San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith has made a change of agents. According to Sports Business Journal's Liz Mullen, Smith left CAA Sports to join Relativity Sports. He was represented by Ben Dogra (who was co-head of CAA Football with Tom Condon. He is now represented by Doug Hendrickson and C.J. LaBoy.
It's hard to say anything super specific about what the agent switch means. The easiest answer is that a player thinks the new agent can get him more money than his previous agent. It is also possible the player and his previous agent simply did not see eye-to-eye on certain issues. An agent is there to represent what the player wants. If they have a disagreement on how that will work, it makes sense to switch agents.
Earlier this year, the 49ers picked up Aldon Smith's option for 2015. The 49ers can negotiate a new contract right now, but given Smith's off-the-field issues, it seems highly unlikely that a new deal will be done this year. I'd imagine Smith's new agents will be in touch with the 49ers given the switch, but a deal will not get done.
I do wonder if they talk about a potential framework, and ballpark some hypothetical numbers to see if they're anywhere near each other in the eventual negotiation. Aldon Smith is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL right now. From a purely football perspective, he has a chance to make crazy amounts of money. Of course, his off-the-field issues are a looming distraction, and one that could cost him some bucks.
Smith will find out his legal fate on July 25, and sometime after that he'll find out his short term NFL fate. Even if he is suspended a handful of games to start the season, he has the talent to put up monster sack numbers. If he can get through his suspension and stay out of trouble between now and next offseason, we could see a new deal get done sometime next spring, or summer. We don't know what the 49ers think in terms of what it might cost to keep an all-world pass rusher like Aldon Smith, so we'll need to wait and see on that.
The 49ers continue to do work with Relativity Sports. Eugene Parker runs the football side of things for them, so Michael Crabtree is a Relativity client. Additionally, Bruce Ellington, Carlos Hyde, and Stevie Johnson are all represented by Relativity Sports. You can view their full client roster HERE. Johnson is specifically represented by LaBoy and Hendrickson. They brought him with them when they joined Relativity this past February. They previously worked for Octagon Football, which is based in Walnut Creek, CA. Octagon had a rather terse statement upon their departure:
"Octagon and Doug/CJ have different views on how to operate in this business. As we part ways, Octagon will continue to stick to its core values of experience, integrity and a client-first mentality."
It will be interesting to see what this means for contract negotiations over the next year.