What can Jackson do to try to stack the deck in his favor? Well, he’s been active on social media. If you’re going to be the player who breaks the norms on representation, why not break the norms on how you negotiate? Use your Twitter.
Negotiate through the media. Put out a public list of what it is that you’re looking for. You don’t have to call each team and explain if you just post it. You’ve just messaged all 32 teams at the same time. You don’t have to postal exact numbers (although you ostensibly could, and why not…) — just a general idea of what it is you’re looking for. Use the same media many disdain. Float out figures that way.
It makes sense for teams and agents to be secretive about information at times as that info getting out works against self-interest. It doesn’t for Mr. Jackson. If he wants to operate in secrecy, that’s most certainly his prerogative, but there’s no tangible benefit for him to do so. He doesn’t have other clients to protect, nor is he the one who has to bid for himself.
It was interesting to see the rush of uninformed narratives surrounding Jackson when the tag was applied and several teams immediately through media said they weren’t pursuing him.
Many assumed some sort of collusion on the NFL’s part to avoid guaranteed contracts, but the people I spoke to laughed at the idea.
“The funding rule makes the idea of guaranteed contracts untenable for most anyway. I imagine that’ll get some scrutiny at the next CBA,” an NFL team executive said on Jackson situation.
What that exec meant was the NFL’s rule that any guaranteed money in a contract has to be in an escrow account mere weeks after the deal is signed. Contrary to popular belief, many teams don’t have $200 million in cash just lying around. The Bengals and Chargers are both on the verge of huge deals with their quarterbacks and are scrambling to cobble together the cash needed for those contracts.
The Bengals selling stadium naming rights to Paycor for the first time last August serves to illustrate this.
NFL teams didn’t need to “collude” against Jackson to not pay guaranteed deals. The funding rule and CBA all but make it an impossibility at this juncture.
Teams didn’t have to make a move in the first few days. From a PR perspective you can always walk back “not pursuing.” You can’t walk back “pursued and didn’t land.”
As it sits, most everyone I talked to has the same opinion. Namely, that if Jackson had an agent, this situation would likely already be done — and that he is probably costing himself money and probably not maximizing his market. Obviously, those things are this choice, and if he’s at peace with it who are we to question another man’s decisions on his wallet?
I’d love to see Lamar just open this thing up and negotiate over Twitter. Clarify the situation for the teams, the media and the fans. Create a new empowered negotiation position for future players.
It’d make for a hell of a story, but then, maybe I’m just being the self-serving one.