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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
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    Culpepper going the solo route?

    Posted on Sun, Feb. 12, 2006

    [size=18px]Culpepper going the solo route? [/size]

    Having fired his agent, Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper might become one of the rare NFL players who represents himself in contract negotiations.

    BY SEAN JENSEN
    Pioneer Press


    In announcing his decision to fire longtime agent Mason Ashe more than two weeks ago, Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper promised to take a more "hands-on" approach with his career.

    Already a unique athlete, Culpepper is giving serious thought to bucking the NFL norm and becoming one of the rare players who represents himself.

    While he concentrates on rehabbing his right knee, Culpepper said in a brief interview Thursday that he still has not decided whether he will replace Ashe with another agent.

    "I am focusing on being responsible for all of my business affairs, including my contract," Culpepper said. "I have not decided on if, or when, I may hire a new agent.

    "No matter what I do, I will be intricately involved in all aspects of any contract negotiations. Until last summer, I have had a very hands-off approach to my business affairs, and it has hurt me. I believe that the education process I am in is preparing me to be able to handle this important aspect of my career."

    According to Mark Levin of the NFL Players Association, Culpepper would be the 30th active player to represent himself. From the NFLPA's perspective, Culpepper has handled his obligation to the NFLPA by officially filing a termination letter, and he can represent himself until he decides to sign a representation agreement with another agent.

    "It is uncommon, but it's not rare," said Levin, the NFLPA's director of salary cap and agent administration. "It depends on the makeup of the player. There are some players who are much more mature than others, and some that are more intelligent than others, and some players that are more thick-skinned, because sometimes these negotiations become personal."

    Culpepper's immersion into his contract has complicated his relationships with key team officials. The Vikings are unwilling to award him any more money in light of his disappointing 2005 season, which ended with him tearing three of four ligaments in his right knee against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 30. But Culpepper is miffed about the 10-year, $102 million deal he signed in May 2003, leading to speculation he might be traded this offseason.

    While the figures of the contract are still among the gaudiest in NFL history, Culpepper's deal lacks the key element players covet most: guaranteed money. Culpepper secured an additional $7.5 million from new owner Zygi Wilf last August, including $4 million up front, and he will get the remaining $3.5 million next month, in addition to the $2.5 million he agreed to in his original deal.

    Culpepper has received mixed reviews as he mulls representing himself in negotiations. One detractor alluded to the adage that "anyone who represents himself has a fool for a client."

    While he doesn't believe self-representation is feasible in the NFL, former Vikings receiver Cris Carter said Culpepper couldn't possibly sign a worse deal than his last one.

    "That's a terrible deal, and now he realizes it's a terrible deal, and that's why he fired his agent," said Carter, now an analyst for HBO Sports.
    Carter cited the potential for emotionally charged discussions with a team as a reason why players don't represent themselves.

    "The relationship with the organization would be different, because there are going to be things they're going to say about you that you don't want to necessarily hear, because they're trying to state their case for why they don't need to give you as much money," former Vikings quarterback Warren Moon said. "Feelings can get hurt there, and relationships can be damaged.

    "You want that relationship to stay as pleasant as possible, because you have to work together for years."

    NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw said Feb. 2 he intended to advise Culpepper against representing himself.

    "I wouldn't want to see that," Upshaw said. "I wouldn't recommend players doing their own deals. You're sitting across the table from a general manager that's negotiated thousands of contracts."

    In 1999, NBA guard Ray Allen represented himself when agreeing to a six-year, $70.9 million guaranteed contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. But Moon said NBA and Major League Baseball contracts are far less complicated than ones in the NFL.

    "The salary cap, bonus money and the structure makes NFL contracts very different from the very straight line contracts they have in baseball and basketball," Moon said. "For a player to try to do that himself would be a big undertaking (in the NFL)."

    New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, a perennial Pro Bowl selection who has signed several of the NFL's largest contracts, wouldn't discourage Culpepper or other players from negotiating their own deals. But Strahan said he is willing to pay the 3 percent fee to an agent to handle his contracts.

    "I got to a point with my agent where I was very comfortable with what he was doing, and I just took the approach that, 'Hey, it's the type of service that I want and I'm willing to pay for,' " Strahan said. "But after you play a while, you probably could go in there and go get yourself a pretty good contract. I think if you're the caliber of player that he is, you probably could go in there and represent yourself."

    Strahan and Denver Broncos linebacker Ian Gold said a player with Culpepper's reputation would have more leverage in the negotiations.
    "A player who is established and respected by players and coaches, it's real easy for general managers and head coaches to understand, 'We can't (tick) this guy off,' " Gold said. "If Culpepper goes into an office, and they say, 'Well, your release is kind of slow.' What do you think Daunte is going to say?"

    Gold knows the process. Last March, he negotiated a six-year contract worth up to $27 million, including $10.25 million guaranteed, with the help of Levin and an attorney. Gold said the NFLPA is in "cahoots" with agents, whom he deems unnecessary.

    "When you're dealing with the magnitude of the contracts you're dealing with, why not put this into your own hands?" said Gold, who saved $307,500 in agent fees of his guaranteed money. "When you buy a home, you don't have someone negotiate. I feel like they're trying to make us think we don't have the mental capacity to negotiate contracts. Oh, it's too technical. You got to know the CBA.

    "It's the biggest conspiracy in corporate America."

