Being a sports agent, like the highly successful (and much-reviled) Scott Boras, must sound like good work if you can get it. Sure, you work long hours and end up with few friends, but you get rich and watch a lot of sports. OK, fine, but the thing is that the job doesn’t end once the signatures dry.
Take football. Many contracts in the NFL have escalator clauses, meaning that once X is accomplished, the numbers (be they years or actual dollar amounts) go up Y. Sometimes, the requirements are hard, and sometimes they’re ridiculous easy, like showing up for a few official workouts in the offseason.
Tarell Brown, defensive back for the 49ers, had one such clause in his contract, which would pay him an extra $2 million this season, on top of $925,000 in base pay, if he did just that — showed up to some workouts. Except that someone’s agent forgot to tell him about it, and he worked out on his own in Texas, away from the team and his $2 million.
So guess who fired his agent yesterday? “If I would have known the clauses in my contract — that’s what agents get paid to do, to orchestrate the contract and to let you know what you can and can’t do as far as workouts and OTAs and things of that sort,” said Brown, according to the AP. “That’s what he got paid to do. He didn’t do that, so in my opinion you have to be let go. We all are held accountable for our actions. This is part of the business.” (His agent, Brian Overstreet, has not yet commented and, if what Brown says is true, is probably currently filing for a legal name change somewhere in northern Mexico.)
And 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh did his Jim Harbaugh bit and made it seem like he’d never heard of a guy who has started the last 37 games for his defense and had no idea that his bosses had just saved a cool two million clams: “(We) just really coach the guys that are here,” said Harbaugh, according to CSN Bay Area. “(I) can’t say that I’ve thought much about how much that would affect someone that’s not here.”
In all seriousness, though it would be a nice and understanding gesture on the part of the 49ers to kick back some of that money, it could set an uncomfortable precedent for teams. But no matter whose fault it was, it’s clear that Brown and Overstreet didn’t have the most open of communication.
It’s like we’ve learned nothing in 16 years.