Laremy Tunsil lands $50m guaranteed contract as agent

Lamar Jackson isn’t the only professional athlete without an agent. Last season there was 17 NFL players who represented themselves. The list includes Bobby Wagner, DeAndre Hopkins and the NFL’s highest-paid left tackle, Laremy Tunsil.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Tunsil has signed a new three-year contract with the Houston Texans for $75 million, with $50 million fully guaranteed. Representing himself is the second time Tunsil has secured huge sums of money without the services of a full-time agent.

This is definitely great news for the quarterback Houston Texans select as the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft. The organization may be a dumpster fire, but at least one rookie quarterback will have reliable blind protection. Tunsil certainly seems to have put the stigma of his infamous gas mask bong hit video behind him.

THE Arizona Cardinals are currently looking to trade DeAndre Hopkins as they try to rebuild after a season in which the team rocked in the first six weeks. Hopkins was suspended during that time for a violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. The suspension was without pay, so of course it stung. However, the pain was certainly minimized when he recalled the massive global extension he signed. In 2020, Hopkins signed a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals worth $54.5 million, of which $42.75 million was guaranteed.

Having an agent can make an athlete’s life easier. This prevents them from having uncomfortable conversations with their bosses. Plus, these bosses will have those tense conversations with someone familiar. A suit and briefcase being the necessary equipment for a sports agent, it results in much less wear and tear on the body and a much longer career than a professional football player.

All of that being said, the familiarity between these two parties may cause athletes to wonder if agents are truly acting with their clients’ best interests at heart. Since agents have a long-standing relationship with front desk staff, they may not be pushing as hard for a fully guaranteed contract as Jackson might want.

Obviously, most players are perfectly fine with letting someone else negotiate for them. More often than not, agents walk away with an ideal contract offer. Agents who do all of this work then allow players to focus on being the best athlete they can be, and then spending the rest of their time doing what they feel like doing.

This life is not for everyone though. Some players prefer to keep the money for themselves rather than paying an agent, others have a strong desire to do their own trading. They don’t mind fighting against their team’s front office. Some players have a hands-on approach to their careers and want to make all the decisions, every step of the way.

It’s the road less traveled, but people should still have the ability to choose how they navigate their own journey. As long as they don’t hurt others, they shouldn’t be judged for how they choose to live their lives.

If Jackson, Hopkins, Tunsil and a handful of other players want to represent themselves in contract negotiations, that’s fine. It clearly worked for Hopkins and Tunsil, so Jackson getting a deal that suits him is certainly not impossible.

There are several reasons why Jackson still hasn’t received the money he would like as a Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback, and we NFL watchers probably don’t know most of them. But what Tunsil’s new contract should prove is that self-representing athletes don’t inherently make teams less willing to budge in negotiations.

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