It’s easy to let someone else do the work. To let them do all the heavy lifting and talking for you, especially when you’re a high-profile NFL star like Bobby Wagner.
The difficult task would be to learn how the system works on your own, betting on yourself, and therefore ensuring yourself knowledge for a greater payoff in the future.
Bobby Wagner just signed a 3-year, $54 million extension with the Seattle Seahawks this offseason, in a deal that ended Wagner’s holdout and made him the highest-paid (by annual number) inside linebacker in the NFL.
I want to thank my teammates and fans for holding it down for ya boy thru the process.. appreciate all the support. I’m grateful
— Bobby Wagner (@Bwagz) July 28, 2019
In contract negotiations, Wagner took a bit of an unorthodox approach. He wanted to hear everything for himself. Why was he valued at this number? What were his shortcomings? And most importantly: to what extent was he in the Seahawks long-term plans?
It wasn’t anything personal against agents or any intermediaries, rather Wagner just saw the strong importance in learning for himself. Wagner said,
“My goal was to challenge myself and if anything I want players to leave wanting to educate themselves… you got to know the business and you got to educate yourself to what’s in your contract, how they got there, how they got to those numbers.”
Wagner also said he didn’t want the team representatives to say all the bad stuff to his agent, he wanted them to say it to his face. “I could take it,” he said.
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As if Wagner wasn’t already being vanguard-ish enough, he consulted a basketball and business legend before agreeing on a deal. In lieu of an agent, Wagner sought the advice of Michael Jordan, about the dynamics of negotiating from a player and owner’s perspective. Wagner said,
“It’s just really cool to have a guy like that in your corner and have a guy like that willing to take the time to speak to you and take the time to give you that knowledge, pass the knowledge down. I felt like I could have asked him anything.”
GOAT Jordan, a billionaire, master negotiator, and owner of the Charlotte Hornets, is clearly one of the best people in the world to get sports-business advice from.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was thrilled that the deal got signed. “If a guy is going to get paid you want it to be a guy like this. He just stands for so much positive, so much good,” Carroll said. Carroll, who has been known to love his defensive players, is excited to go into this season with an insanely talented linebacker core.
Pete Carroll has said this could be the best trio of starting linebackers he’s had in Seattle: Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks. Wagner is leading the LBs in drills in his first practice since getting his contract done Friday evening. pic.twitter.com/13K213DwnJ
— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) July 28, 2019
Time and time again in the NFL we have seen players get screwed in their contracts because of nondescript clauses or odd loopholes.
By learning the ins and outs of the negotiation procedure and contract, players put themselves in a better position to make more money going forward. This blunt and open negotiation tactic with no intermediary could become a trend shortly in the NFL.