Bears reach deal with WR Alshon Jeffery… are August signings a thing of the past? Agent: ‘They should be’
Today, the Bears became trailblazers in a very non-exciting way. They agreed to terms with WR Alshon Jeffery, a former South Carolina star who they selected 45th overall in the draft. It’s stunningly fast, even for Bears negotiator Cliff Stein, a noted speed demon.
All of which made me think: How? And why can’t other teams sign their draft picks just as fast?
For some answers, I spoke with Jeffery’s agent, Eugene Parker of Maximum Sports Management. He broke down how it happened so quickly and had this to say when I asked if August, last-minute signings are a thing of the past.
“They should be,” Parker said. “They should be over. But it takes two. People may have different motivations. Sometimes a team may want to wait for whatever reason. Maybe they’re busy, doing other things. Maybe they want to hold onto the money longer, who knows what their reasons might be for not getting to it early? Maybe habit of waiting. Some teams are just in the habit. But it can very easily be something that can be a trend. Get it done, get the guy in, get it over with and move on. No reason, with this new CBA, no reason for it to drag on.”
That was Parker’s main message. That everyone should follow suit.
With the new rookie wage scale, holdouts are mostly over. That was the goal. Players’ salaries are slotted, and agents can only negotiate so much. Teams can only use so much leverage. So why the heck not get it done, easy the burden on both sides, and move on?
The mechanics of how it actually happened are simple.
“They knew and we knew what the numbers were from the NFLPA and the Management Council,” Parker continued. “They came up with the range of the numbers already, in terms of the rookie pool and the percentage that they had this year and that sort of thing. So, we had the information that we needed to do the deal.”
Not very complicated. Got the parameters and hammered it out. Parker wouldn’t tell me the numbers, nor did he express any trepidation for being the first. He was more than pleased to have the business part of it concluded.
“But it takes two sides,” Parker said. “Gotta give all the credit in the world to Cliff Stein. He got prepared early, was ready to go right from the start. He and I talked on draft day and we talked about wanting to get it done and, Cliff and I have had a history together. We have mutual respect and admiration for each other, and we dispensed with some of the preliminaries and got right down to the critical parts of this thing. That’s what we were able to do there.”
Maybe this’ll catch on …