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Richard Sherman supports Lamar Jackson decision to not hire an agent

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I am not entirely sure what I think, but do hope things work out for Jackson.

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One of the growing stories in the lead up to the 2018 NFL Draft has been Lamar Jackson’s decision to not hire an agent. His mother is serving as his manager, and you can read more about their process in this excellent SI feature.

By not having an agent, Jackson avoids paying the 1-3 percent agent fee. Since the 2011 CBA was signed, rookies have had fairly standard contracts under a rookie salary cap. It has drastically reduced the size of first round contracts, and has also cut down holdouts considerably. A player can hire an attorney to give the contract a look for any notable issues, but otherwise it’s an easy deal to sort through.

That being said, there have been some red flags reported in the media. There have been teams claiming it has been difficult to set up official meetings and workouts. Additionally, his decision to not run a 40-yard dash at the Combine and Pro Day have people suggesting an agent or PR person could have helped handle that better. Additionally, there is some talk that he has not done well on the board in terms of play discussion with teams. Whether that’s true or even sufficiently accurate is something an agent or PR person could potentially help combat.

It is not at all surprising that San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman agrees with Jackson’s decision. Sherman represented himself in his negotiation last month, and faced plenty of criticism for it. He texted USA Today that Jackson’s decision is, “a great idea,” and that, “[i]n terms of improving his draft stock or the amount of money he receives, there isn’t much they can do. I’m sure he has mentors and (advisers) who can guide him.”

It’s not at all surprising that Sherman would say this. He has talked regularly about the desire to represent himself on this and the work he put into it. I do not expect this to become a regular thing, but I imagine players might talk with Sherman about his experience representing himself.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Jackson’s decision to represent himself. On the one hand, I like the idea of a player taking full control of his situation. On the other hand, I do see some value in not having to think through a lot of these issues. But that also suggests his mother is not in a position to do a good job in her manager role. I cannot begin to assume what she has been doing in her role. Furthermore, the criticisms being reported have been via anonymous sources. They could be correct, but as always, we have to take them with a certain grain of salt.

I am curious to see how this plays out for Jackson. He has been projected up and down the first round. There is some talk a team might trade into the top ten to land him, while others have suggested he will last until the middle or later part of the first round. I don’t think the lack of agent will have an impact in that regard, but I am still curious to see where he lands.