Ravens safety Matt Elam may have just started a worrying trend for sports agents. No, he didn’t sign with Jay Z; he penned his rookie contract without an agent at all.
Elam was the last pick of the first round of this year’s draft. With the help of his brother, NFL free agent Abram, and some other advisors, Matt used some simple logic — aided by the already-in-place rookie scale — to get the deal he wanted.
Per a source with knowledge of the details of the deals signed by Elam and the players taken one spot before him (Cowboys center Travis Frederick) and one spot behind him (Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien) and the player taken in the same slot last year (Giants running back David Wilson), Elam got a fair and appropriate deal.
Elam’s contract has a signing bonus of $3.30 million and a total value of $6.76 million, which fits in the slot between Frederick ($3.37 million and $6.87 million) and Cyprien ($2.35 million and $5.46 million). The signing bonus matches Wilson’s to the dollar (technically, $3,301,456), whose total payout was $6.684 million.
In the end, Elam saved himself $202,800 in agent fees. It would be interesting to see how big of a role his brother and his camp had in the process, but if he was as independent as it seems, this could be a template for future NFL rookies.
Not everyone has a mom like Calvin Johnson's who would negotiate a contract for you, so if players take the time to get the type of information Elam did, they would be saving themselves some bank.