Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2012 NFL Free Agency: Which Agents Will Be Most Active?

As the NFL season comes to a close, the season for NFL agents is just beginning.

This is their time to earn their money and land their client lucrative contracts.

Now that the offseason has arrived, here are the agents that will be busiest in the days and weeks leading up to the opening of free agency on March 13, 2012.

Tom Condon
Condon is one of the most powerful agents in the NFL and he has a long list of quarterback clients that includes Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan.

But the two quarterbacks that will keep him the busiest this offseason are Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

Condon, who is part of Creative Artists Agency, was the man who negotiated Peyton's $98 million deal, which included a record $34 million signing bonus. It's likely he'll be negotiating on Peyton's behalf again, but this time under much different circumstances.

Most people believe Peyton—and his surgically repaired neck—will be released by the Colts this offseason before he's scheduled to make a sizable roster bonus. It'll be Condon's job to convince other teams that his client is healthy enough to play and is entitled to a hefty payday.

When Condon isn't working on a Manning deal, he'll most certainly be in New Orleans working on a new deal for Drew Brees. Brees is a free agent, but the Saints have intention of letting him leave. It'll be up to Condon to get Brees the best deal without leaving the Saints with no money pay other players.

Ben Dorga
Dogra is partners with Tom Condon at Creative Artists Agency and the duo will be busy this offseason. While Condon will focus on CAA's high-profile offensive clients, Dogra represents two of the biggest defensive free agents.

It will be Dogra's job to get long-term deals for Mario Williams and Brent Grimes.

Despite tearing a pectoral muscle in Week 5 and a switch from defensive end to linebacker, Williams showed enough in those five games to earn himself a healthy payday. In five games, he had five sacks and one forced fumble and Williams, a former first overall pick, is the top pass-rusher in this year's free agent class and he'll get paid like it.

As for Grimes, he's one of the top free agent cornerbacks available. With the league becoming pass-heavy, Grimes and other cornerbacks will continue to get paid.

Another client sure to keep Dogra busy (perhaps the busiest) is Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Griffin is expected to be one of the most sought after rookie quarterbacks in this year's draft. It'll be up to Dogra to get Griffin to shoot up draft boards.

Joel Segal
Segal and his associates at Lagardere Unlimited Football have one of the most coveted free agent wide receivers on the market in Marques Colston.

The New Orleans Saints wide receiver is coming off a very productive season where he had 80 catches for 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns. He was also solid in the postseason with 16 receptions, 256 yards and a touchdown.

Segal's toughest job will be convince teams that Colston, who's entering his seventh season, can hold up for 16 games and is worth a long-term contract.

Colston has battled various injuries during his career, including a couple knee surgeries.

The good news for Segal, Colston finished last season strong and will likely be pursued by several teams.

Segal will also get calls about free agent running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis was hardly an impact player this season, averaging 3.7 yards per carry, but he did score 11 touchdowns. Some team will covet him as a short-yardage back.

It's Segal's job to find Green-Ellis, who's scored 24 touchdowns the last two seasons, a healthy payday.

Jonathan Feinsod
This year's free agency class includes some solid wide receivers, one of them being Vincent Jackson.

Feinsod, Jackson's agent, should be able to find enough teams to drive up the price for his client.

More good news for Feinsod, the Chargers likely won't place the franchise tag on Jackson but may be willing to offer a long-term deal.

The more teams that want in on the Jackson sweepstakes, the more money he'll get. It's Feinsod's job to get more teams interested.

Pat Dye, Jr.
When Matt Flynn threw from 480 yards and six touchdowns against the Detroit Lions in Week 17, Dye had to have seen dollar signs. Dye represents the free agent backup quarterback, who is expected to jettison Green Bay for a starting quarterback gig.

It'll be up to Dye to convince teams that Flynn's Week 17 performance wasn't a fluke and he deserves a long-term contract and a big payday.

Adisa Bakari
Bakari will try and convince the Chicago Bears to "pay the man." That was the mantra this season in Chicago when discussing Matt Forte's contract status.

Forte is a free agent this offseason and missed out on a long-term deal during the season.

Bakari's job will be convince the Bears that his client deserves a multi-year deal with plenty of guaranteed money.

The Bears are rumored to be considering using its franchise tag on Forte, who missed part of last season with a knee injury. If Forte does get hit with the franchise tag, look for a possible holdout from the Pro Bowl running back. It'll be Bakari's job to prevent that from happening and strike a deal that satisfies both sides.

Drew Rosenhaus
Rosenhaus always seems to be in the news, and don't expect that to change this offseason.

One of Rosenhaus' more prominent clients, DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles, was the target of much scrutiny this season.

Jackson, who is a free agent, was accused by teammates of quitting on the Eagles. It'll be up to Rosenhaus to convince teams that those claims are false and his client is worth a long-term investment.

If Rosenhaus can help Jackson repair his image, he'll help him to a big payday.

Blake Baratz
Baratz is one of the younger sports agents, yet he has one of the most intriguing free agents as a client.

Baratz represents Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, who is far and away the most talented tight end in this year's free-agent class.

However, Finely has some red flags that could keep potential suitors away. During his four seasons in the NFL, Finley has spent a lot of time on injured reserve. He twice injured his knee, forcing him to miss 14 games the last three seasons. Also, Finely struggled with dropped passes this season. He finished with 13 dropped passes on 103 targets.

However, Finley did set career highs with 55 catches, 767 yards and eight touchdowns this season. He's also a matchup nightmare for defenses because of his size and speed.

Baratz will try and convince the Packers to avoid using the franchise tag on Finley and give him a long-term contract.

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