    Levin, who was the Washington Redskins' salary cap manager and contract negotiator for three years, has been a tremendous resource for many of the players who don't have agents, including Gold and Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters of the Kansas City Chiefs.

    "The agents get all their information from the NFLPA," said Waters, who negotiated a six-year contract extension that included a $4 million roster bonus. "I cut out the middleman. I worked directly with the NFLPA. I had an agent for a few years. But really, when it came down to it, he didn't do anything for me that I couldn't do myself."

    But contracts are getting more and more complex. With the collective bargaining agreement set to expire in 2008, teams do not have the flexibility to spread huge signing bonuses out over five or six seasons.
    Culpepper, though, made clear that he is mindful of what he can manage now.

    "If I don't focus on my rehabilitation, which is in my control, then there will be no discussion about my contract, which is out of my control," he said. "I spend at least two to three hours a day in physical therapy. I am dealing with a knee that had three surgically repaired ligaments, and I am taking this very serious.

    "Some people call this a career-threatening injury. I consider it a career-defining opportunity."

    Sean Jensen can be reached at [email protected]

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    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    singersp's Avatar
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    Re: Culpepper going the solo route?

    Also from KFFL;

    Vikings | Culpepper may not hire an agent
    Sun, 12 Feb 2006 06:32:02 -0800

    Sean Jensen, of the Pioneer Press, reports Minnesota Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper is giving serious thought to bucking the NFL norm and becoming one of the rare players who represents himself.

    While he concentrates on rehabbing his right knee, Culpepper said in a brief interview Thursday, Feb. 9, that he still has not decided whether he will replace agent Mason Ashe with another agent.

    "I am focusing on being responsible for all of my business affairs, including my contract," Culpepper said. "I have not decided on if, or when, I may hire a new agent."

    According to Mark Levin of the NFL Players Association, Culpepper would be the 30th active player to represent himself. Culpepper is miffed about the 10-year, $102 million deal he signed in May 2003, leading to speculation he might be traded this offseason.

    While the figures of the contract are still among the gaudiest in NFL history, Culpepper's deal lacks the key element players covet most: guaranteed money.

    While he doesn't believe self-representation is feasible in the NFL, former Vikings WR Cris Carter said Culpepper couldn't possibly sign a worse deal than his last one.

    NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw said Feb. 2 he intended to advise Culpepper against representing himself.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  3. #3
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    Re: Culpepper going the solo route?

    Ya, I heard CC say that about DC's contract. He is probably right for being a top 5 QB it could have been better. But it is already done.

    It is kind of like when you go to the hospital and you ask if they will take your insurance. You go you get a check up and they end up sending you a bill for bloodwork (? or something). You call and check on it with the insurance company and the doctors office, and they tell you basically it was your faault for not calling and specifically checking if each item was covered. All you can do is beat yourself up and feel bad about it, cause you are screwed.

    Well, that is kind of how Pep feels. He got injured saw the possible end of his career staring him in the face and he said to himself, "crap if this is it, I spent most of the money and I wouldn't have any coming in, my lifestyle would have to change." Well, after he had time to think about it, he realized that his ageant let him down and should have never let him sign that contract without some more guaranteed money incase of a career ending injury. But the fact is this, DC you are screwed unless you can get out there and perform next year on a high level or if you pull a true TO, not what DC has done so far, but actually pissing off the front office and quitting on the team. I don't think those are things that DC can(will) do.

  4. #4
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    Re: Culpepper going the solo route?

    I don't know how much detail his agent told him before he signed on the bottom line, but one things for sure, he will now pocket the "cut" that would otherwise have gone to his agent.

    I'm not sure what that "cut" percentage is though.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  5. #5
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    Re: Culpepper going the solo route?

    "singersp" wrote:
    I'm not sure what that "cut" percentage is though.
    3%

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    Re: Culpepper going the solo route?

    "jackyl" wrote:
    "singersp" wrote:
    I'm not sure what that "cut" percentage is though.
    3%
    Thanx Jackyl. That's actually lower than what I thought.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    Re: Culpepper going the solo route?

    "singersp" wrote:
    I don't know how much detail his agent told him before he signed on the bottom line, but one things for sure, he will now pocket the "cut" that would otherwise have gone to his agent.

    I'm not sure what that "cut" percentage is though.

    Hey Singers. If his old Agent put together a number for a new contract his old agent will get his cut of that as well even though he is no longer with Culpepper.

    The talk though is that any contract that gets put together will be constructed with DC at the helm. I just don't know if his old agent started those figures, and Culpepper is going off that money amount.

  8. #8
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    Re: Culpepper going the solo route?

    "VikesfaninWis" wrote:
    "singersp" wrote:
    I don't know how much detail his agent told him before he signed on the bottom line, but one things for sure, he will now pocket the "cut" that would otherwise have gone to his agent.

    I'm not sure what that "cut" percentage is though.

    Hey Singers. If his old Agent put together a number for a new contract his old agent will get his cut of that as well even though he is no longer with Culpepper.

    The talk though is that any contract that gets put together will be constructed with DC at the helm. I just don't know if his old agent started those figures, and Culpepper is going off that money amount.
    Thanx, that is also good info. I was not aware of that.

    If he does restructure the contract, the agent should be out of the pictutre.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  9. #9
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Culpepper going the solo route?

    Sounds to me like he should hire Carter as his agent!
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  10. #10
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    Re: Culpepper going the solo route?

    as long as his small hands dont fumble...
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