Mike Evans’ Representation Should Not Influence Draft Stock

Ever since it was revealed that 2014 NFL Draft hopeful Mike Evans signed with a new agency founded by rap moguls—and especially since a photo of the three was released—the topic has arisen as to how this association would affect the wide receiver’s draft status, and whether teams would pass on him as a result.

That agency—Cash Money Sports—was founded by Bryan “Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams, best known for building Cash Money Records, a music label worth tens of millions of dollars and is host to some of the day’s largest hip hop artists.

There seems to be a due amount of concern over the background and history of the Williams brothers, which does include a good deal of unsavory details, both substantiated and unsubstantiated.

At the end of the day, however, it all comes down to talent, and if a team is sold on Evans’ talent, then I suspect that they won’t be overly concerned over who is representing him during negotiations, which are fairly standard for rookie contracts under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

To that end, it is important to note that Cash Money Sports is merely working in collaboration with the agency that Evans originally signed with—Priority Sports, a well-established firm that boasts clients such as Haloti Ngata, Arian Foster, and A.J. Hawk, and also deals in other sports as well.

The duo’s sub-label, Young Money Entertainment, had already made inroads last year by investing in an already existing sports agency by the name of Play 2 Win Sports, establishing itself a foundation on which to build.

The partnership with Priority Sports, akin to rapper Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports’ hiring of a certified contract advisor in order to represent Geno Smith last year, enables Cash Money Sports to get involved in player contract negotiations, as evidenced by the signing of Evans as its first client of any kind.

It’s unclear as to in exactly what capacity the Williams brothers or their immediate employees will even be involved in the process to any degree, but one can assume that they are not entirely ignorant of the process, given their already highly lucrative business ventures in multiples forms of media.

Sports representation is simply the next branch of the Cash Money empire, which also includes Cash Money Content, a publishing house, and may soon also include a film studio.

In truth, it is probably the everyday fan that has far more concerns with Evans’ representative connections than do NFL front offices and scouting departments, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, should they be in a position to draft him. The ultimate evaluation for Evans will come down to his talent.

It should also be mentioned that he excelled throughout the interview process at the Combine, according to multiple reports, and that should far outweigh any issue surrounding his decision to be represented by Cash Money Sports.

And most important of all, Ricky Williams—the first athlete to be represented by a rap mogul back in 1999—thinks it’s a good idea, so there’s that.

That is a jest, of course, but Williams does claim that he was very happy with the contract that he gained despite its role in the downfall of the agency representing him, saying that the peculiar incentive-based nature of the arrangement was his doing. He also said that an agent negotiated on his behalf, not himself nor Master P, the head of the No Limit Sports agency that represented him.

Perhaps the biggest advantage that an agency connected to broader media could give to an athlete comes not through contract negotiations, but rather endorsements and other financial peripherals. But at the end of the day, barring something unforeseen, I expect that this is quite the non-issue, insofar as it influences Evans’ draft stock.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Rosco

    The Real Young Money!!

  • srdan

    And the new generation of Steeler fans probably like the idea.

  • westcoasteeler

    I’m beginning to seriously tire of ‘Money Crews’…Come up with somethin original

  • Steelers12328882

    I could care less about a players agent. I’m more concerned with Evans. I’m trying to get myself to like this guy, but I’m struggling. He has great numbers, but something about him worries me. If we want to go receiver in rd 1 I’d rather trade back and take Benjamin.

  • Jeff Anoble

    These guys might be very arrogant and make it very hard to sign a new deal with the WR. They also want to prove they’re a good agency by getting the most for their clients. I would prefer a more humble and future signable WR in the 2nd round like a Jordan Mathews or Donte Moncrief.

  • Birdman

    Cash Money(Records) has been around since 1991.

  • Guest

    Cash Money(records) started in 1991.

  • Doug Sawyer

    I had worries before…being the main target of ego maniac Johnny Football…this is just another indication of something I would not welcome in the locker…he is potentially a top 10 pick and he goes out and gets rappers to represent him…nope
    I’ll take Kelvin Benjamin the kid who has his head on straight even after the national title

  • srdan

    400 degrees, lol

  • Douglas Andrews

    The rookie contract shouldn’t be a problem with Evans crew for reasons stated above. I’m a Moncrief fan as he looks like the real deal. He reminds me of a little slower Mike Wallace with better hands and much better footwork.

