10 Dopest NFL AgentsJuly 26, 2012
by: CJ Oates
When you throw around the job title of “sport agent”, a lot NFL fans think of Drew Rosenhaus. Some may even think about most recently UNC and Miami’s football team who have been in the news for their contact with agents. Most people may not know exactly what the role of sport agents is but after Rosenhaus and college athlete’s involvement, people wanted to know more. The sport agent’s role is to get their clients the most money and make their clients (the athlete, coach, or team) as marketable as possible. The more endorsements and higher salary contracts the agent can get the athlete, the more money for the agent. Since the role of the agent is so huge, the role of the agent sometimes expands to finances and public relations.
As you can see, an agents has to “wear many hats”. They are not really not villains or “pimps” (as Nick Saban so eloquently puts it). So this is an ode to the non-pimps in the NFL.
10. Leigh Steinberg (Steinberg, Moorad & Dunn or SMD)
I know he is not the same super agent that he use to be, but how could I leave this guy off the list? After all, he is the real-life inspiration for fictional sports agent Jerry Maguire. His client list has included Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Kordell Stewart, Ben Roethlisberger and Ricky Williams. Steinberg insists that every contract negotiated for his players include clauses that require the athlete to give back to their hometown, high school, university or national charities and foundations. When he was at his prime, Steinberg was one of the best.
9. Mark Bartelstein (Priority Sports & Entertainment)
Bartelstein is an interesting guy considering his main focus is not just on football, but basketball as well. He does have a number of players that he manages day-to-day but for the most part I’m kind of overseeing the NFL business. His players include, Arian Foster, Joe Staley, and AJ Hawk.
8. David Dunn (Athletes First)
Since losing a $44.6 million lawsuit to his former partner (Steinberg) in November 2002, Dunn has suffered a number of setbacks. The NFLPA’s disciplinary committee voted to suspend him for two years, but Dunn filed for personal bankruptcy. None of that seems to be slowing Dunn down though as of late. His company has players like Reggie Wayne, Aaron Rodgers, Von Miller, Clay Matthews and Ray Lewis. It Dunn’s approach to marketing for incoming rookies is interesting. His philosophy is to let the players’ performance on the field help them on the marketing end. Hopefully his boat with stay afloat. If so he has some great talent to lead the way.
7. Jimmy Sexton (Creative Artists Agency)
He has managed three very famous figures in the history of the game — Bill Parcells, Nick Saban, and Steve Spurrier. His first client was Reggie White, so I guess you can say he has always had a pretty good clientele list. Sexton represents a number of top NFL players, including Jets QB, Tim Tebow and Chargers QB Philip Rivers. Even though he a had a moment (i.e. Donte Stallworth) with the NCAA, he is apart of a panel trying to fix the “pimping” going on.
6. Joel Segal (Lagardère Unlimited Football)
Segal has steered one of the most powerful ships in the world of NFL player representation for many years. Two of his biggest clients are Michael Vick and Chris Johnson. So can we give him credit for helping Vick to keep most of his contract from the Falcons and his new contract from the Eagles.
5. Drew Rosenhaus (Rosenhaus Sports)
I like to call Drew Rosenhaus the “Mark Cuban” of the agents. He might not be a player, but you will see or hear of his actions before you will his clients. Some refer to this guy as the super agent. I wouldn’t call him that but his client list is pretty lengthy which has Dez Bryant, Chad Johnson (formerly OchoCinco), Frank Gore, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. If you look up his name on Urban Dictionary (not credible) the synonym “douche bag” comes up. The players love their agent. Everyone else hates him. You want to know more about this man, just pick up his book Next Question.
4. Eugene Parker (Maximum Sports Management)
When your agent shows how his clients can use their athletic talents as a vehicle to gain an economic advantage and cares more about the individual than the contract, you have a good one. Parker has represented some of the biggest names in professional football including Emmitt Smith, Ray Lewis, Curtis Martin, Hines Ward and Deion Sanders to name a few. His current players list include Michael Crabtree, Larry Fitzgerald, and Ndamukong Suh. What Parker has going for him is that a large number of athletes entering the professional ranks are African-American, so he relates to the athletes better. I can appreciate that Parker’s agency has Christian values and that taking care of its clients’ best interests is a priority.
3. James Bus Cook (Bus Cook Sports)
Unless you have been living under a rock when the “Favre vs Packers” saga went down then you have heard this guy’s name. The roller coaster between Bus, Favre, and the media was something that overshadowed Cook and his outstanding job. He’s definitely good at his job, and he is able to give his clients a lot of attention because he doesn’t have a huge roster of athletes. Besides Favre, his lineup includes Morris Claiborne, Jay Cutler, Calvin Johnson, and recently Cam Newton. As you can see with the names I mentioned, Cook has a thing for representing athletes from the southeast.
2. Ben Dogra (co-head of CAA)
This man is the “Robin” to Tom Condon. He helps Condon oversee the most dominant player-representation agency which is the Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Dogra is the young gunner of the agency and he will replace Condon’s spot when Tom retires. The top of his list includes Boomer Sooner Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, Mario Williams and rookie Robert Griffin III. Unlike Rosenhaus, Dogra has prided himself on flying under the radar. He is probably “the best football agent attracting the least attention.” I just know he has came a long way from being an intern working for free.
1. Tom Condon (co-head of CAA)
Well when you have a list of the top quarterbacks in the National Football League, whose name do you really expect? Let’s start with Condon’s list that includes Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Drew Brees. Next on his list is Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, and Matt Ryan. Condon’s five biggest contracts negotiated totaled $442 million. Condon played guard for 12 seasons and was a former president of the NFL Players Association. So he has a great mind when it comes to the complexities of contracts and salary caps and. Condon’s one of the top agents in the business and I know Drew Brees is reaping the benefits.