By: Elisaveta Vesselinova
NFL players are not required to be represented by agents, but having one is often in the player’s best interest, and can sometimes lead to a large payday.
Nick Bosa, the defensive edge of the San Francisco 49ers, made headlines recently when he scored a record-breaking extension with the 49ers for a $170 million five-year contract extension after a lengthy holdout.
Nick Bosa’s agent, Brian Ayrault, works for WME Football. Some notable NFL players that Ayrault represents are Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson, and Joey Bosa, among others. This offseason, Ayrault negotiated and finalized two record-breaking NFL contracts on back-to-back days: Nick Bosa’s and Joe Burrow’s. Both players are amongst the top ten NFL players with the highest contract value of 2023, with Bosa becoming the highest paid defensive player.
However, these contracts are only a few examples of Ayrault’s expert negotiating. In addition to negotiating contracts, agents, such as Ayrault, advocate for players in terms of their popularity, contracts, and bodily autonomy. Agents ensure that the player stands out from others in both their draft class and position for good reasons, and also ensure that negative attributes aren’t highlighted by the media. Additionally, agents can assist with money management and negotiate deals when players make big purchases.
Some players are easier to advocate and negotiate contracts for than others. Nick Bosa has been a strong player long before joining the NFL. His collegiate success and athleticism led him to be picked second overall in the 2019 draft by the San Francisco 49ers. In his rookie year, Nick Bosa earned Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2019. Last season, he was awarded AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Winning the Super Bowl is the goal for each NFL team every season. One strategy to achieve this goal is to have a well-rounded team with strong players on both offense and defense. Many teams desire to have a strong quarterback, which is why the top nine players with highest contract value of 2023 are all quarterbacks. In the past four years since Nick Bosa was drafted, the 49ers have gone to one Super Bowl (2019) and three NFC championships (2019, 2021, and 2022). Nick Bosa is one of the many strong players who have contributed to the team’s success. In 2020 and 2021, the 49ers negotiated with many players and offered extensions to maintain the strength of the team as a whole. These precedents allowed for Nick Bosa and his agent to successfully negotiate such a large and historical contract.
The salary caps that the NFL imposes per team have been steadily increasing. The salary cap for 2022 was $208.2 million and in 2023, it is $224.8 million, an increase of $16.6 million. If the yearly salary cap continues to grow, high paying contracts like Nick Bosa’s might become more common. A growth in salary cap could also allow teams to negotiate high salary contracts with multiple players and build a stronger and more well-rounded team, rather than focusing all their funds on retaining just one player, which has historically been their franchise quarterback.
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