  • 412 Central

    I wouldn’t Draft this dude because of this. I’m trade back 2 spots and get that wr from florida st

  • Jollyrob68

    They are the original. I’ll admit it has given me cause for concern as I don’t want another Mike Wallace in 4 yrs. However, from an endorsement perspective it’s a smart move because Ca$h Money is on top right now and there’s life after football & contracts aren’t guaranteed.

  • steeltown

    ‘Young Money Entertainment’ and ‘Cash Money Sports’ are both relatively new, albeit branched off of the same Co. of course so the name similarities are expected

  • Super Dave

    Considering the way contracts are slotted, I wonder if representation for a top athlete like Mike Evans or Johnny Manziel will focus their efforts on which markets that their clients will end up at?

    These guys are certainly plugged into the entertainment industry and they know how to make money, so how different is Buffalo and Minnesota from say Detroit and Pittsburgh?

    I would think NY @12 would be where I would want my client to end up so I can maximize his earning potential, because in the first few years it will be capped by the CBA.

    Can an agency make that happen?

  • AndyR34

    I don’t think we need another Mike Wallace on this team.

  • srdan

    I believe that Cash Money was started by birdman in the early nineties. The entertainment one was started by lil wayne. And the sports is a joint venture.

    I give lots of credit that use their given talents to diversify and stay relevant in that way. I htink the average hip hop artists lasts less than an NFL RB.

    But as far as the agency is concerned, if the Steelers can negotiate with Timmons’ agent, they will be ok with anyone else.

  • srdan

    Who will be represented by D. Rosenhouse. No thanks!

  • westcoasteeler

    I get it. Only givin the biters the stank face mike wallace…

  • Ike Evans

    So? You think these other sports agents aren’t crooks too? Ppl are just uncomfortable with the image of rappers and the image of hip hop culture in general so they equate that to arrogance, insufficiency, and danger….ppl reject things that are different from them, unknown to them, or what they think is dangerous to them….but baby is about business, this is about business, and the NFL owners are about it too….this is a bottom line country ppl…all this other stuff is just noise….a kid signs with a group he’d probably admired s nice he was 6…yeah that makes him a bad kid

  • patrick Mayfield

    I would guess you could try to negatively influence the teams picking before that team to try to get your guy to slip. Of course that’s going to net you less money from the NFL.

    Perhaps they function more as an endorsements side of the deal while still using priority sports to do the NFL deal.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Actually we do a M Wallace like characteristic which was his ability to get vertical. I think Moncrief gives you that dimension along with the fact that he uses his body and hands well. Good value as a 3rd pick. Let’s be honest M Wallace wasn’t a bad player just a one trick pony.

  • Steve

    Wallace had an attitude that had to go, with him gone to Miami. It is not the player with the Steelers it is the organization, players come and go, Steeler for life.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Guys I’m only saying we need a deep threat like Wallace. If you look at last years group of WR’s none of those guys could really stretch the field.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I agree with everything you just said.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    I wonder what the “pitch” is when players sign with representation like this. Sure the record label has been around for decades but from my understanding they’re very new at this type of business. I for one would rather have an agent that is well respected in NFL front offices and has a history of getting contracts done at terms favorable to the player w/o any holdouts or interruptions to the team of any kind. The promise of entertainment and/or product endorsements and/or appearances in rap videos is probably what appeals to the signee.

  • Matthew Marczi

    You must have missed the part about Cash Money Sports working in conjunction with Priority Sports to represent Evans.

  • Steve

    Our offense is geared towards keeping Ben upright and not being sacked. To do that we need more short passes, where we can get yardage after the catch. Ben’s arm is not as strong in throwing the Bomb unless it a hail mary at the end of the half or to win the game. Brown is still a threat in streaching the field and so is Wheaton.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    I guess what I was eluding to was your statement that Cash Money Sports is now enabled to participate in player contract negotiations. In which I bring into question their experience, reputation, ability,etc. not to mention the many layers of “representation” by CMS, Priority (et al?). That’s just more hands reaching into the $$ pile at the end of the day but hey maybe being a rapper is in the works something he could do in the offseason or when he’s bored of football.

  • Matthew Marczi

    If prior history is any indication, it’s highly unlikely that these people will actually be the ones negotiating. See the comments in the article regarding Geno Smith’s representation and Ricky Williams having an agent. I doubt that the Williams brothers are actually certified agents, and therefore can’t literally negotiate a player contract personally, but their agency can…or at least Priority Sports can, depending on the actual level of involvement. For all we know, Cash Money Sports could just be handling things like endorsement deals. After all, there’s more to being a player agent than just working out contracts with football teams.