The NFL off season this year has been pretty crazy. A lot of big names being shifted around (Let’s go Revis!!!) and a lot of unlikely, last minute deals happening. Technically speaking, the NFL off season has nothing to do with your life, however, if you take a look at how players go about finding their destination for the fall, it is actually really similar to what it’s like to find a job. As a matter of fact, we could even learn a thing or two from the NFL off season. Below is what I’ve learned.
1. Test the Waters: Case in point, DeSean Jackson. This is probably the biggest takeaway I’ve had. If you’re up for a promotion or if you’re in the final stages of interviewing, assess what the market values your skills at. Pretty much every single NFL free agent worth anything will receive multiple offers before they sign on with a team. However, if the company you’re in talks with offers you a deal you simply cannot refuse, then you have no choice. This is just like being franchise tagged in the NFL.
2. Negotiate: Case in point, Julian Edelman. If you didn’t get the “franchise tag” deal, but you’ve realized you’re being paid comparably well to other people in your position, then now is the time to negotiate to try and get more. Julian Edelman is a perfect example of this. He got a solid offer from the Patriots, but decided to test the waters and see what other teams would offer him. Once he got the insight into what the market values his skills at, he came back to the Patriots and actually got a better offer than the original one he received. What this means for you is once you receive your offer, ask for more. You’ve only get 1 shot to ask for more money, and a company will never pull the offer (unless you ask for an egregious amount of money).
3. People love a hometown hero: Case in point, Colin Kaepernick. Teams and fan-bases love the hometown hero. Athlete’s also love being the hero as well. You’re familiar with the area, and most importantly, familiar with the playbook. Knowledge of how to operate within a system is invaluable, and a lot of times, you will be heavily rewarded if you have a deeper understanding than most people within your organization.
4. The competition will likely pay you more but may stunt your growth: Case in point, Aqib Talib. Got a monster contract from the Broncos. The Bronco’s offered him that contract for 2 reasons. To get better and to hurt their biggest AFC rival, the Patriots. Double the value in 1 move. However, no one likes a journeyman. With performance based postions, like the NFL and sales, if you perform, you will always find a high paying job. However, if you continue to bounce around, the odds of you establishing a leadership type role is nearly impossible. Let’s think after football, do you think the Patriots would ever offer Talib a job as an assistant coach? No shot. Same with your job, a company will not promote you if they fear you’re going to bounce somewhere else in a couple months.
5. You might be a great talent, but you might not be the right fit to the puzzle: Case in point, Brandon Spikes. Arguable a top 3 linebacker in terms of run stopping and penetration capabilities but ask him to defend a pass and he looks like a fish out of water. The Patriots cut him because his skill set is simply not valued with the Patriots (along with some attitude issues). If you look at what the Patriots value in a linebacker, they seek hybrid linebackers who can defend the run and also cover the pass very well. What this means for you is even though you might be great at what you do, the company you’re working for or applying for might not value your skill set the way other companies will. Again, all the reason to test the waters and see what the market dictates your skill is worth.
6. What have you done recently? Case in point, Julius Peppers. A one-time perennial pro-bowler and absolute nightmare for Quarterbacks, the bears wouldn’t give Peppers the contract he asked for because he was coming off of one of the worst seasons in his life. Doesn’t matter that Peppers is one of the best defensive ends of our generation, he simply didn’t perform and the Bears are not going to pay Peppers because of what he did 3,4 and 5 years ago. Same with you! Especially sales folks. Doesn’t matter if last you crushed it a couple quarters ago. What matters most is how you did last quarter.
7. Don’t settle once you get the payday: Case in point, Chris Johnson. He came off of an incredible 2010 season for the Titans, got his franchise contract (was then the highest paid RB in NFL history), and has yet to have a season as good as his contract season. Now, Chris Johnson plays for the Jets and is making a fraction as to what he used to. Maybe he just got old and he doesn’t have the skill anymore, but my guess is he took his foot off of the gas pedal and got complacent once he got the payday. Don’t become complacent unless you’re happy with just one nice commission check! Complacency is lazy’s ugly cousin.
Did I miss anything here? Let me know by tweeting at me @Aghanomics. Thanks for reading!