Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Nov 2005

Will Rosenhaus' Clients Leave Him?

This story doesn't sound like good news for Drew Rosenhaus:

"Two sources, one an agent, the other a league executive, indicated that some of Rosenhaus' clients already are in the process of seeking new representation."

Does anyone honestly think Terrell Owens is going to end up with more money than he would have if he had just kept quiet and played hard? Owens created this mess himself, but his agent sure didn't help him any.

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Posted by: Michael David Smith on 11 Nov 2005

32 comments, Last at 14 Nov 2005, 1:55am by Tom


by Dman (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 6:17pm

This fiasco wasn't really rosenhaus's doing IMO, but he had it coming anyway.

by mikeabbott (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 6:25pm

Is it the case that if TO plays out the contract he signed with his previous agent then Rosenhaus gets nothing?
If he manages to break that contract and signs a new one , even a worse one, does Rosenhaus cash in?
Have Rosenhaus’s services and advice benefited himself while harming his client?

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 6:30pm

You got it, mikeabbott. Rosenhaus gets zero as long as T.O. plays under his current contract. He gets a cut of any new contract he negotiates for T.O. So finanically, he's better off if T.O. gets cut and signs a league-minimum deal than he would have been if T.O. had played great, acted like a gentleman, and convinced the Eagles to pick up his 2006 option bonus. It's highly unethical for an agent to do something that's aimed at enriching himself at the expense of his client, but it sure looks like it happened here.

by elhondo (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 6:51pm

Re #3

I don't know MDS, it sounds as though you're attributing something unethical without knowing any of the relevant facts as to how Rosenhaus was chosen. That doesn't seem very fair.

Somehow, I don't see T.O. trying to get a new agent, unless the purpose of getting that agent was to get a new contract. If he was hired to get T.O. a new contract, then it doesn't seem unethical to work towards a goal.

It could be that T.O. hired a new agent simply because his last one screwed up and he wanted someone to talk to until his contract ran out, but I would tend to think that it's pretty likely Drew was hired solely to get into a new contract.

by C (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 7:08pm

Whatever plan TO and Rosenhaus had to get T.O. more money has gone horribly, horribly wrong. T.O. will lose out on a million or more this year alone. He'd be lucky to get a contract for 2006 money that is half of what the Eagles are due to pay him. Further, if the Eagles want to bust chops, they could request part of his signing bonus back.

by Browns Dude (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 7:30pm

Can I defend TO for a minute?

Not that I have a rational defense for him, but I just want to go against the grain.

It makes me feel superior tro the rabble.

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 7:33pm

Browns Dude: Sure, go ahead. I want to see you defend him.

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 7:33pm

"I don’t see T.O. trying to get a new agent, unless the purpose of getting that agent was to get a new contract."

I agree. But an ethical agent will say to a client in that situation, "The truth is, you don't have much latitude because there are still six years left on your contract. The best you can do is perform well for the Eagles, which will either result in them picking up the rest of your deal or in another team wanting your services when they release you."

Quick question: Does anyone think that at the end of his career, T.O. will have made more money because he hired Rosenhaus?

by Slippery Pete (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 7:37pm

Bill Simmons tries to defend him, and then at the end basically admits that he can't defend Owens. (Link to Simmons's article)

by Slippery Pete (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 7:42pm

Random TO question.

How did he go from being referred to as Terrell Owens to TO? It's not just people on the 'net using TO for short, people in actual conversation, broadcasters during NFL games, and Sportscenter anchors just say TO instead of Terrell Owenns. After Peyton Manning's performance on Monday night, you don't here Sportscenter anchors saying "The big story from the Patriots Colts game is how PM lit up the Patriots."

by Shalimar (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 7:55pm

It could be that T.O. hired a new agent simply because his last one screwed up and he wanted someone to talk to until his contract ran out, but I would tend to think that it’s pretty likely Drew was hired solely to get into a new contract.

Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic have said repeatedly on the air that they heard Rosenhaus recruiting TO at that bowling show they hosted for ESPN last spring. Owens may have thought about changing agents and going after a new contract before, but Rosenhaus apparently convinced him that this disastrous contract quest was a good idea.

by Theo (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 7:57pm

I heard they're playing the Cowboys soon...
Sounds like an interesting rivalry.

by mikeabbott (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 8:06pm

Would getting rid of Rosenhaus help TO in his next negotiation?
I think so.
TO could play blame the agent, someone might believe it.

by Browns Dude (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 8:06pm

Slippery Pete,

And TO is the nickname for the great city of Toronto.

They should call Owens HA.

by bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 8:21pm

RE: #10
PM = 2/3 of PMS.
TO = turnover
LT ... strongly reminiscent of Giants demigod Lawrence Taylor

Makes sense to condense a long couple of names like LT's, especially because of the connotation, but Owens and Manning have pretty easy-to-say names.

I like Manning, but he strikes me as kinda stiff and I bet his most colorful nickname as a youngster was "Peyton Manning." Older brother Cooper appears the be the colorful one in the family (maybe only because he's released from the pressures of football and daily public scrutiny) and Eli IS a nickname (he shares names with his dad, either Elisha Archibald or the other way around... I forget).

If I was Peyton, I'd be just as happy to NOT be 2/3 of PMS. And if I was TO, I'd probably shoot myself.

by HLF (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 8:35pm

Um, here (left coast) all our little frozen brothers and sisters in the Great White North call Toronto "back east", not TO.

Beauty day, eh?

Florio at PFT has run a few bits on the possibilities of TO "ratting out" Rosenhaus for tampering....

by MAW (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 8:46pm

RE: #9

I wrote back to Simmons about that, and how he blamed everyone except Rosenhaus and ESPN/Michael Irvin.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 9:18pm

Makes sense to condense a long couple of names like LT’s,

Bleah! Tomlinson's name has three capital letters. As there's already an LT, refer to the guy as LDT. Has a better ring to it, anyway. :)

by melissa (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 9:36pm

Don't agents also get a cut from endorsement deals and any other money their client's get too? So maybe Rosenhaus made money off Owens that way. Owens certainly was marketable.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 9:41pm


the whole point of the article was to take a facetious jab at all the could-be apologists' excuses. It was not a serious attempt to blame anyone, though some of the comments certainly were true.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 10:42pm

I've said this on other threads, but here seems like the most appropriate spot.

Michael Irvin is using TO as his pawn to destroy the Eagle's organization. When Eagles fans cheered because they thought he was paralyzed, that lit a fire in him. Now the 700 level is reaping the harvest courtesy of evil super genius Michael Irvin.

Actually, I think that as Rosenhaus demonstrated he does not have his client's best interest at heart. He is concerned about building the Drew Rosenhaus franchise. TO has his responsibility in all of this, but his main job is to play football. Someone who earns 10% from every client he represents really has to take care of almost every other detail. The fact that Rosenhaus fails to see a dime if TO does not get a new contract casts the principal agent problem in stark relief.

It is Rosenhaus' job to determine TO's market value and recover that to the the extent it's not in his current contract. Convincing him that more money was out there for him seems irresponsible and dishonest.

Does anyone have info on players getting two large free agent contracts in their career. It just seems like you get locked up under the rookie contract, get your big payday if you perform and are in the decline of your career when that goes by the wayside.

by Tim Gerheim :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 2:02am

Well, Rosenhaus can only get a maximum of 3% on anybody's contract according to the NFLPA agent regulations. (His cut on endorsement or other deals that aren't with an NFL team aren't regulated though, so they could be higher.)

In Rosenhaus' defense, and possibly even in TO's (oy, I need a shower now), even if TO was a good boy and got his option payment this offseason, his contract would still be worth $1-2 million less per year than the top tier of WRs (Harrison, Moss, Holt, Bruce (yes, he's currently officially overpaid), and possibly Horn). He's getting paid more like Hines Ward or Rod Smith, which is nothing to sniff at, but isn't really what a player of his stature is worth. Which just gets us back to the "he signed it in the first place, and that was his bad" argument, which I don't want to have anything to do with.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 4:44am

"Well, Rosenhaus can only get a maximum of 3% on anybody’s contract according to the NFLPA agent regulations."

