Agent vs. Lawyer
Deandre Hopkins just recently signed a new contract that makes him the highest-paid NFL wide receiver. The crazy thing about this is that Deandre did this without an agent. He was able to construct a deal that would make him the highest-paid wide receiver, with no franchise tag and a no-trade clause. Many pundits have credited Hopkins for his ability to construct a great deal especially considering he did so without an agent. According to reports, Hopkins has plans to be a GM or in his post-career, and negotiating his own contract was a perfect practice to learn some of the intricate details that go into contract negotiations.
Hopkins is the latest player to decide to go against the agent route. While this might be an ongoing trend many believe it’s only a new trend that elite players with leverage are considering. Outside of Hopkins, Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman, Laremy Tunsil are a few players that have negotiated contracts without an agent. The common denominator is that all these players were top talents in their position and had enough leverage to negotiate without an agent. What’s important to realize is that just because these players didn’t use an agent didn’t mean they didn’t have someone on their team look over their contracts.
This brings me to my next point, athletes at the elite level like Hopkins are starting to use lawyers in place of agents to help with deals on their behalf. While some agents are lawyers by trade, this new trend has allowed athletes to be more involved in the negotiation process while also saving a lot more money in the process. Agents are typically expected to get a 3-6% commission for every deal. Compared to an hourly or one-time fee using a lawyer you are able to get a great bang for your buck and complete analysis on the contract you may be potentially signing.
As contracts continue to increase in size and athletes getting more and more leverage, do you believe athletes will start seeking lawyers for their contracts over agents, or will it only be for the specific athlete?
Regardless of whether you decide on using a lawyer or agent, it’s important to do your due diligence and ask for what you want!
This article was written and provided as a courtesy of Amobi Okugo, a pro-soccer player and founder of A Frugal Athlete (AFA), an online media and consulting platform that promotes prudent financial practices and smart career decisions amongst professional and student-athletes. AFA offers services like financial coaching, revenue generation, and ideation strategy. Visit their website for further information.
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