clients and have the innate ability to dissect what financial provisions are of benefit.
Agents are Trusted Financial Advisors
Although it can be easy for agents to seek inflated deals that offer higher commission, they must weaken any personal desires and work to negotiate deals that are indisputably player-friendly.
Agents are fundamental advisers for young players. Breaking into a professional league as a college-aged athlete can be overwhelming, especially for a player that might be a star down the road. Contract negotiations, sponsorship offers, public relations, community engagements can be dizzying. Thus, an agent is instrumental in creating financially-sustainable opportunities for their young clients.
Although athletes are more than capable of determining their financial future, help should be sought when it comes to negotiating against organization executives with years of experience. Professional sports is a ruthless business. Most teams, first and foremost, want to make money.
If team management can gain a slight advantage over their players in contract negotiations, they will do so, because the financial security of the team is greater than the financial security of a player. Players are expendable, teams are not.
Lamar Jackson Does Not Have an Agent, but Will It Matter?
Baltimore Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson is definitely taking a risk in not having an agent represent him in his contract extension negotiations, but he did sign his rookie deal without an agent.
The 2019 MVP is one of the most marketable players in the NFL. He has done pretty well for himself so far. He was on the cover of Madden NFL 21, is sponsored by Oakley, and is due for a massive contract extension this off-season.
Although the right agent can be a trustworthy adviser, I advocate for athletes like Lamar Jackson that bank on themselves and do what they believe is best for their financial future. If Lamar Jackson reaches an extension agreement with the Ravens, it could influence more athletes to follow in his footsteps.
This is a very important deal for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens, and he only deserves fairness in the negotiations. It is mind-boggling that the Ravens have not extended their franchise quarterback, one of the most unique talents in the league, as he now enters his fifth season.
Lamar Jackson is the heart and soul of the team, and he should be treated as such. Yes, his brazen style of play is a concern and he probably cannot sustain being hit like a running-back fifteen times in a game for the rest of his career, but where would Baltimore go without him? The Ravens cannot create distance between themselves and their star.
The Browns gave Deshaun Watson, who should be suspended for the upcoming season, the most guaranteed money in the history of the NFL. Whether organizations like it or not, Watson’s contract will set the bar for star quarterback money for the foreseeable future.
Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, two generational talents, are set for massive extensions next offseason, so that should create some immediacy for the Ravens to lock in Lamar Jackson. If the Ravens do not offer Lamar Jackson Watson-type money and vie for the long game, then what are they going to do next year?
Jackson deserves to be paid like the transcendent force that he is, and the lack of an agent should have no bearing on Baltimore’s desire to pay him top dollar.