So you're saying that Arli$$ isn't factually correct on this one? I'm shocked.

Either way, 10%, 3% it's still a decent percentage of a whole lot, that he doesn't get if there's no new contract. In the real world people pass up money all the time for other benefits, closer to work, flexible hours, less travel. I thought TO passed up money to win a Superbowl. I guess that is one of those sounds nice till you live it experiences.

by Meat Lockyard (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 6:39am

This season's $3.5 million was the Eagles' justification of paying his $7 million last year and $6.5 million next year, in theory. In no way can TO pretend he is "underpaid," other than the fact that paydays come on Friday so he complains that he wasn't even paid anything on Monday.

by Michael David Smith :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 11:03am

NFL Network reported that T.O. cancelled his weekly radio appearance because the union told him anything he says could damage his chances of getting a favorable ruling from the arbitrator. It sounds to me like the union has always given T.O. better advice than his agents have.

by mikeabbott (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 4:01pm

RE #16: Those of us who live on the shores of the Atlantic are often amused when we observe TO and Ontario described as the east, everythings relative.
P.S. Go Leafs!

by Andrew (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 12:47am


Really good players will get two paydays, frequently with one from their first team in a renewal or extension of their rookie contract.

For example:

Jeremiah Trotter - payday from Redskins and Eagles

Mark Brunnel - Jaguars and Redskins

Hugh Douglas - Eagles and Jaguars

Duce Staley - Eagles and Steelers

Troy Vincent - Eagles and Bills

John Lynch - Bucs and Broncos

Rich Gannon - Chiefs and Raiders

Trent Green - Rams and Chiefs

Kerry Collins - Giants and Raiders

by deadteddy8 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 6:55am

The sheer idiocy of the whole situation is that it was an all or nothing gamble. The guy is what, 32 years old? Taking Tim Gerheim's point above just a bit further, will Owens be worth Hines Ward money two or three years from now? Without looking at any numbers, I suspect it's not that far a fall from Top 5 Receiver to Top 20 Receiver, and with time tapping his shoulder, Owens might have done well to realize that if he loses this battle, he's only getting one or two year deals from here on out, and he might not even see Hines Ward money if he declines even slightly because the perceived attitude problems make him a risky player. Now, let's all just sit back and wait for the fireworks, because it's a fait accompli that Owens will end up in Oakland. Put him together with Moss and whichever young QB they draft stuck between them and let the drama ensue!

by Kami (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 1:24pm

We call him TO because people can't decide exactly which syllable of 'Terrell' should be stressed. I guess.

by Paul (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 1:25pm

Re 9
Simmons #7, is right on about the media who blew this out of proportion the whole year. Now TO is definitely an attention seeker, so the two went hand in hand. I agree with Simmons view that those who thought TO was the worst teammate ever are going too far. However words like idiot and jerk still apply to TO. Words like criminal and murderer apply to Leonard Little. Anyone remember Romanowski and his fight with a teammate? Maybe if the NFL cleaned up its act (though its much better than the NBA) then the extreme TO bashing might (only might) be ok. But lets face it, if we left decisions up to the media, we would have at least one 'Crisis of the Century!' every month.

by Tom (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:53am

You guys were missing the point of the Bill Simmons article. The whole thing was a joke -- he attempted to blame everyone else for the Owens mess but at the end he says he can't do it and Owens is to blame.

by Tom (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:55am

With regards to Rosenhaus, is it me or does he sound like a complete moron? I saw an interview with him on PTI and he came across very poorly -- he said a couple of really dumb things and wouldn't answer simple questions -- and the press conference last week was about the same. You would assume he is intelligent but he doesn't seem to be very good on camera (not exactly the greatest thing for a man who loves the camera as much as him).