The life of an American football sports agent can seem less like a job and more like an adventure. The football agent salary is only part of the many perks of becoming an American football sports agent. On average, NFL agents get to work with some of the most admired, and recognizable people on earth, they also get the opportunities to fully immerse themselves in one of the biggest money-making industries available. A career as an NFL sports agent can allow an individual to make something much more intangible than a salary. When an NFL agent does a great job, their client has the net worth of Derrick Brooks. Furthermore, the strength and depths of the contacts made, and relationships created are nearly incalculable.
What Does an American Football Agent Do?
Agents have to have a strong understanding of the mechanics of sports business grasp on the business of sports and be up to date on the deals other players are receiving, as well. It doesn’t benefit their client if they don’t know what kinds of contracts other athletes of similar abilities are getting. As NFL agents actively navigate the field and try to score their client with the best deal available to the player, they closely interact with the following parties:
- High profile coaches
- Team owners
- Often family members of the players
How Much Does an American Football Agent Make?
The average football agent’s salary is in a range of 5% to an average of 10% of the salary negotiated for the player that the agent represents. According to Sports Management Worldwide, that football agent salary equals a range on the low end of $555,000 all the way up to $34,000,000. NFL or American football agents can only charge a maximum of 3% of the player’s salary, and another 10 to 20% of the negotiated earnings from the player’s endorsement contracts.
Who Pays the American Football Agent Salary?
An NFL agent receives a commission from what the athletes earn, and of course, the earnings vary widely by position, player marketability, and the skill level of the football player. Again, the absolute maximum that a football sports agent is allowed to charge, as negotiated by the NFL Players Association is 3% of the player salary, bonuses and incentives included.
How Does an Individual Become an American Football Agent?
Not to be elusive, but there are no real set entry requirements to be an American football agent. To become an agent, most football agents have a background in the legal profession. This is due to the high contact that the average football agent has with contract law. Furthermore, to become a truly successful American football agent, there is a certification that a professional football agent must achieve.
To become certified, an agent must have a graduate degree and pass an exam, administered annually in July, testing knowledge of the CBA contract rules and finally to be an American football or an NFL agent, the annual fee to maintain certification is $1,200 for agents who represent fewer than 10 active players and $1,700 for agents who represent 10 or more players.
It’s quite common for colleges offering degreed programs in sports management to require coursework in things like kinesiology, finance, marketing, and accounting. And as previously mentioned, most sports agents decide to obtain a degree in law. Having a degree in law can help make the navigation of contracts much easier. Sports agents are also marketing consultants
Football Agents by the Numbers
It is no secret that the competition to be a successful agent is fierce. So, with that in mind, here is a quick breakdown of what the NFL agent pool looks like by the numbers according to the NFLPA:
- 42 percent of NFL agents have no clients
- A quarter of NFL agents have between one and four clients.
- Slightly above 10 percent of active NFL agents represent nearly half of all NFL athletes
- A quarter of American or NFL football agents are responsible for negotiating the contracts of roughly three-quarters of all of the players in the National Football League
Competition to Be an American Football Agent is Worth the Salary
Smaller sports agents sell the intangibles, such as personal attention to the players they represent, while the larger conglomerated sports agencies rely heavily on their centers of influence, experience and how thick is the Rolodex. In the end, there is one person that is responsible for the salary of an American football agent, and that falls on the level of comfort the player has with the agent. In the words of Rod Tidwell, players want the agents to “Show me the money!”