NFL seasons come and go, but for one group of professionals, the grind of new contracts, new clients and marketing is an all year round event.
There is no such thing as an off-season for NFL agents, as contract negotiations that many believe come together in days once the media “breaks” the news actually takes months.
For one agent, Deryk Gilmore, he is taking on a bit more than most as he decided to leave Priority Sports to begin is own agency, Day 1 Sports and Entertainment. Gilmore knows what he is taking on and the advantages he has following working for such a large agency.
“When you’re with a bigger agency, I always tell younger people coming in that, people aren’t going to sign with the agency, they are going to sign with the individual. So my approach hasn’t changed in that I sell myself,” said Gilmore.
Many people say throughout life, “just be yourself,” and with Gilmore splitting off to do his own thing, that is exactly how he can go about his work with his clients.
“I just think my philosophy as far as how I want to take care of my athletes has changed, but the recruiting process hasn’t changed to much since my background is in football, so I always believe in sitting down and trusting my own eyes, I’m not one of these guys that goes and pulls reports, I watch film just like I did from my days of coaching and make an assessment on if I want to recruit the player based on that,” said Gilmore.
Like many walks of life, relationships and experience are vital, and for Gilmore, he knows the impact Priority Sports has had on him heading into how he has shaped pieces of how he runs his own.
“There are a lot of benefits there, I’ve mirrored mine a lot according to the agency that I have been with because that is where I have my experience…from procedural, to how they handle policies, I have learned a tremendous amount being with priority in the past, it is one of the top companies in the business. I always tell people, one of the reasons I left is, it’s much like when a coach is part of a Super Bowl team as a coordinator and he wins, he wants to go start his own team, and that’s kind of my situation,” said Gilmore.
Negotiations with teams are always unique, especially when you are negotiating a superstars contract and Gilmore knows that better than most after negotiating one of the largest contracts for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver, Mike Evans.
“It always has to do with leverage, so when you have leverage like Mike, Mike is a guy to me who is one of the best receivers in the league, despite pro bowls, the stats speak for themselves, having four 1,000 yard seasons. When you have a superstar, you have all the leverage and you can control it and you’re able to push the buttons. I think we did a great job when we negotiated Mikes deal, in that there were four components that we wanted to hit and we hit all four of them,” said Gilmore.
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Those negotiations are easier because of the leverage that Gilmore brought up, but the real conversations happen when the teams have a piece of that leverage in the negotiations with the agent.
“When the team can take it or leave it, you don’t have any leverage so you are at their whim and then it is about trying to create fear off of what else is out there and why they should go with your guy,” said Gilmore. “Or you’re trying to negotiate why they should give you a little bit more money, versus what they don’t want to give you and that fear of not doing a deal without it.”
Having six clients in the upcoming NFL draft, Gilmore knows his clients will succeed because he selects his clients on one main factor.
“I sign guys who love football, if you love football, then that will be first, and if you can put that first then everything else will be second, and if that is the case then you will not let those other things distract you from football.
This time of year with the NFL draft, these young athletes are being picked apart in every way and some of these kids have reported issues, but Gilmore as an agent has his own perspective.
“If a kid has a problem, and has made mistakes in the past, these kids are 18, 19, 20 coming out,” said Gilmore. “If we put a microscope under everyone in the world, reporters, politicians, business people and follow them 24/7 on Twitter, Instagram and everything that these kids are one, you are going to find dirt. I just think, is it a problem that they can control.”
Gilmore continues to show why he is the right choice for players, from superstars to rookies in the NFL, but for those questioning the switch to his own agency, here’s why this only heightens why players should sign with him.
“I always tell people, I’m not for everybody, if you love football, come off the field and you want someone who has watched your game, who is going to be able to communicate to you what’s going on, then those are the players that resonate with me,” he said. “It’s truly a family background, where you can talk to your favorite uncle about anything, you can call him for anything, he will be there for anything. If you just want your contract done and nothing else, then I’m not for you, but if you want a relationship I’m your guy.”